Skip to main content
< Back to news
Anna Serra, Commercialization and Communication director of PCB, awarded the prize to the winning team of the “Rare Diseases” challenge (Photo: Aida Bresoli).

The MessyCheffy project won the challenge launched by the PCB, the IBEC and the IRB in the iFest Countdown

MessyCheffy, an interactive physiotherapy game for children with muscular dystrophy, developed by the Yallow team from the University of Barcelona, has won the “Rare Diseases” challenge set by the Barcelona Science Park, the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) as part of the iFest Countdown initiative. The young finalists of this programme presented their prototypes to a panel at the Auditorium Imagina Mediapro today at the iFest Demo Day, during an event chaired by the director of Catalunya Emprèn, Pere Condom. 


This year, over 1,500 students, 99 centres and 300 teams developed prototypes in response to 12 real challenges set by various entities as part of the iFest Countdown initiative, the new training and mentoring programme that is taking centre stage at this 3rd edition of iFest, a great celebration of technology, science, innovation and disruption for the future leaders of our society.

“How do you improve the daily life of a patient who suffers from muscular dystrophy or Kennedy’s disease?”, was the starting point for the “Rare Diseases” challenge, where the PCB, the IBEC and the IRB Barcelona challenged participants to develop a tool or application to improve the quality of life of people who suffer from one of these rare hereditary neuromuscular diseases.

The winner was the MessyCheffy project by the Yallow team, created by three students of bachelor’s degree course Biomedical Engineering from the University of Barcelona. It involves an interactive game for children with muscular dystrophy that seeks to transform physiotherapy into an inspiring and entertaining activity. To achieve this, its creators have removed the focus on the disease itself and have written a story, created a friend (“Cheffy”) and set a challenge: to build an empire of restaurants. Movement sensors and muscular effort sensors via nerve impulses act as the controls. Movements adapted to specific physiotherapy exercises for children with muscular dystrophy are performed with the help of mini-games that anyone can play.

The YCM project, an app that facilitates communication and socialisation for people with muscular dystrophy, developed by “Las cuatro mosqueteras” [The Four Musketeers] team from INS Baix Camp, came second in the challenge. 

During the first week in July, both teams will receive support from the PCB, IBEC, IRB Barcelona and the Barcelona Institut d’Emprenedoria (BIE) to help speed up their prototypes. The most scientific or technological part will be worked on with researchers, as well as other aspects such as the protection of intellectual property, commercialisation, marketing and funding. The educational centres of all project finalists will be invited to attend one of the Do Research! workshops that the Barcelona Science Park is running during the 2019-2020 academic year, as part of the Research in Society programme. 

Groundbreaking innovation for society’s great challenges 

The iFest Countdown programme is part of the iFest initiative, the great innovation, science and technology festival promoted by Catalunya Emprèn, aimed at young Master’s and PhD students who are hoping to make groundbreaking contributions to society. 

During this programme, the players are organised into teams and have to develop prototypes for real challenges proposed by various entities, following a four-phase methodology: Inspiration, Conception, Prototyping and Communication. This methodology encourages creativity with dynamic, groundbreaking and innovative content that is developed and validated in Silicon Valley.

The participants are competing for various awards for the best prototype, awarded by the entities that spearhead the challenges. In addition, the winning team will travel to Silicon Valley for a month with the Imagine Creativity Center to work on its entrepreneurial proposal.

Related news [+]