Category Archives: Events

Inspiring young people through science and technology

School pupils are creating their own state-of-the-art 3D worlds thanks to youth charity The Prince’s Trust.

The University of Lincoln is hosting young people from two local schools, Lincoln Castle Academy and Caistor Yarborough Academy, who are taking part in The Prince’s Trust xl club, designed to support young people in developing the skills and confidence at school needed to progress into a positive future.

The pupils are taking part in a special eight-week programme, during which they will have the opportunity to work with the Oculus Rift head-mounted virtual reality headset.

Helen Webster, from the University’s School of Computer Science, is leading the workshops which enable the students to see how games are developed and to test out their own 3D environments.

Helen, who specialises in digital special effects and multi-media technology, said: “The students are being taught how this technology might be used in future computer games development and also in providing immersive training simulations.

“We are hoping to fire them up with some ideas about possible careers in technology. Very few people have access to the Oculus Rift headsets, which will revolutionise the way people experience video games. It will give them a flavour of high-tech industry and some of the opportunities that are available if they do well in science and maths.”

Funded with £500,000 from global music artist, entrepreneur and philanthropist will.i.am, The Prince’s Trust xl programme aims to help inspire and engage young people with STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects and build skills that are vital in the job market.

Gary Jones, Head of Year 11 at Lincoln Castle Academy, said: “Having an understanding of science and developments in IT in this ever-changing technological world we live in is essential. Working alongside the University of Lincoln and The Prince’s Trust is an amazing opportunity for students of Lincoln Castle Academy to gain an insight that they would never normally gain in the traditional classroom.”

The pupils from Caistor Yarborough Academy have just completed their course and showcased their creations at a special presentation.

Nicola Colley, xl Club Advisor at Caistor Yarborough Academy, said: “These workshops gave our students the fantastic opportunity to broaden their learning beyond the classroom. Working in a new and exciting environment, engagement was high and it is obvious that in addition to thoroughly enjoying the challenge, the experience boosted confidence and self-esteem. We have noticed a significant improvement in their ability to work as a team – exploring unfamiliar territory together appears to have had a very positive affect – and it has also been great to see some students demonstrate unexpected ability.

“In a society where science and technology are increasingly important, enrichment schemes like this are invaluable when it comes to helping students understand the relevance of their school curriculum. They learn that STEM subjects are interdisciplinary and highly relevant to future employment.”

For further information about The Prince’s Trust, visit www.princes-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842842.

Pupils trying out Oculus Rift
Pupils trying out Oculus Rift

 

“Printed” robot MARC to be showcased at national engineering event

A 3D-printed robot will be one of the star attractions at an annual event aimed at inspiring the next generation of manufacturers and engineers.

MARC (Multi-Actuated Robotic Companion) will interact with visitors to the Get up to Speed with Engineering and Manufacturing event in Sheffield on Tuesday, 8th April.

Created by Dr John Murray from the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln, UK, MARC is one of two robots being used to help scientists understand how more realistic long-term relationships might be developed between humans and androids.

Based on human interactions and relationships, the research team will introduce ‘characteristics’ and ‘personalities’ to the robot. If the robot can be programmed to understand how human-to-human long-term relationships begin and develop, then it would be easier to plan the human-robot relationship.

The project team believe such robots could act as companions, working with the elderly, or with children with conditions such as autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder. Existing robots lack identifiable human characteristics that prevent humans developing a bond with them.

Dr Murray will also be demonstrating 3D printed quadrocopters – the latest sensation in aerial remote control aircraft. Visitors can watch the on-board footage as they record the event and learn how to build and fly these machines.

Dr Murray said: “I’m delighted to be asked to exhibit at Get up to Speed for the second year running as it is a great opportunity for the University to showcase its research. I’m extremely keen to help young people see that subjects such as Computer Science and Engineering are not as daunting as they might think. Once they have been able to interact with MARC and fly the quadrocopters they will see that these topics are actually quite fun.”

All exhibits at Get up to Speed offer the chance to see the fundamental roles design, engineering and manufacturing have played in the success of different innovations.

The event is specifically designed for young people, their families and teachers to see some of the vehicles and technologies first hand, hear from and talk to those involved.

Other activities include a Formula 1 simulator; the World’s First F3 Racing Car made entirely from sustainable and renewable materials; and a visit from Paralympic cycling gold medallist Mark Colbourne MBE.

The free event runs from 10am to 5.30pm at The Blue Shed in Brightside Lane, Sheffield. To find out more go to http://www.getuptospeed.org.uk/home

MARC
MARC