Last term we ran the first #4brightideas challenge, sponsored by Santander Universities, and powered by the Jisc Elevator. Staff and students created short video pitches outlining their technological solutions to improve University Life.
The top 4 ideas each won £250 prize money, had their photos taken collecting a big cheque and then discussed how they would like to proceed. I’m pleased to say each team embraced the opportunity to use an additional £1000 to help build prototypes, undertake user testing and generally progress their ideas.
So here’s what has been happening with the projects over the Summer:
Searchable was a cracking idea from Robert Otim, who wanted a simple mobile accessible way to see which PC’s (particularly those running specialist software, like RHINO3D), were available. In fact Robert wanted a system whereby a PC could be booked, to save disappointment and unnecessary travel. As it turned out Robert’s ideas aligned with a project that was underway, and Robert joined the project team over the summer, and worked on the overall user experience, maps of PCs, branding and publicity materials (which I can’t share as we aren’t ready for launch yet)
The team found Robert’s contributions incredibly useful, and are delighted to have him on-board for the next stage of user testing. Look forward to the service being launched this Autumn term.
Skillex wanted to build a secure site where students could find colleagues with whom to collaborate on studies across disciplines.
The team reviewed a number of possible solutions, including the Groups functions in Office365, and tools mirroring the Facebook model, including Linkedin and other social networks.The team discussed how their needs lined up with the reserach that had taken place earlier in the year to define the functional requirements of a University of Brighton Student Portal, and eventually decided to test a WordPress instance running Buddypress, with the Commons in a Box Collection. The team downloaded and installed locally, investigated the layout, and what options might line up with wider plans.
The Commons in a Box is quite a thing, http://commonsinabox.org/ it’s free software built on the WordPress platform, providing an easy to administer discussion and collaboration platform. We are rolling out a test instance shortly, and the team will then tweak the settings and demonstrate the functionality to assess use of the platform as a learning and teaching collaboration tool.
Now and Next our careers planning tool was discussed with local developers, who suggested a mobile friendly app might be an easier to maintain solution than an app (or apps, one for iOS and one for android) The project has a new name too, Skills on tap uk, and is documenting their progress on https://skillsontapuk.wordpress.com/
3D VR cameras Poppy has set herself the challenge of building a Raspberry pi (a small inexpensive computer ) powered 3D VR scanner.
The University has a small handheld Artec 3D MHT scanning unit at our Grand Parade Digi Hub, as well as a full body scanner which lends itself to fashion and textiles studies. Poppy’s aim is to build something a bit more substantial, and her original plan costed up 20 Raspberry pi’s with camera units, similar to the one shown at the Gronigen Maker Faire.
We’ve investigated the potential of using a whole lot more Rapberry pi zeroes, which cost a quarter of the price of a standard raspberry pi, but no-one has them in stock, and those suppliers who manage to get any are limiting sales to one per customer, they are so popular. Whilst we wait and see if a supplier can be found Poppy has been investigating a portable framework which can hold the devices… I’m hoping it looks like a stargate 🙂
We’ll keep you posted on all the projects as their outputs come online, and will report back on the experiences of the winners.