Friday, 22 June 2012

iLabs, Engineering and Mobile

Yesterday I spent most of the day at our Information School as a member of their Advisory Board. The Sheffield iSchool, as it's recently been rebranded, presented us with an overview of their new developments and research  programmes, including a soon to be launched new degree in Informatics. One of the most interesting developments from my point of view was some refubishments they're doing to create more student centred learning space, like the IC space, and also an iLab. We've been involved in helping them design this, and it consists of small computer rooms with cameras, microphones, one way mirrors, observation spots, eye trackers etc, for research and usability testing of computer applications. Interesting stuff. It was also interesting to see the range of work they do, and how some of it has relevance to what we do. They have experts in information storage and retrieval and knowledge management, and have a number of projects looking at electronic patient record systems, a lot of which is very relevant to some of the work we're doing on electronic document management systems and the creation of student and staff eFiles. A lot of opportunity for working together I think.

This morning we had a departmental meeting - very well attended as usual, and this morning's guest speaker was our Pro Vice Chancellor for Engineering, Professor Mike Hounslow. Mike gave a great overview of what the Faulty of Engineering is about, what its vision is, and some great insights into the sort of research going on. I've worked here for a long time, and it still fascinates me hearing about the research this University carries out. It is inspiring, and makes me proud to work here. Some examples include the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre where they develop faster and better ways to manufacture components including jet engines, the Siemens Wind Power Research Centre where they have developed wind turbines with only one moveable part, and some great developments in heath - including the generation of 3-D virtual models of individual brains to help surgeons practice operations on brain aneurisms.

We also had presentations from two of our staff. First on the growth of mobile technology, of recent mobile developments and how we as a department need to adapt and change to take keep pace with and take advantage of these developments. The second was on our mobile app, campusM and some of the exciting things we doing with it. The app is  soon to be rebranded, renamed and relaunched. Watch this space!

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