A winning placement year

Arun receiving his award

Arun Sharma is currently on placement as a junior software engineer at West Control Solutions, and is one of two recipients of the Lancia Consult Award for Excellence in a Computing Placement Year at our school awards ceremony.

We caught up with Arun, a student on our Computer Science (Games) course, to find out more about his placement and life at Brighton.

“I’ve always wanted to explore a degree with an emphasis on games, and Brighton offered me the chance to do so, with the opportunity to transfer from a partner college to the second year of the Computer Science (Games) course here.

Highlights of the course for me include the variety of lecturers and their well-established backgrounds, and the 3D Graphics and Animation and the Intelligent Systems modules. Intelligent Systems not only provided a glimpse into game development but also other real-world applications.

I must also recommend the placement year; regardless of any computing course you apply for. It expands your knowledge, allows you to make new contacts as well as possibly having a job offer at the end of it!

The placement office was absolutely excellent, consistently reviewing and offering improvements to my CV and offering mock interviews and tips. I am currently on placement at West Control Solutions as a junior software engineer. The Computer Systems Architecture module has been invaluable for my placement, giving me a solid understanding hardware basics for computer systems. I have already formulated a final year project using the technologies and programming languages I have acquired on placement.

I plan to use my course to get into the games industry. In addition to this, there is a possibility I may pursue a masters in Software Engineering using this degree as a base.”

Congratulations to Arun on his achievements so far!

Celebrating success

We celebrated some fantastic successes today with our award-winning computing students.

Head of School, John Taylor, introduced the School of Computing Engineering and Mathematics awards ceremony by leading a round of applause and congratulating all our winners.

Congratulations to Beck Rush, Digital Media Development BSc(Hons) and Arun Sharma Computer Science (Games) BSc(Hons)who both received the Lancia Consult Award for Excellence in Computing Placement Year and £500 each. The prize is awarded by a University of Brighton alumnus, the MD of Lancia.

Becky spent her placement year at the BBC, you can read about some of her experiences on this blog, including this post. And Arun worked for West Control Solutions, a local software company. We will be finding out more from Arun about how his placement went, soon.

Rupert Agnew Computer Science BSc(Hons) received the FDM Group Prize, and £250, for the best development project from a final year student completing either the Computer Science BSc(Hons), Computer Science (Games) BSc(Hons) or Software Engineering BSc(Hons). You can find out more about Rupert’s project on the blog, here.

Digital Games Production student, Laura Marquick was the recipient of an award from one of our accrediting bodies, the BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT Project Prize for the best project by a final year undergraduate computing student. Laura’s project explored ways to use the structure, abstraction, and discipline of programming to interpret physiological data from the human body and product unique visual effects that reflect the natural beauty of the body’s biological processes.

Our computing division has strong links with Wired Sussex, and Digital Media student, Jaime Dare, and Digital Games Production student, Scott Jarvis were the recipients of awards from Wired Sussex for the best project for a Digital Media, Digital Media Development and Digital Games Production by a final year student.

The celebrations for our graduating students continued into the afternoon with our school graduation ceremony at the Brighton Centre.

Congratulations and well done everyone!

Prize-winning ‘Home Automation using Raspberry Pi’

Rupert Agnew, studying Computer Science BSc(Hons), has designed ‘Home Automation using Raspberry Pi’, which, among a multitude of uses, will feed your cat when you are away from home.

This final year project has won Rupert a prize from the international IT services company FDM Group.

Rupert Agnew

The system uses the Internet of Things to link hardware and software devices in people’s homes.

He said: “Nowadays almost everybody has a smart phone and almost everybody has a WiFi connection in their home – but how many can control home devices securely from their phone? My project takes advantage of the low cost Pi but shields people from the complexity of programming and piecing it together.

“All peripherals connected to the Pi can be remotely controlled from a mobile, tablet or desktop computer from anywhere in the world. After logging onto the website using their credentials, the user is presented with a dashboard which allows them to interact with their home appliances – door locks, view a webcam stream, control lights, control AC mains plug.

“You can automate your kettle to turn on as you open the front door after a long day at work. When you hear the doorbell, you can view who is at your door, and let them in, all from your phone/tablet. When the temperature drops or reaches a certain temperature, you can control the boiler to meet your needs – you could even open or close a door to let a pet in or out of the house and automatically feed your pet based on a time schedule when you are away from the home.”

Success for MSc student

This post is from James Dunn who has just graduated from our MSc in User Experience Design. 

James Dunn

James Dunn, MSc User Experience Design

Shortly after completing my MSc in User Experience Design I was invited to submit my Major project for the Brighton University Environmental Award, for which I was delighted to receive a ‘highly commended’ recognition.

My project involved the creation of a prototype smartphone App called “Driven”.

It is designed to provide motorists with real-time vehicle telemetry geared around a variety of driving styles, including economic/sustainable motoring. Additionally, it automatically logs journeys, allowing users to build up a picture of their motoring habits over time.

It works by using a small hardware component connected to the car’s diagnostic port to read data from the vehicles systems, and transmit it to a smartphone. The App interprets this data and is presents it to the user via an appropriate interface, the design of which was the focus of the project.

The resulting information can be used to make informed decisions about driving styles, leading to more economical and sustainable behaviour. The project was conceived due to a lack of suitable existing products in the marketplace that offered comparable functionality. It feeds on the desires of users for increased information and data about the way they live their lives, extending from the number of paces they take each day, to the number of miles driven.

Motoring has for a long time been high on the agenda in sustainability conversations, with legislation being passed to encourage new vehicles to reduce their environmental impact. While it can’t force drivers to change their habits, it does provide factual data that can be acted on to reduce carbon emissions and encourage sustainable motoring.

The project was a lot of fun to work on, and concluded an excellent year at the University. Since graduation I have been working as a UX (user experience) Consultant, introducing a user-orientated design process to a software development company based in London.

You can follow me on Twitter @jdworksUX