NESTA Legacy Networking Event at SMARTlab

Wednesday 4 June 2008

Following a tour of the University, fellows and team members introduce themselves and their projects in anticipation of this afternoon’s elevator pitch workshop…

Jude Ower is a serious games consultant whose research seeks to understand the specific requirements of new technologies from the outset, and to this end is undertaking a mapping of the existing uses of serious games products. She is working with developers to integrate gaming into schools to support children with disabilities and specific learning impairments as well as gifted and talented children.

Aejaz Zahid is a biomedical engineer with expertise in Assistive Technology development, and is also an accomplished DJ/electronic music producer. Combine his interests in technology and the arts, he is researching and surveying the existing uses of assistive technologies to enable people with disabilities to access high-end sound and music editing software and hardware. He has been working with severely disabled musicians and performances, and through SMARTlab has made contact with Mick Donegan and his research into Eye Gaze interaction technology.

Rachel Lasebikan’s experience in the fashion industry and in promoting fashion brands in the developing world lead her to develop the SMARTbloom project by encouraging communities to engage with the SMARTbloom website, an internet company promoting individual and community wellness through the creative use of the internet and its communities.

Simon Schofield has evolved his work with assistive and generative music and CAD software development to create a new way of image-making using generative techniques. He has brought with him a few samples of printed textiles created using the FabPad workshop in the Knowledge Dock at UEL. He is interested in developing the potential for these non-repeated, high resolution prints beyong a Fine Art context and towards sustainable product design.

Dr Rachel Armstrong is trained as a medical doctor and is interested in our emerging relationship with technology, particularly the mobile phone – the new technology of the moment – and how it can be used to promote wellness by integrating nanotechnology, biochips and mobile phones, and by developing existing potential for the use of biodata collected by mobile technology. She has been working with Robbie Perry (of Dead Can Dance and the Recycled Orchestra project) towards a non-text based interactive semiotics of performance to record culture-specific movements. Their intention is to produce interactive, animated software for use by performers with disabilities.

Neil Datta’s research history is in mathematics and computer science, and has most recently integrated his profound experience of perceived harmony and structure to establish the primatives of information with a view to developing a machine language that will build upon mathematical correspondences to the words we use to communicate everyday phenomena. He describes himself as one of the last ‘old fashioned’ thinkers of the group!

Mark Pedley is a NESTA mentor is a business developer and works closely to the NESTA mandate that products must be innovative but also able to support themselves financially. He strongly believes in the value of university-based research and innovation as the start of the creative production chain. His current project began by developing “intelligent knickers”, which have since developed into garments for the torso that contain biosensors for capturing biodata from the wearer. The intention is to produce bespoke clothing that communicate via bluetooth to mobile phone devices, towards personalised analysis of data in custom-built computer software. There is great potential for this new “platform technology” in the related fields of gaming, motion capture and fashion design.

Suzanne Stein is part of a small group at Nokia called “Insight and Foresight. The group follows trends to make recommendations for Nokia’s product development. She is an ethnographer by trade and now works in foresighting, which looks at identifying, tracking and responding to change.

Babak Davarpanah is a geographer and planner focussing on East London, and specifically the local and global impact of big urban screens. He is also leading the SMARTlab stake within the Well London project and has an interest in 2012 and the Olympiad.

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