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Jason Bradbury to be Visiting Lecturer at the University of Lincoln

TV’s Gadget Show host and author Jason Bradbury is to become a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Lincoln, UK, teaching students on the Computer Science and Product Design programmes.

The self-confessed technology addict will lend his experience and industry insight to one of the project modules on both courses which require final year students to put their learning into practice by tackling a challenging problem relevant to society.

Details of the projects are currently being kept under wraps, but Dr John Murray, Principal Lecturer in Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “The students are in for a real challenge that they will find hugely rewarding and exciting.

“The University of Lincoln is an award-winning institution, recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for its development of innovative approaches to learning.

Jason Bradbury said: “I’m confident that the course modules I created with the academic team at the University of Lincoln will ignite the passion and ingenuity of the students. Having spent some time in the incredible facilities at Lincoln and met several of the students, I fully expect to see some truly innovative results coming out of these two first modules. Watch this space!”
Jason - red hoodie

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Innovative breakthrough in ‘cancer seeing’ technology wins coveted industry accolade

An international research team developing world-first technology for use in cancer treatment, using proton beams to localise treatment and cause less damage to healthy tissue, has won a global competition recognising the best innovations in engineering, science and technology.

The consortium of researchers led by Professor Nigel Allinson MBE from the University of Lincoln, UK, received a prestigious Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Award.

The team behind the PRaVDA project was named as the winner in the Model-Based Engineering category for its Proton CT ‘Seeing cancer during proton therapy’ innovation.

Professor Nigel Allinson

The PRaVDA innovation will assist radiotherapists by helping them to achieve accurate proton CT images. Over half of all cancer patients receive radiotherapy as part of their curative treatment, and most radiotherapy is delivered using high-energy external beams of x-rays. Proton beam therapy, however, uses a different type of beam to conventional radiotherapy. It uses a high-energy beam of protons. Like x-rays, protons can penetrate tissue to reach deep tumours.  However, compared to x-rays, protons cause less damage to healthy tissue in front of the tumour, and no damage at all to healthy tissue lying behind, which greatly reduces the side effects of radiation therapy.

Professor Allinson, Distinguished Professor of Image Engineering in Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “We are really pleased to have won this award – it’s great to receive such recognition from a global institution as renowned and long-running as the IET.  Hopefully this award will mean that we can continue to provide accurate cancer treatment for more and more patients.”

He added: “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.”

Professor Allinson heads the PRaVDA project team, which also includes the University of Birmingham, University of Liverpool, University of Surrey, University of Warwick, University of Cape Town, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

William Webb, IET President, said: “The IET Innovation Awards celebrate the best in global innovation, highlighting the rapid and exciting pace of development in today’s engineering and technology industry. Congratulations to the team for their win. They were selected from a highly impressive set of global innovations as one of the most forward-thinking, pioneering innovations in the field.

“These awards are part of the IET’s mission to inspire engineering excellence, which last year provided over £500,000 to celebrate excellence and research in the sector and inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians.  Our awards recognise and reward the industry’s elite, from apprentices and technicians at the start of their careers, through to senior established professionals.”

The awards took place in London on 19th November 2014 and were hosted by TV presenter Kate Russell. For more information on the IET Innovation Awards, visit:http://conferences.theiet.org/innovation/ceremony/index.cfm

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Meet Linda the robot at The Collection

Strands%204Visitors to The Collection in Lincoln can meet a very special robot during EU Robotics Week later this month.

Linda the robot, from the University of Lincoln, UK, will be guiding visitors to exhibitions in the museum as part of European Robotics Week from 24th to 30th November 2014.

Linda is one of six robots under development in the £7.2 million collaborative STRANDS project and is named after Lincoln’s Roman name, Lindum Colonia.

Researchers are creating mobile robots able to operate independently over prolonged periods, based on an understanding of 3D space and how this space changes over time.

Funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme (FP7), the project team consists of six academic partners, a security company and an Austrian care home provider, where the technology will be tested for real.

The robots will eventually be deployed to run for an extended period of time so they have the chance to develop an understanding of how the world appears and how to identify deviations from their normal environment. The ultimate aim is for the robots to support security guards or staff in care homes.

As part of EU Robotics Week 2013, the six robots took part in a similar ‘robot marathon’ to see which could run for the longest time and cover the most distance.

Dr Marc Hanheide, from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, leads the research on how the robots gather information about their surroundings, and use this learned knowledge to interact appropriately with human users.

He said: “When complete, these robots will perform intelligent tasks in care and security applications. Before that, we must ensure they can simply just survive without expert help in the real world. To challenge ourselves and our robots, we decided to run a robot marathon during European Robotics Week 2013. This was an endurance competition in which the universities who are participating in the project ran their robots for as long as possible, with the aim of them covering as much ground as possible. Linda won the marathon, and this year is taking on an even bigger challenge; running 24/7 in a public space.”

During her challenge Linda will also be gathering data to help her to learn how to become more robust in the future, which will include assessing how people move around her, and which routes are particularly safe and fast to take.

The technology used in the STRANDS project was showcased at a week-long national celebration of university research at the Natural History Museum in the summer of 2014. Linda was chosen to mingle with visitors as part of Universities Week 2014, a campaign which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.

See Linda at The Collection, Danes Terrace, Lincoln, 10am to 4pm from 24th to 30th November 2014.

Follow Linda’s activities during the week through live broadcasts at http://lcas.lincoln.ac.uk/linda and on Twitter @LindaStrands

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Robots attend Europe’s largest tech conference

3D-printed robots from the University of Lincoln, UK, have taken their first overseas trip to attend Europe’s largest annual technology event in Dublin.

Web Summit, which runs from 4th to 6th November 2014, has been called ‘the best technology conference on the planet’.

MARC (Multi-Actuated Robotic Companion) and TAMMIE (Technologically Advanced Multi-Modal Interactive Entity), two androids created by Dr John Murray from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, made guest appearances at the event.

Dr Murray was invited to the event to team up with Wevolver, a start-up company that aims to bring together open source projects and communities to develop new and exciting creative ideas.

MARC and TAMMIE, together with their fellow robot ERWIN, are being used to help scientists understand how more realistic long-term relationships might be developed between humans and androids. Existing robots lack identifiable human characteristics that prevent humans developing a bond with them.

The project team believe their studies into human-computer interaction could one day see robots act as companions and may also help researchers to understand how relationships are built by children with conditions such as autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder. MARC and TAMMIE are 3D-printed robots whose design was supplied by the open source project InMoov (www.inmoov.fr).

Web Summit will attract around 22,000 people – including 700 investors and 1,300 journalists – and speakers include the CEO of Dropbox, Drew Houston; the founder of Paypal and the first investor in Facebook, Peter Thiel; and actress and entrepreneur Eva Longoria.

3D robots Dublin 2 Dublin event

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New smart key software enhances security for homes and businesses

Computer scientists and security specialists have created an innovative electronic smart key system that aims to provide a safer and more flexible security system for homes and businesses.

Funded by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, eLOQ is a new software system for the creation and management of electronic keys and locks which cannot be copied or picked.

Other benefits over a traditional, mechanical lock and key system include; restricting access to specific locks/areas based on date and time; the ability to view an audit trail held in the keys and locks; and the ‘blacklisting’ of lost or stolen keys without the time and expense of physically replacing locks.

eLOQ was created by Dr John Murray, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science; Nandagopal Raja Lakshminarayanan, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership associate; and Peter Corlett from the company Lincoln Security.

Dr Murray said: “In many companies, key control is an issue and often a compromise with security. If a key is lost, the security level either plummets or a costly replacement exercise is required. eLOQ aims to eliminate the issues of keys being copied or lost, as our keys are electronic, they can be easily administered using the latest computer technology. The main aim of this software was to ensure the system could be audit trailed, which we have achieved.”

eLOQ keys can be programmed with bespoke access privileges for each user, detailing what locks they can open and when. A single key can open over 3,000 locks or groups of locks.

An audit record of all events is stored in both the locks and the keys. Each time a key is used at a lock, a record of the lock ID, date, and time is stored in the key, and a record of the key ID, date, and time is stored in the lock.

The software offers a simple but secure log-in procedure and once logged in the administrator can manage the system easily from one computer.

Peter Corlett, from Lincoln Security, said: “We aim to support traditional locksmiths who wish to embrace the benefits of 21st Century technology solutions. The system is designed to offer not only secure access to your home or business, but a greater degree of flexibility and intelligence not otherwise possible with traditional mechanical locks and keys.”

eLOQ offers several software packages ranging from the home to large business sites.

The project was funded through the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme, a part government-funded scheme to encourage collaboration between businesses and universities in the United Kingdom.

For more information on eLOQ go to www.eloqsecurity.com

eLOQ electromechanical key

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