Imperial College London

Researchers Electrify Imperial Festival


Bulat Khusainov

Bulat Khusainov demonstrating how computers help us control the physical world.

Imperial College's 5th Festival saw thousands of visitors flocking to South Kensington to experience the best in science and arts at the College.

The Department were involved in five stands at the Festival last weekend exhibiting a real variety of subjects.

Dr Eric Kerrigan, Professor George Constantinides and Bulat Khusainov from the Control and Power, Circuits and Systems groups demonstrated how computers help us control the physical world by getting participants to manipulate a gantry overhead crane with and without a computer, and then discuss the differences using the computer made.  Approximately 1,000 people participated in the activity and roughly half of them (mostly children) tried playing with the crane. 


Busy on the Ecosytem stand

Dr Dan Goodman from Intelligent Systems and Networks with Dr Samraat Pawar from the Department of Life Sciences led a team which asked visitors to “play Jenga with an Earth Ecosystem – to see how fast can you rebuild a functional ecosystem in an ever-changing world using a biodiversity toolbox.’ Around 600 attendees visited the stand over the two days, and a video filmed by Imperial College for Facebook interviewing Dan and Samraat about the activity and their research received 3000+ views. Check out the video here.

Drs Caitríona Sheridan and Michael Merlin who are with the Control and Power group and the Energy Futures Lab explained to visitors how DC technology brings megawatts of sustainable energy such as offshore wind generation to our homes from hundreds of kilometres away. Approximately 500 people stopped by to discuss power transmission, and many more children tried their best to generate electricity using the hand generator. Michael  says: ‘The Festival went really well and we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience of interacting with the public, sharing our passion for research and discussing some of the underlying motives behind our research topics.’

Professor Bob Spence and Dr Mark Witkowski and their team from the Circuits and Systems group tested perception skills with a simulated urban search mission with their topic ‘Searching and Seeing - now you see it! “ Mark says ‘it was very busy at times, but a most enjoyable event all round. It all went very smoothly, very well organised. One thing we could have done differently - more Haribo packets for the younger visitor, they proved even more popular than we expected.’


Hand recogition software in use

Dr T-K Kim and colleagues from Intelligent Systems and Networks demonstrated their hand gesture recognition software which they have developed.  An example of their work can be viewed on YouTube.  Again, this group had a very busy time at the Festival with about 500 visitors.


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Emma Rainbow

Emma Rainbow
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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