Lab talk: Dmitry Dereshev

Dmitry’s research is into human attitudes towards robots. He discusses the reactions of people to three different types of robots: abstract, zoomorphic and humanoid, and explores how issues such as privacy and security could influence our choices about letting robots into our lives.

Lab talk: Stephen Lock

Clinical Research Networks recruit participants for NHS clinical research projects, and Stephen Lock looks at ways to use technology to improve this process. He explores ways that a better use of technology can lead to patient-centred research delivery models.

Lab talk: Ray Middleton

Ray works for Fulfilling Lives, a programme that works with people in Newcastle and Gateshead with multiple and complex needs such as homelessness, reoffending, substance misuse and mental ill health. Many of these people are excluded from the support they need from separate providers, and Fulfilling Lives works to better coordinate these services and move further towards a person-centred approach to care.

Lab talk: Hanna Celina

Self-Organised Learning Environments have revolutionised education by giving students control over their learning. Hanna Celina has taken this concept and applied it to online courses to creating Learning Circle. In partnership with United World Colleges, Learning Circle delivers five-week online courses for high school children around the world. The courses focus on activism and encourage students to take an active role in shaping the course, taking part in group discussions and working on projects together.

Lab talk: Oliver Harness

Complex organisations such as schools cater well for the majority of their pupils, but those pupils who do not fit neatly into the organisational systems and structures may be neglected or need added support. Schools regularly collect and collate pupil performance and attendance data in an attempt to identify those not meeting normative standards. However those pupils with complex needs ‘get lost’ in this normative monitoring. Such pupils are those with special educational needs, or who are carers, or who are looked after.

It is those whose needs sit outside of the majority who need the most specific individualised support, yet they are most likely to be ‘missed’ by a complex organisation. Innovative IT solutions may help to enable managers meet to the needs of all pupils in schools, even those often marginalised by organisational systems and structures.

Oliver Harness, a School Improvement Advisor in Hartlepool, discusses the issues of support in schools, and opens a discussion about ways in which technology can help.

Lab talk: Ana Javornik

Augmented reality has big implications for retail, and Ana Javornik from Newcastle University Business School discusses her research into AR and consumer experiences. AR was used in several retail settings, including to market makeup. Customers could use AR to see what different products look like on their own faces, and Ana discussed how this was received.

Lab talk: Geremy Farr-Wharton

Food, energy and water usage are so interconnected that reducing our consumption of one will have a significant impact on the others. Geremy discusses his research into mapping the food energy water nexus, and the implications this could have for increasing sustainability in the future.

Lab talk: Toshiyuki Maeda

After working for Panasonic for several years, Toshiyuki has experience of research into data mining and artificial intelligence. In this lab talk he discusses his previous and current work, ranging from monitoring of elderly people to song analysis and sports movement analysis.

Lab talk: Phil James

Phil James from the Urban Observatory came to Open Lab to talk about his work:

“A superficial reading of the press and the greater internet would suggest that the era of Smart Cities is already here,” Phil explained.

“All we need to realise this is finance and the political will. In reality, whilst many cities declare they are “Smart” the smartness resides in small pilot projects, or marketing hype.

“Here in Newcastle our approach is to develop a city test bed at the scale of the city to attempt to push the limits of sensor technology and understand their applications, develop holistic systems with multiple sensor types and data streams and learn how different types of monitoring data from physical observations to people’s impressions and ideas can be integrated to develop an Urban Observatory.

“The Urban Observatory programme is developing platform agnostic monitoring systems sampling many environmental and human factors across multiple spatial and temporal scales and addressing the socio-technical problems associated with large scale monitoring.

“The Urban Observatory provides a platform for research and it’s open data ethos means that anybody can access and use this data.

“We are currently working with a number of groups and researchers looking at well-being, community noise mapping, air quality interactions, data visualisation, integrated monitoring and real-time modelling, computer architectures for edge and cloud processing in sensor systems. We have a rolling programme of sensor deployments over the next 4 years focussed on research-driven monitoring. We currently received over 1,000,000 observations a day from over 300 sensors.”