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  • Writer's picturePaula Bruno

Innovation, Education, and Sustainability: The MiritiBoard VR Journey.


Technological advancement has been a constant in human history. From the Industrial Revolution to the digital era, we have witnessed the profound impact technology has on how we live, work, and connect with one another. In recent years, we have seen the emergence of new and exciting technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, which are redefining not only our society but also our planet.


As we become increasingly immersed in a digital world, the need for companies that combine technology and sustainability has become more pressing than ever. These companies not only embrace innovation but also commit to doing so in a way that respects and protects our environment. One of these companies is InteCeleri.


Walter Júnior, Inteceleri, CEO standing in front of Brazil's map
Walter Júnior, CEO of InteCeleri.

Inteceleri Education Technology is a startup created with the goal of developing innovative solutions aimed at contributing to the improvement of basic education quality in Brazil (IDEB), especially in the field of mathematics.


We had the privilege of interviewing Walter Júnior, the CEO of InteCeleri, a company that embodies the fusion of advanced technology and a commitment to sustainability. The conversation with Walter shed light not only on the company's vision but also on how technology and sustainability are intrinsically linked.


Our conversation started with a focus on sustainability, and Walter explained the origins of their project. Initially, they developed a series of applications, such as "Matematicando." However, it's worth noting that their journey into technology and education had an inspiring beginning. They first ventured to Silicon Valley, where they attended numerous seminars and conferences, absorbing the latest insights from leading experts. It was there that they witnessed the rapid growth of virtual reality and other emerging technologies, with tech giants like Google heavily investing in this realm.


Motivated and energized by what they had seen and learned, they returned to Brazil with a renewed determination to create an application that would harness these technologies for educational purposes. This was the genesis of "Matematicando," a memory game that would later become a significant part of their mission to revolutionize education.


books of matematicando, inteceleri
Matematicando's books

In this game, colors and neurolinguistic activities are associated with mathematical operations to facilitate learning. The colorful multiplication table is available in both book and app form for smartphones, tablets, and computers.


Basic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are presented with five levels of difficulty to encourage student engagement and development.



Logo of geometricando, inteceleri
Geometricando application

They also created "Geometricando," aimed at teaching plane and spatial geometry. "Geometricando" enables students to identify geometric shapes and bridge the gap between theory and practice. It provides a gamified environment where students earn points for correct answers, making learning interactive and fun. Another project is called "Geometa" that aims to show geometric shapes in the metaverse. Bringing more interactivity in the classroom in many ways! Their instagram is full of videos and experiences!


As they initially had these applications in place, the need arose for students to have virtual reality glasses to better visualize and interact with their learning materials. However, the price of devices like the Oculus Quest and similar ones was prohibitively expensive for a large portion of the underprivileged population in Belém, Pará. It was from this need that they began to realize they could create something more affordable—an accessible headset that could bring education to more and more people.


Their vision was clear: to bridge the gap between technology, education, and sustainability by creating an affordable virtual reality solution. This initiative not only aimed to improve the learning experience but also to make it accessible to those who might not have had the opportunity otherwise. It's a testament to the power of innovation, driven by a deep commitment to education and sustainability.


Continuing with Walter's account of their journey, he explained that, recognizing this need, they embarked on the creation of a virtual reality headset and began sourcing the raw materials required for its production. It was then that they turned their attention to the Miriti tree, which is abundant in the Amazon region.


Toys crafted from Miriti palm tree
Toys crafted from Miriti palm tree. Source:artesol.org.br

The unique characteristic of the Miriti tree, being a palm tree, is that as it grows, some branches naturally fall off. These fallen branches became the primary source of raw material for their project. In other words, the harvesting process does not harm the environment in any way because the materials used are discarded by the tree itself. Miriti wood is highly valued by the local population for crafting toys and ornaments during a religious period called "Círio de Nazaré". The Miriti tree holds a special place in the hearts of the community, often referred to as the "tree of life."


Take a closer look at how the process is carried out:



With the raw materials readily available, they embarked on the design process for the virtual reality headset. They experimented with various shapes and forms until they arrived at the current design. Today, the headset that's called MiritiBoard, is offered in both unpainted and painted versions. What's particularly special about the painted versions is that the intricate artwork is done by local women from the community. These talented artists incorporate themes and designs inspired by Amazonian culture.


Different paintings on MiritiBoard VR


This approach not only adds a unique and culturally rich dimension to the product but also provides meaningful economic opportunities for women in the local community. It's a beautiful example of how technology and sustainability can be woven into the fabric of a community, fostering creativity and supporting local talent.


When asked about how their sustainability concerns influenced the design and user experience, Walter explained that their primary goal was to find a low-cost raw material that users could easily access—a sustainable and manageable option for communities. Additionally, being in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, they felt a deep connection to sustainability and respect for nature. This led them to create something that had an appearance of rusticity, reminiscent of tree bark, while also maintaining a modern touch.


He continued saying: "I believe that in the near future, we will increasingly begin to look for and consume innovative technological solutions that generate the least possible impact. This is already happening with some basic products, like T-shirts and bags, and it will continue to grow. For instance, consider a mobile phone—how much does it impact the environment? This is a trend that will gradually increase, and I believe we will reduce consumption levels to respect nature."



Walter Júnior using MiritiBoard
Walter Júnior using MiritiBoard VR

"MiritiBoard is an example of this. We've created a headset for use in the metaverse, using a very affordable and sustainable raw material. It not only minimizes environmental impact but also generates economic activity within the forest. We are benefiting forest communities by bringing resources to them without causing significant disruption, creating a virtuous cycle that we are constantly improving." - Walter Júnior, CEO of InteCeleri.


Moreover, to extend knowledge in an innovative way to a broader audience, they have created the Maker Lab, a mobile laboratory that teachers can use and distribute to students in the classroom. It comes equipped with various cellphone devices, all pre-installed with the necessary applications, and multiple MiritiBoard VR units for each student to utilize! Take a look:




As our interview draws to a close, after exploring so many incredible and inspiring aspects, we posed the following question: "Apart from the environmental benefits, what social and cultural impact do you hope to see from the use of MiritiBoard?" He responded with immense pride in the team's journey and what they have achieved thus far. Today, they are generating economic activity for a group that, in the past, faced significant challenges.


In the future, they plan to create a production and training environment for the community where possibilities won't be limited solely to building headsets but will encompass the manufacturing of a wide range of objects, packaging, instruments, toys, and much more on a larger scale with a smaller workforce. Another point of pride is that the final stage of MiritiBoard production is carried out by women from the community. They are raising this banner alongside these women, valuing their contributions and involving them in the process, allowing them to recognize their own power.


Various MiritiBoard VR painted by woman in the community

Through this process, they are also promoting Amazonian culture through the art of design and painting, so that more people around the world can get to know it. Applied to education, this brings even greater joy because they know that the new concept of learning and teaching will be magnificent!


We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Walter Júnior for sharing his remarkable journey and the innovative project that is MiritiBoard VR. It's a testament to the incredible potential that lies at the intersection of technology, sustainability, and education.


As we conclude this interview, we'd like to leave you with a valuable lesson to ponder. The emerging metaverse, with its vast opportunities and immersive experiences, is not just a glimpse into the future of technology but also a reminder of our responsibility towards the environment. Projects like MiritiBoard VR showcase that we can harness innovation while respecting and preserving our natural world.


In this rapidly evolving digital landscape, let's keep in mind the importance of sustainability and how our choices can impact the planet. Just as the Miriti tree sheds its branches naturally, allowing for sustainable materials, may we all strive to embrace technology in a way that nurtures and sustains the world we live in.



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