News

30 March 2015: i++ School Newsletter

Hack the Brain Hackathon 

Ana and Davide
Davide Valeriani and Ana Matran-Fernandez, PhD students from our Brain-Computer Interfaces group, recently took part in Hack the Brain, the first UK Hackathon dedicated to projects that aim to expand, enhance and augment the mind and the senses.  Hack the Brain took place as part of the EU-funded NERRI Project, which is dedicated to facilitating societal dialogue and public engagement with neuro-enhancement technologies.
 
They teamed up with a CS UG student from Cambridge University and an UX designer from London to build WinkIt, an app to control the smartphone by means of eye winks.  They used the openBCI platform to record neural data from two electrodes and, from that, identify right and left eye winks from the user.  These states could then be mapped with different actions to control the music player on the smartphone: For example, change the song with a left eye wink and pause the player by winking the right eye.
 
After 24 hours of development, they successfully built a working prototype.  The final judging panel, composed by experts from academia and industry, awarded WinkIt with the London Science Museum award, which included an invitation to showcase their project to the "You Have Been Upgraded" festival (25, 27-29 March).  WinkIt will soon be released on the Google Play Store.
 
WinkIt has been featured in two articles on the web: IDG Connect – The UK’s first ‘Hack the Brain’ event and Inside a Brain Hackathon: Hacking Brain Waves to Extend the Mind | Motherboard
 
If you, like Davide, cannot wink an eye, do not worry: future features include free-of-winks brain control of the app!  Stay tuned for these and more on Twitter @Wink_It and in Davide's and Ana's Twitter accounts.

Best Demo Award for SIGNAL

Udo Kruschwitz and Miguel Martinez-Alvarez with Signal interns  Steven Zimmerman and Colin Wilkie. Copyright: Gabriella Kazai
The KTP project between Signal and CSEE has just resulted in another award.  The demo entitled "Signal: Advanced Real-Time Information Filtering" by Miguel Martinez-Alvarez, Udo Kruschwitz, Wesley Hall, and Massimo Poesio has won the Best Demo Award at the prestigious European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2015).  The 37th ECIR is currently held in Vienna with about 250 information retrieval researchers from both academia and industry attending and there will be another presentation by Miguel at ECIR Industry Day.  Miguel has already won the Business Leader of the Future Award in November and is now Head of Research at Signal.
 
More exciting news comes from Signal that has just announced that it has raised $1.8m growth capital from top tier investors. The story has been picked up by Techcrunch and more details can be found on Signal's homepage.  Signal already has a number of customers, among them Jamie Oliver whose Food Revolution Daily site is powered by Signal's market intelligence, media monitoring and information discovery software platform.
 
There will be more news on our successful collaboration with Signal in future issues of i++!
 
old office Sign
National Video Game Arcade
 
Professor Richard Bartle was recently a special guest at the formal opening of the National Video Game Arcade in Nottingham.  He presented the organisers with an old office sign for their exhibition entitled "A History of Games in 100 Objects", with which they were inexplicably delighted.
 
Fortunately, the exhibition was not limited to video games, as Professor Bartle's main contribution to the industry came at a time before games had video.
 
PhD Successes
 
Ahmad Alhindi has passed his PhD, subject to minor corrections. The title of Ahmad’s thesis is “Combining MORA/D with Local Search”. He was supervised firstly by Qingfu Zhang, then Edward Tsang. He was examined by Qian Shen (University of Aberystwyth) and Martin Reed.
 
Bander Alzahrani
Bander Ahmad Alzahrani has passed his PhD, subject to editorial corrections. The thesis title is
''Securing the Forwarding Plane of Mediated Information Centric Networks''. It investigates the security and scalability aspects of a clean-slate designed information centric network.  The study aims to secure the forwarding plain against different type of attacks including Distributed Denial of Service and Brute-force attacks, by proposing highly-resistant forwarding approaches.  In addition, the study has investigated the scalability of performing the function of intra-domain routing using a central topology management function.  Bander was supervised by Dr Martin Reed and the internal and external examiners were Dr John Woods and Dr Ning Wang from University of Surrey.  During the course of this research, Bander has published his work extensively in Elsevier, IEEE and ACM conferences and journals.
 
Forthcoming Seminars
 
The next seminar will be:
 
Wednesday 15th April @ 4.00pm - Speaker: John Levine, Strathclyde University
 
Details on this, previous and future seminars can be found here

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