Job opportunity: IT Software Architect (fixed term)

precision-acoustics-logoAn exciting opportunity has arisen for an IT Software Architect to join Precision Acoustics in Dorset working on a specialised project.

The role comes with a large development budget and includes the opportunity to undertake a project-focused fully-funded Masters in Research (MRes) degree at Bournemouth University. This is an 18 month fixed term appointment and could lead to the offer of permanent employment.

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Highlights from BU’s Festival of Design and Innovation


A range of gadgets and technological advances designed to make an impact on society were showcased during Bournemouth University’s Festival of Design and Innovation.

The exhibition showcased the work of final year Design, Engineering and Creative Technology students.

This year, displays included a tunnel boring machine for laying cable, an atmospheric respirator, a trailer for use with hovercrafts and a product for treating jaundice in babies.

As part of their projects, students were encouraged to think about market needs, functionality, engineering, sustainability and style when creating their products.

Final year Music and Audio Technology student, Asha Blatherwick, spoke about her product, known as the SenseEgg.

“It’s basically an egg shaped device with loads of sensors that wirelessly communicates with the computer and is aimed at children with special needs. The idea is to provide them with another way to interact with music, rather than just using traditional instruments.

When asked about her inspiration for the creation, Asha said, “I did my placement in a special needs school so I think my inspiration came from that. I wanted to find a way to make it easier for students and teachers to communicate. The Festival has provided a good platform for lots of different people to see the product and interact with it.”

Alongside technology like the SenseEgg, were games reminiscent of Pokémon. Static Games Gameplay Programmer, Ryan Pinfield, spoke of his team’s contribution to the Festival – Mendel’s Farm.

“I’m part of a team of seven Games Technology students on our placement year at BU. We are a new company, just started in July 2013, which makes video games and is also client based as well.

“Our game is a resource management game that puts the player in charge of a failing farm. Their task is to keep the farm afloat, but there is a twist in that the animals can breathe fire or have other such mutant powers.

“As you progress through the levels, you unlock more mutations. We’ve been working on it for a year now and it is constantly updating. Hopefully the game will be released by the end of the year and we are looking forward to people’s responses.”

Speaking about the festival and the opportunity it provides students like Asha and Ryan, Professor Jim Roach, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, said, “The Festival of Design and Innovation is where education meets industry and commerce, providing a showcase for our students’ skills in design and innovation. We take great pride in the quality of the project work and the ability of our students to employ the latest technology in the design of solutions to real problems.

“Many of the projects are the direct result of industrial collaboration, a successful placement year or are linked to one of our research centres. It is great to see our students working on a huge range of exciting, innovative and creative projects.”

Festival of Design and Innovation returns for 2014


Bournemouth University’s (BU) Festival of Design and Innovation returns in 2014 to celebrate the creativity of designs and prototypes created by students.

The annual Festival, which takes place from 20-23 June 2014, is an exhibition of final year projects by Design, Engineering and Creative Technology students. Students are encouraged to create designs and prototypes of their inventions and creations for display during the Festival.

This year, displays include a tunnel boring machine for laying cable, an atmospheric respirator, a trailer for use with hovercrafts and a product for treating jaundice in babies.

Students are encouraged to think about market need, function, engineering, sustainability and style when creating their product – to come up with something that is instantly usable and marketable to a wide audience.

Professor Jim Roach, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, said, “The Festival of Design and Innovation is where education meets industry and commerce, providing a showcase for our students’ skills in design and innovation.

“We take great pride in the quality of the project work and the ability of our students to employ the latest technology in the design of solutions to real problems. Many of the projects are the direct result of industrial collaboration, a successful placement year or are linked to one of our research centres. It is great to see our students working on a huge range of exciting, innovative and creative projects.”

Admission to the Festival is free and members of the public are encouraged to come along and have a look at the displays, engage with the student inventors and enjoy their work. Free tickets can be gained through the Festival’s website, where you will also find more information about some of the projects being displayed this year.

Previous Festival designs have gone on to be mass produced and sold in the UK – one such example is the Quick-Pitch pop-up tent, often called the ‘Festival tent’ for its ease of use, which was originally picked up by camping brand Gelert at the Festival of Design and Innovation.

The Festival takes place on Friday 20 June, Saturday 21 June and Monday 23 June, opening at 10am and closing at 4pm.

Explainer: how do cyclists reach super fast speeds?

By Bryce Dyer, Senior Lecturer in Product Design, Faculty of Science & Technology

Even though spoked wheels and pneumatic tyres were invented in the 1880s, bicycle design hasn’t really changed a great deal in the time since – at least, at face value. However, look closer and around a hundred years of research or development has taken the humble bicycle from boneshaker to a speed machine.

The basics

Karl von Drais in the days before lycra.

A modern bicycle is still made up of a double diamond shaped frame, two wheels with air-inflated tyres and a chain-based drivetrain – the mechanism through which the whole system runs. Though we’ve stuck to the basics, man and his machine have increased in speed from the 14.5 km per hour reportedly achieved by Karl von Drais in 1817 to a mind-blowing 55km in a Tour de France time trial nearly 200 years later.

The ability to improve speed on a bicycle comes down to two fundamental factors: you either increase the power that propels the rider forwards or you decrease the resistant forces that are holding that rider back.

The rider’s ability to produce power is generally down to their physiology and biomechanics. The resistant forces that slow a cyclist are mainly air resistance, total mass and any frictional losses, such as the drivetrain or the rolling resistance of the wheels against the ground. If every athlete has an equal chance of winning the challenge for engineers and scientists then is to focus on the technology the cyclist uses to obtain a competitive advantage.

The trouble with air

It has been demonstrated that once a cyclist travelling outdoors gets past speeds of 25 miles per hour, around 90% of the force holding them back will be air resistance. But the relationship between speed and air resistance is not a linear one. It can, for example, take twice as much human power to ride a bicycle at 30 miles an hour as it does at 20 miles an hour.

As a result, reducing air resistance has become a top priority in professional cycling technology in recent times. At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Team GB’s track riders were using bikes, helmets and clothing solely designed to help contribute to the optimisation of each rider’s aerodynamics. Team principal, David Brailsford, has referred to this process as the “aggregation of marginal gains”.

To achieve this, wind tunnels are now used by both professional and amateur athletes to analyse the aerodynamic drag, then work out how to get the rider and machine working together optimally. There is a complication in this process, though, in that the best aerodynamic solution is typically specific to every rider, so each needs to make individual choices about their helmet and bicycle and especially their riding position.

The second problem is that wind tunnels are few and far between and are by no means cheap to access. Thankfully, alternatives for those without an Olympic-sized budget are emerging. You can now use computational fluid dynamic software which can be, in essence, a virtual wind tunnel. This software allows an engineer to simulate a variety of air flow conditions on a new bicycle design, therefore cutting down the time and costs of prototyping and testing. There is now also published research which allows riders to assess their aerodynamics out in the field rather than in a wind tunnel.

Ermargerd! I love this helmet!
EPA/Ian Langsdon

Mark Cavendish famously won his Tour de France stages and world title in 2011 wearing a skin suit and an aerodynamic helmet while the majority of his competitors were still wearing baggier jerseys and heavily vented helmets. Team GB had realised that even though a rider may be sheltered by 200 others during a road stage, when Cavendish sprints for the finish line, he is alone in undisturbed air for around 200 metres at speeds well above 40 miles an hour. Every small advantage at this point converts into winning millimetres.

Tinkering with the tech

Racing bicycles themselves have been subject to a tremendous amount of aerodynamic refinement over the last five years. Braking systems have been positioned so as to be sheltered from the main airflow and gear cables are now run on the inside of the frame. Wheel designs have not only improved in reducing aerodynamic drag, but are now being optimised to provide benefits such as increased rider stability from crosswinds. Innovations like these have traditionally been directed towards making better bikes for either time trials or triathlons but is now spreading towards the road bikes used in mass start racing.

The mechanical properties of the racing bicycle have also evolved. Like computational fluid dynamic software, finite element analysis allows us to optimise the design of bike components to simulate the stresses and strains that they will face when in use. This has allowed us to develop composite frames that weigh as little as 800g but are still stiff enough to sprint for a stage win and comfortable enough to be ridden for five hours or more, day after day.

Even the humble gear derailleur, relatively unchanged in principle since its original invention in 1951 has lately begun to shape shift. The most advanced systems are now electronically powered and triggered. This has allowed for smooth gear changes requiring only thin wires and a small battery as opposed to having a frame design compromised by the limitations of needing cable runs for mechanically actuated gears.

All these improvements have enabled us to morph the humble bicycle into a speed machine without tampering with its basic design. So where does this all lead next? In competitive sport, the technology is typically regulated by its governing body. In the case of cycling, this means that the equipment is currently limited in both its size, nature and weight, so we are more likely to see more incremental improvements than a radical shift away from the bikes we use now.

The average leisure cyclist is not limited by such constraints allowing us to benefit from any level of innovation. For example, if you look at bicycle land-speed records, recumbent cycles – which are unique in the way they position the rider lying down – can move at far higher speeds than a conventional bicycle. And for enthusiastic amateurs, new bicycle designs are continuing to become lighter, faster and ultimately more efficient. Anything could happen.

The Conversation

Bryce Dyer does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Dyson visit BU engineering students

The James Dyson Foundation visited Bournemouth University and gave students a unique insight into the daily operations at Dyson.

Kristian King, graduate design engineer at Dyson led the talk discussing sketching, prototyping, manufacturing and other areas of their design process.

King said, “The main aim of today is to show students what it’s like to work for Dyson and what it takes to design a product of high performance.”

After the talk the Dyson team held a workshop where students were set a design challenge. “Students will design a product that uses a motor to suck or blow air. It gets young engineers thinking outside the box and gets them to feel like they’re working at Dyson,” said King.

“The reason we came to Bournemouth is because we know they have a high calibre of engineers. We also hope to encourage [today’s] first year students to consider Dyson in future.”

The James Dyson Foundation awards scholarships to university students studying science, technology, engineering, product design or maths.

Ross James, a fourth year student on the Design Engineering course at BU was recently awarded one of these bursaries. The bursaries are worth £1000 funding to build prototype products as part of their course. “It’s really good because prototype costs can be expensive for us as students,” said James.

For more information about the scholarships visit the James Dyson Foundation website.

Centre for Digital Entertainment has funding renewed


The Centre for Digital Entertainment, jointly run by Bournemouth University and the University of Bath, has received funding for the next eight years.

The multi-million pound grant, from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), was announced today by the Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts.

It will fund another 50 doctoral students at the Centre for Digital Entertainment, which creates innovative funded research and development projects for the games, animation, VFX, simulation and cultural industries.

It embeds doctoral researchers into companies where they work on research and development projects, studying for an Engineering Doctorate while contributing positively to the industry in which they are working.

Professor Jian Jun Zhang, co-founder of The Centre for Digital Entertainment and Professor of Computer Graphics at BU, said: “I am thrilled to learn that our proposal to extend our Centre for Digital Entertainment has been funded by the EPSRC.

“Working with the University of Bath, this multimillion pound grant will allow us to produce another 50 doctoral students for the UK’s creative industry which urgently needs high-skilled people for this fast growing sector.

“We have already taken 50 students and have established strong relationships with more than 30 companies, including many world leading players, such as Sony, Electronic Arts and Double Negative.”

Students at the Centre for Digital Entertainment spend around 75 per cent of their time working in industry, where they are faced by the real problems experienced by professionals in the sector and contribute to the development of solutions.

“We forge a special three-way relationship by bringing together two world-class academic teams, a large number of world-class companies and top-quality doctoral students,” said Professor Zhang.

“Our mission is to develop next generation of technical leaders for the computer animation, games and visual effects industry.”

The funding from the EPSRC is part of £350 million that will be spent on postgraduate learning at Centres for Doctoral Training, focusing on key areas of engineering and the physical sciences that are vital to economic growth.

Science Minister David Willetts said: “I am particularly pleased to see strong partnerships between universities, industry and business among the new centres announced today.

“This type of collaboration is a key element of our industrial strategy and will continue to keep us at the forefront of the global science race.”

Find out more about the Centre for Digital Entertainment

Future BU student in The Guardian on clearing experience

Future BU student Rohan Advani spoke to The Guardian about his experiences with applying to university through Clearing.

When Rohan Advani didn’t get the top grades he needed to get into medical school and follow in his grandmother’s footsteps to become a doctor, he was initially a little troubled. “On results day, I was devastated,” he said, ” I didn’t get my first choice or my insurance offer. It seemed that being a doctor was out of the question”.

After reconsidering, Advani called Bournemouth University and applied to study through Clearing and is now happy to start an engineering degree in September.

“I love my course, its brilliant. I have been given a second chance to move into a good career with decent prospects and I can still study medicine if I want to through a postgraduate medical degree”, he added

Dean Eastmond

Dean is a student at Budmouth College in Weymouth, who is working at Bournemouth University in the Press and PR Department. He joined BU on a Sir Samuel Mico Scholarship, which provides 10 students from his college with essential work experience for four weeks over the summer.

Bryce Dyer to be honoured at British Science Festival


Bryce Dyer, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at Bournemouth Univesity, has been selected for the prestigious honour of delivering an Award Lecture, at the 2013 British Science Festival, which will be taking place in Newcastle from 7-12 September.

Bryce Dyer will deliver the Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award Lecture, and joins the ranks of previous award lecturers such as Professor Brian Cox, Professor Richard Wiseman, and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

Each year, five academics from across the UK are selected to take part in the Award Lecture series, with each lecture encompassing a different area of science.

The Isambard Kingdom Brunel Award focuses on the fields of engineering, technology and industry. Mr Dyer will present “Prosthesis, disability and the role of technology in elite sport”.

The lecture will reveal the colourful history of limb prostheses, and progress into how they have been engineered to not only complete, but also to compete in physical challenges today.

Mr Dyer will examine the controversy surrounding the use of such technology in competitive sport, following the debates off the back the London 2012 Games, and look at what could be done to address such problems in the future.

Finally, the lecture will examine how such technology attempts to restore the function of amputated limbs to people like elite athletes or the armed forces and ultimately how such innovations may change the face of both disability and sport as we currently recognise it in the very near future.

The British Science Festival is one of Europe’s largest celebrations of science, engineering and technology, with over 250 events, activities, exhibitions and trips taking place over a week in September, in a different location every year.

The programme of events offers something for everyone, with activities for families and schools groups, teens, adults, and stimulating debate for anyone interested in the latest research.

Mr Dyer said, “I am delighted to have this opportunity, and am looking forward to presenting this research. The British Science Festival is a unique opportunity to share scientific findings with the public, and it is an honour to be selected to give the Award Lecture.”