Category Archives: News

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Brexit: what does it mean for science?

A few days after the vote that will lead to the UK’s departure from the EU and Cameron’s resignation, the articles about consequences of Brexit are numerous. Journalists, politicians and even celebrities such as J.K. Rowling  have underscored the effect Brexit have.

tweet rowling

The author J.K. Rowling expressed her shocked by calling the magic of the fantasy world she created.


The vice chancellor of Germany Sigmar Gabriel was quick to tweet his dismay and the result saying: ‘Damn! bad day for Europe!’

Besides politicians and former pro-Remain voters, there are other people who fear the future outside the EU: scientist and researchers. Indeed, as The Guardian reports, this vote may have a big impact on how the pharmaceutical industry works. explains that the physicist Stephen Hawking and more than 150 fellows of the Royal Society called the Brexit a “disaster for U.K. science” in a letter to The Times.

Most scientists voted ‘Remain’ according polls, expressing concern over how Brexit would harm science in the UK, and in the EU at large. They argue that one of the strengths of British research is its worldwide scale, and the welcoming of researchers from foreign countries. The European Union was a great means to enable free exchange between the UK and other nations. It allowed the UK to benefit from a network of new people with new ideas… which is the best means to innovate, to move forward.

Brexit is probably not going to condemn the research area in the UK, given that the country is one of the top leaders in this field. But there is no denying that its new status will certainly imply some readjustments, if the Union wants to keep this asset.



Meet Leka, the first toy designed specifically for children with autism

That sounds futuristic, and yet it is true! A French start-up has designed a rolling robot capable of engaging children with special needs, particularly children on the “autism spectrum”.


The future is coming

Shaped like a ball, it has an endearing ‘face’ that changes expressions, and uses sound, light and colours to interact with users through adaptable games that improve cognitive and motor skills. More than a tool for caregivers and educators, Leka is described by its developers as a “robotic companion”. For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), connecting with others can be challenging.  The robot is able to guide children through a range of activities, helping them to improve their communication skills and ability to learn.

Leka may also help parents and caregivers, by providing data on how children interact with the device and enabling data sharing across a social network. It will provide understanding on the type of guidance that is more helpful to the child to complete a task. All of this information is displayed in graphs in the shared interface and parents or caregivers can comment on them, communicate with each other or share notes on a child’s use.

How can a robot change things?

ASD affects about 70 million people worldwide. In order to develop an efficient toy, Leka’s developers worked closely with children with ASD, parents and educators, to determine their needs and the role that the robot could play. The developers realised that children with ASD respond especially well to robots. Why? Because for these children, repetition and predictability are essential. Performing the same activity over and over can be hard for parents or educators.

Doing the same thing over and over is proper to robots. “The robotics help by repeating the same thing every single time and providing the child a sense of safety” – Ladislas de Toldi, Leka’s CEO and co-founder.

The rolling robot may also help child development by being controlled via Bluetooth and programmed through an app (available for both iOS and Android). Leka responds to a child’s participation in games, supplying positive images and sounds — for instance, showing a smiling face — to reward progress and encourage confidence. Currently programmed with three educational games, Leka will offer a total of seven activities toward 2017.

Adaptability is the key strength of this rolling robot. Caregivers can adjust the level of stimulation to fit each child’s needs – by changing the settings – , allowing the child’s progress to be tracked over time. Meanwhile, handling the spherical Leka provides children with a uniquely tactile interactive experience that they can’t get from a touch screen.

“Our mission is to help exceptional children live exceptional lives by reducing the learning inequalities that many children with different developmental disorders currently deal with” – Ladislas de Toldi.

Both these features justify the Leka’s cost of $699, say its developers. The robot is priced between an iPad Air and the iPad Pro… which are not exactly cheap, however the Indiegogo campaign (152% funded)  would enable mass production of the device and make it more affordable.  Besides, the start-up claims that the developers are looking for a solution for parents who can’t afford such a price but do need a Leka.


The initiative highlights how a robot could enhance our way of living. Do you think robotics can change lives too? Do you like the article? Leave a comment then!



Meet the Nitro Digital team

Welcome to the first in a series of interviews with the Nitro Digital team! Here we meet Piotr Sikora (Lead Front End Developer) who talks about cutting edge IT, increasing services for clients, his new book, and connections between breakdancing and developing!


Hello and thank you for being interviewed for the Nitro Digital blog!

Firstly, please tell us about your role is at Nitro, and where you fit in the team? How long have you worked here?
Hi all! I’m glad that I can give you an interview. I’m a lead front end developer at Nitro Digital. I started working here 3 years ago (in 2013) when the Polish department was about 7 people in a small office.

Could you say more about your role and the sorts of projects you’re involved in?
Currently my role is related mainly with Front End logic and web technologies/languages like HTML CSS and JavaScript including frameworks like Foundation, Angular, Phonegap etc. I’m a lead developer so I’m looking for new technologies we can use as a team, and I’m supporting all developers in the team. I’m working on the parts of projects which the client can see in a browser – so for example this can be interactive websites, and also mobile apps and email templates.

So looking for ways to improve interactivity and user experience has led you to write a book on Professional CSS3 – tell us about this! Is it very related to your work aims?
Yes exactly it is strictly related to my work aims. I started working on the book about nine months ago. The funniest thing about working on book is the main question of each good developer: “who has time to write a book?” So I had a time to do that because I wanted to share my knowledge with other developers.

This book is for people who want to get more knowledge about CSS. If you are a beginner you can read this book as I’ve tried to explain all aspects of CSS as simply as I could. If you are a pro developer you can find some tricks which I use, and rebuild them for your needs. Hopefully this book will be helpful for all people who wants to know more about CSS.

It’s great to produce something technical that will be useful to all levels. I see you’re a b-boy (break dancer) in you spare time – please say more?
I’ve been a b-boy for about 17 years. I started dancing when I was teenager with a friend from my neighborhood. It was easy for me to start dancing because I trained in Karate for about 10 years and my body was ready for it. Break dance showed me how to use the foundation of dance with my own creativity to create my own style. It made me more aware who I want to be and how can I make myself better in other areas.

I’m still dancing and try to teach kids and teenagers. It gives me big satisfaction that some of my students are now dancing like pro b-boys. I’m a judge too. After a years of passion, it’s great to see how this culture is still evolving and how young people are creative.

So it takes a lot of discipline?
Yes for sure but I’m not so radical right now. When you are a contender you need to keep your training routine. Now I’m making it only for my enjoyment. I’m happy that when I’m dancing in home my daughter is trying to do it too. And she is so happy when she is doing it!

Sounds like you’re someone who’s interested in developing – dance, sport, technology. Is there anything front end you’d like to see in the future, or think will develop? Anything we should look out for?
The technology is still moving forward. Back in the day I was a Flash Developer and I’ve been involved in projects which were based on augmented reality. I hope it will be possible to make it in JavaScript in near future. I’m still trying to be on time and one of things which I like right now is Internet Of Things (IOT). I bought Raspberry Pi about 3 months ago and made a simple application in Node.JS. So maybe it can be a project related with IOT. It’s rather hard to make an application for dancers but maybe some day I will find a way to do it.

Is IOT being used in the healthcare/media sector?
Yes – there are a lot of ideas and products related to IOT and healthcare. This is a rising branch in IT and hopefully it will go a little bit out from IT sector.  I recently heard about projects related with diabetes which helps to dose drugs. As I mentioned this is still a rising branch and I hope it will revolutionise IT. We as developers just need to find the niche and create some extra products in this sector.

The Poland team has expanded a lot over recent times! Are you able to provide different services or projects now?
When I started working in Nitro Digital Poland there were 7 developers on board. All of us were working on our current workflow which was evolving to work on maximising our efficiency. We are still scaling and we are working on culture of work inside our company which is very important to keep the team motivation.

I think that the main difference is that we learned a lot on previous projects. We’re able to provide new products with new technologies and with better efficiency than ever. We have more time for research. We have a great QA team! The team has developed and is the best QA team which I could dream of. They are supporting developers in their work and for sure are the very important support of the development process. I hope that this evolution (almost revolution) will be kept and we will still be working on better projects which will satisfy our clients.

What would you say is your biggest success so far?
The biggest success is that we build so big team is such a short time. In last 12 months we made the Front End team from 3 to 16 developers. It was possible because of great people with whom I work everyday (thanks Marcin, Katarzyna, and all FEDevelopers @ Nitro Digital, Pete and Jules for all of possibilities). I think that this is the one of biggest successes. And I believe that this is just a warm up before something bigger!

Nitro Digital 2016

2016 – Our Busiest Year Yet?

Hello! It’s been a while since we last wrote but only because we’ve been very busy with some exciting new developments. We are brighter and busier than ever with the opening of a new office in Canada, the hiring of even more A-players to our global team and a successful launch of a great new product for our client. We thought now was a good time to tell you all about it and explain why we think that 2016 might just be our biggest year yet…
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Nitro Digital at the 1MoreChild Charity in Uganda

About a month ago at this time we were packing our bags to leave for Uganda, to teach senior boys at the 1MoreChild charity some practical IT skills. Full of excitement and massive bags filled with laptops, we arrived in Entebbe late at night and headed straight to our hotel to get rested for our drive to Jinja the next day.

Abdulla, our driver, came early in the morning and after 6 hours of driving, or shall I say being stuck in traffic for the most of it, we finally reached our beautiful guesthouse in Jinja. Harry, the founder of 1MoreChild, came to see us in the evening so we could talk more about the boys and our plan for the next few days. After a couple of beers and lots of laughs, we said goodbye to Harry and headed back to our rooms to get ready for our first day with the boys.

And so it all began the next morning, when we finally reached the house where we were to spend most of our time in Jinja. Sixteen excited boys came to greet us outside, which at first seemed like a lot, but after all the introductions we got to know everybody and it wasn’t as scary anymore. Their eagerness to learn and extreme thankfulness made it very easy for us, as well as the fact that we had two supervisors – Benson & Jimmy, who were with us at all times making sure we are ok.

Gilberto began by covering computer basics, and then Duygu and myself got to the fun part – the Internet. The concept of Google got everybody confused, but by the end of the day it was clear to everybody that google is not some old wizard that can’t be trusted.

After a long day we decided there was not much else we could do and called it a day. Harry and his wife Hen, as well as their 4 lovely kids, took us out for dinner that evening to talk more about our plans and life in Jinja, as well as our newly gained respect for the teachers, even after doing it for only a day.

In the next few days we got to know the boys a lot more, as well as their abilities, so we were able cover a lot more topics. This ranged from creating email accounts and sending emails, to using word and practising Google searches more and more. This was particularly centred on using Google to expand their knowledge about computers when we leave.

It was such a humbling and eye opening experience, and we hope the boys will carry on learning with amazing support from Harry and Hen. For us, this is definitely not the end of the journey. Our Managing Director, Jules, is committed to keep on supporting 1MoreChild. We will be preparing remote teaching plans in the coming weeks, and hope the boys will follow them until we see them again the next time we go.
Please support this great charity too by donating here.


Nitro Digital head to Uganda to share their digital know-how with the kids

Three colleagues from Nitro Digital are heading out to Uganda today, ready to share their digital knowledge with the senior kids who are supported by charity, 1MoreChild.

Nitro Account Managers, Ruta Salaseviciute and Duygu Ucan and Developer, Gilberto Tomasone, will be spending time with students aged 16yrs-18rs to teach them practical IT skills as well as leaving them with some offline materials so they can continue their learning after our three colleagues return to London. The aim is to share some of the knowledge that we use at Nitro in our everyday work and help these young adults to find jobs in the future by using their IT skills.

1MoreChild provides school fees, three meals a day, school uniforms, clothes, medical care, tutoring, mentoring, and football training to Ugandan children who live in the slum village of Masese.

Set up by Harry and his wife Hen, the charity began by providing support to just one child who wanted to go to school and now they help over 150 children, some of whom have nothing other than their friends within the charity. They currently rent six houses in Jinja, four boys’ homes and two for girls and these homes accommodate some of the children in the slum village of Masese that don’t have families. The children who still live with their families come to the house every day and it has become a place that they all call ‘home’.

As well as support through Nitro, our Managing director, Jules raises money each year on a sponsored cycle from Geneva to Milan with cycling tour company, Ride25, who, with their dedicated 1MoreChild cycling team have raised huge amounts for the charity. We are also extending our digital support for the children by funding their broadband connection and donating some laptops so that they can put what they learn from Ruta, Duygu and Gilberto into practice and have access to a wealth of information via the web.

We are very excited to hear how our Nitro colleagues get on! Please support this great charity too by donating here.