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Eye Resonator Project to be shown at the International Kinetica Art Fair

Eye Resonator

An interactive piece of art created by Dr John Shearer from the School of Computer Science and Dr Brigitta Zics Deputy Head of Postgraduate Studies in Ravensbourne, will be displayed at the International Kinetica Art Fair, a platform for new media art works and kinetic installations.

Eye Resonator is an interactive art ecosystem that reacts to a viewer’s eye movements detecting behavioural changes using eye-tracking technology.

To begin with, a large copper dome lowers itself over a person’s head, which calibrates the system for an individual’s eyes. They are then presented with an animated swarm of “boids” on the screen in front of them, which they control simply by their eye movement.

By detecting subtle behavioural changes, Eye Resonator stimulates a process of self-observation by guiding the visitor through a sequence of experiences and feedback loops. As well as altering the swarm behaviours the Eye Resonator  can activate fans and heat lamps to heat or cool the visitor and alter the soundscape, to further modulation their affective state.

During the experience, which lasts from about two to ten minutes, pupil dilation and behavioural shifts are tracked as people try to control increasingly complex swarms on the screen in front of them – from a flock of birds through to insects or fish and onto plankton.

The International Kinetica Art Fair, hosted at The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, will display the Eye Resonator technology from 16–19 October, with public viewings available from 17th October. Ticket information can be found here

Posted in Human-Robot interaction, Research, School news, Staff.

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Cancer treatment researchers shortlisted for global engineering award

PRaVDA exhibition PRaVDA exhibition An international research team developing world-first technology for use in cancer treatment has been named as a finalist in a global competition to recognise the best innovations in engineering, science and technology.

The PRaVDA project, headed by Professor Nigel Allinson MBE of the University of Lincoln, UK, is a finalist in the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards. It is shortlisted in the Model-Based Engineering category.

PRaVDA is a unique medical imaging and dosimetry instrument for use in treatment of cancer with proton therapy. It is funded by a £1.6m Translation Grant from the Wellcome Trust.

Currently at the prototype stage, the system will be one of the most complex medical imaging devices ever built. It will provide the Holy Grail for radiotherapists – namely, accurate proton CT (computerised tomography) images, eliminating the potential targeting errors of this new radiotherapy method.

Professor Allinson, Distinguished Professor of Image Engineering in Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “It is a tremendous honour for the PRaVDA team to be shortlisted for an IET Innovation Award. We are mid-way through our three-year project to create world-first technology which will make proton therapy a viable treatment option for many more cancer patients. With two new government-funded proton therapy centres due to open in the UK by 2018, and the number of centres worldwide expected to double in the next decade, PRaVDA has the potential to make a profound contribution to the global fight against cancer.”

Over half of cancer patients receive radiotherapy as part of their curative treatment. Most radiotherapy is delivered using high-energy beams of x-rays. Proton therapy provides a precision alternative, using a high-energy beam of protons to penetrate tissue and reach deep tumours.

The behavior of protons is very different x-rays and offers a number of advantages in radiotherapy. The proton beam does far less damage to healthy tissue when it passes through the body. This reduces the side effects of treatment, meaning higher doses of radiation can be delivered to the tumour site in a single treatment.

This offers particular benefits for treatment to cancers of the brain, eye and spinal cord, and cancers in children, where it reduces the risks of secondary cancers occurring later in life. However, proton therapy’s added potency vastly increases the importance of dosage accuracy.

PRaVDA is a unique instrument (patent-pending) that not only will provide accurate dosimetry and individual pre-treatment set-up, real-time monitoring of dose, dose profile and position during treatment but also provides, for the first time, quality proton CT images.

The team developing the system is an international consortium consisting of six universities, four NHS health trusts, two companies and the National Research Foundation of South Africa.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) Innovation Awards recognise excellence across 16 categories from sustainability and transport to communications and healthcare technologies. The free-to-enter, international, annual awards scheme provides a unique opportunity for engineering inventors to showcase their brightest ideas.

Winners of the IET Innovation Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on 19th November 2014, hosted by technology writer and TV presenter Kate Russell.

Find out more about the IET Innovation Awards here:

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Outside the box: how to think like games designers

Members of the University of Lincoln’s Performance and Games Network project participated in one of the world’s largest writers’ festivals to help novelists think about how they might be able to create interactive gaming experiences.

Dr Conor Linehan and Dr John Shearer, from the School of Computer Science, were invited to lead a session at the Brisbane Writers Festival, held in September 2014. The event attracts hundreds of writers from all over the world.

Dr Linehan and Dr Shearer together with Dr Kate Sicchio and Richard Wetzel ran a workshop on how to use game design as a way of creating interesting interactive experiences in the real world.

The session focussed on balancing interaction with story, understanding the needs and participation of the audience/user/gamer, and the opportunities to partner with technologists, particularly writers who want to explore the possibilities of games for their creative practice.

Dr Shearer said: “There are lots of different audiences for computer games. We are interested in mixed reality, so what’s happening in both the virtual and real world – where the audience is part of the story. Our purpose at the festival was to talk to novelists about creating new interactive experiences – whether we call them games or not is another matter.”

Writers who joined the team for public talks and panels included Greg Broadmore, an illustrator, writer and conceptual designer for Weta Workshop who has designed for the likes of District 9 and King Kong; and Jeffrey Yohalem, lead writer on Assasin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Far Cry 3.

The visit to Australia was part of the Performance and Games Network project, which is led by the University of Lincoln, and aims to bring together games developers, performance practitioners and academics to explore new concepts in the design and creation of movement-based games.

The project is being sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as part of a wider initiative to develop the creative industries and put Britain back at the forefront of creative technology. It is also supported by Arts Queensland. For more information on the project go to

Dr Linehan, who also presented a keynote address at the festival, said: “This project is about bringing the disciplines together. We are involved in those cutting-edge conversations about the future of videogames. The project is about exploring how we can make more meaningful and interesting games with more complex narratives.”

Over a series of workshops, performance practitioners and academics will participate directly in the game creation process through a series of workshop activities. This will drive development of new performance-led game mechanics, and playful audience interactions, which will inspire new types of experience in contemporary gaming platforms.

The Brisbane Writers Festival was the second of three inter-disciplinary workshops, with the third taking place on 27th and 28th October at the Mixed Reality Lab in Nottingham.

The Network is now exploring potential collaboration with Film School at Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology, both in Brisbane.

Posted in Games development, Research.

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Goodbye and a million thanks to Jackie Withey

At the end of September, Jackie Withey takes a well earned retirement. Students and Staff in the School of Computer Science will all miss you so much Jackie. Thanks a million for everything you have done. Please keep in touch with us!

At the graduation ceremony we held a little thank you ceremony.


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Graduation 2014 – Prizewinners

Well done to all graduates in the Class of 2014!!! We hope you enjoyed your day at the Cathedral.

After the ceremony we also gave out awards to our prize winners:


The Longhurst Prize (best project)

John McDonagh  (BSc Games Computing Level 3)

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Best Graduate in the School of Computer Science

Level 3 Daniel Lowe (BSc Computer Science)

Level 4 Thomas Glenn (MComp Computer Science)

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School Prize for Excellence in Project Work (two winners)

Keiran Hicks (BSc Computer Games Production Level 3)

Arne Ubelhor (BSc Games Computing Level 3)


Outstanding Contribution to the School of Computer Science

Ian Hansford (BSc Computer Information Systems Level 3)


Well done to everyone!

Posted in Events, School news, Students.

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