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Agenda: 

Demonstrations

(activities running all day)

 

Social robotics – See how researchers are teaching mobile robots how operate in spaces inhabited by humans; the robots need to recognise and avoid each individual’s “personal space” while plotting an efficient route to carry out their tasks.

Augmented reality sandpit – Augmented reality is the overlap of the digital (simulated) world with physical reality; in this engaging demonstration we illustrate some of the concepts with a sandpit displaying projected images which respond as the sand is moved around.

Smart factory – this working demonstration model of a smart factory illustrates how automation and robotics are increasingly key to many forms of manufacturing.

Communication with light – The internet would be impossible without information being carried by light in optical fibres; see (literally) how music can be transmitted using different coloured light beams.

3D printing – 3D printing, or more correctly Additive Manufacturing, is transforming our ability to create rapid prototypes from plastic, ceramics, metal and composite materials; see state of the art printers in action and handle some of the amazingly complex and intricate items that can now be printed.

Autonomous vehicles – sit in a vehicle capable of entirely autonomous driving and learn about the challenges that must be solved before this technology becomes widespread, enabling us to order a “robo-taxi” to take us home.

Virtual reality and art – take a virtual ride through a cave in a mine cart and complete various activities such as answering basic questions or judging between different virtual sculptures. Your choices are recorded and used to generate a unique sculpture based on your preferences. Your participation will contribute to a research project.

Mind controlled drone – advances in machine learning are enabling computers to interpret people’s intentions via simple sensors placed on the body, allowing for example paralysed people to control a wheelchair; in this demonstration a computer will read your mind enabling you to fly a drone purely by thought.

Fuel cell car – construct a model car driven by a fuel cell; this is a device that turns fuel (usually obtained from a sustainable source) directly into electricity to drive an electric motor. This technology offers an alternative to purely electric vehicles for long distance driving.

Student projects – learn what really happens at university by speaking to some undergraduate engineering students. See some of the devices they have designed and built as part of their degree courses.

F1 in schools - racing cars on 15m track. Watch more here

 

Workshops 

Hands on exercises for 20-30 pupils (+teacher) lasting 60-90 minutes – booked in advance

 

Robot Challenge - Work in teams to programme a mobile robot to complete a task as efficiently as possible and then compete with the other teams to put your design to the test. Will your robot be first to escape the maze, fastest around a track or will you win the robot sumo wrestling competition?

 

Global Bioenergy Stories - The young people will work with Aston researchers from EBRI and an artist (illustrator) learning about bioenergy and discuss their visions of future energy uses and how sustainable energy can be provided. The aim of the workshop is to capture the visions and ideas of the participants, whose ideas will be at the centre of the workshop. The outcome of the workshop will be artistic illustrations and the participants will become part of an international project working with young people and artists across different continents and countries.

 

How to make light work - Recent developments in photonics – “the science and technology of light” – are transforming society. Today’s internet would be impossible without laser-based communication; light based methods of diagnosis and treatment are transforming medicine; developments in lighting and display technology have given us a clearer picture of the world. In this workshop you will learn more about how light can be used through the construction of a musical instrument – a laser harp.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) - AI – sometimes also known as machine learning – is being applied ever more widely, from algorithms suggesting what you should watch on Netflix or what products you might like to buy, to AI based medical diagnosis and self-driving cars. Here you will learn how to train a “neural network” – a computer simulation of the brain – to recognise different objects using just a computer and webcam. Afterwards you will know all you need to undertake your own experiments in AI.

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