iCardio Device on the That’s Lancashire TV interview.


The aim of the project is to study and develop a lightweight and easy to use product & service which facilities:

USE ON THE GO: no restrictions on who, when and where.

PROVIDING RICH INFORMATION: Multi-dimensional data are collected with minimum/no users’ intervention.

CUSTOMISED REAL TIME ANALYSIS AND FEEDBACKS: Automatic unusual patterns and vital signs detection and their associated causalities are provided to the end users so they will be aware of their potential health problems and take actions accordingly.

REAL TIME DATA SHARING: Based on users’ consent, their health data can be shared in real time with their relatives, health care parties, friends and more.


Visiting Academic Professor Svein-Olaf Hvasshovd

svein-olaf.jpgProfessor Svein-Olaf Hvasshovd from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondeim visited UCLan  as a result of PhD Student Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas work with Animal Computer Interaction Design (ACID) technology, an emerging HCI research area exploring how animals can interact with technology. He presented his work on sheep monitoring, protection, health and gathering in Norway. With an average of 20-30% of sheep being lost related to illness and death, and a large amount of time spent locating and gathering sheep his work presents a technology solution to give the position of the sheep(s), the development of a collar to deter predators, inform the farmer of the attack and identify the predatory animal attacking. Alongside this project, a system is also being undertaken to program drones to automatically gather sheep along a set path. This will be done by using inferred cameras to identify the sheep and then in sheep-dog behaviour herd them back into the farm in the fall.  For more information about this project, you can read a brief overview at Ilyena’s ACID site or email Ilyena  or Svien-Olaf.


UCLan Science Festival 2015

IMG_1547Computing @ UCLan ran two activities at the UCLan Science festival, both conceived and created by Dan Fitton. The first provoked players to think about novel interaction methods by racing robots round a track controlled by a Dance Mat or Drum Kit, the other showcased maker technologies and physical games through a ‘digital egg and spoon’ race. Both activities proved hugely popular with large queues to take part throughout all three days of the event. LancsSciFest2015The activities were made possible through the hard work of many members of the computing team – Brendan Cassidy, Matt Horton, Janet Read, Lorna McKnight, Vinh Thong, and Andra Balta.


Pioneering PhD Research

banner v6PhD student Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas is co-organising a workshop on Animal Computer Interaction with Charlotte Robinson and  Clara Mancini (The Open University), and Shaun Lawson and Ben Kirman (University of Lincoln)). The design of computing technology for animals is a relatively new branch of HCI and there are many research questions being asked in this new area.  Ilyena’s research, which is showcased at http://acid.uclan.ac.uk, focusses on seeking ways for dogs to interact in natural ways with technologies and on how they can be active participants in research studies in this space.   Her most recent work is a workshop paper adapting Hart’s ladder of participation for dogs.  Previous work has used image recognition to map the direction a dog is facing to study interaction with screens.  In the near future Ilyena will be looking to recruit dog owners to assist in her work.  Contact her via the ACID website.


Students Win Research Paper Prize

This year’s research paper winners Thomas Tijssen and James Lemin, receiving their prize from me (sponsored by O’Reilly).

I’ve been investigating the concept of undergraduate research for a few years now. Especially the effectiveness of integrating research opportunities within the 1st year Computing undergraduate cohort, and how the introduction of a research culture enables the teaching team to engage the students and create a foundation of skills that are transferable throughout their course.

The teaching of university students at undergraduate level has conventionally mostly been about providing students with learning skills and about enabling their procurement and understanding of information. Imagine this scenario, so common in higher education: several hundred students assemble together into a big tiered lecture room, to sit an hour, sometimes longer, to listen to a one way lecture. Students are commonly expected to gain an understanding of the subject matter usually by attending these lectures and reading a body of evidence-based literature. At some stage during their academic studies (normally at the end of the academic year) it is necessary to ask them to reiterate the information handed out during those lectures, in order to assess what the student has absorbed. Often, they graduate without experiencing the practices that went into forming the specific readings they study from.

Presently, it is only when a student actually graduates they experience the development of independent inquiry, intellectual independence and knowledge creation. Engaging students in using the skills associated with research can only improve the quality of the university undergraduate experience, and improve their critical thinking.

Students who undertake CO1801 (Practitioner Skills) are required to write a research paper as one of their assignments. This module serves as a tool for students to learn and put into practice skills that will increase their employability; such as team working, adaptability, communication and research proficiency. Students have to propose a piece of experimental research, carry out their experiment, and write it up in a short journal paper format. The best papers are submitted to UClan’s Journal of Undergraduate Research, further encouraging quality of work and engagement.