Open Labs – Pilot Project

Open Labs is an exciting new project where you will be able to remotely control a robot in a university laboratory from your own computer or laptop. You can then experience the inner workings of the lab through the ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ of the robot that you are operating. Through this immersive experience, you will have an understanding and appreciation of what happens inside university lab spaces. We want people to understand that university labs are open to everyone and by using simple technology at home or school, we can open up areas that may previously have seemed inaccessible. 

Participants:

We are interested in recruiting people who would like to be involved in this project as the remote operators of the robots. There is no particular skill set required for this event. This opportunity is open to all; if you represent a school then this is suitable for all school year groups, any subject group, all pupils, SEND students and extra-curricular classes (coding club, etc.). We are also keen to access home schoolers as we feel this group are under-represented and possibly don’t get opportunities to access outreach programs such as this. 

We are also keen to recruit adult groups to this project including those who may feel that they have previously been unable to access these spaces; participants with physical, sensory or cognitive impairments are welcomed. 

Hosting requirements re: Access:

For the user – The hosting school/college or library needs to provide a computer with internet access. Through your computer browser, we will be able to provide access to the robot in the lab and by using simple keystrokes on your keyboard, the user will be able to remotely control the robot. The images that you see through your computer screen will be through the ‘eyes’ of the robot. The sounds that you can hear through your microphones will be from the ‘ears’ of the robot, providing an immersive experience.

For the participants – for the other members of your group who will not be operating the robot, we will provide a livestream of the event that you can watch via another computer (or your school whiteboard) so that the rest of the group can also see what is happening in the lab (their view will be from a static camera which will be recording the movements from outside of the robot)

Event:

We are aiming to run these events from January – March 2022 as part of a pilot project. They will be run during the school day (after school can be accommodated for coding clubs, etc.)

The event itself will be 2 – 3 hours maximum. With a minimum of 15 people and a maximum of 25 (30 for school groups). Each user will be accessing the robot for approx. 10 minutes. This will allow them a period of time to access the robot through the browser and familiarise themselves with the controls. We will then provide an engaging event so that the user can move the robot around the lab (in past iterations of this event we have asked users to manoeuvre the robot around an obstacle course / maze). We will tailor this part of the event depending on the age range of the students. 

Please feel free to contact me for further information and a discussion about what we can offer your school, college or group.


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