Welcoming Cohort 4

20 September 2017


To welcome our fourth cohort of researchers we held our induction week in the highlands of Scotland. Representatives from cohorts 1, 2 and 3 also attended to meet the incoming cohort and use the remote and idyllic location for a writing retreat.


The European Safety & Reliability Conference took place from Monday 19th June 2017 to 22nd June 2017 in Portorož, Slovenia. This conference focusses on a wide variety of topics related to safety and reliability. In its 27th iteration this conference attracted many academic and industry delegates from around the world, including numerous delegates from outside the European Union.

The conference was attended by Darius Roman & Ross Dickie from Cohort 3 of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence who presented their paper entitled “A Review of the Role of Prognostics in Predicting the Remaining Useful Life of Assets". This is a paper which highlights case studies from their field of Prognostics and Health Management and illustrates the distinctions between data-driven and model-based prognostics and discusses the blending of these approaches through so-called fusion prognostic methods. Their work uses the case studies to highlight features of these distinct prognostic methods.

The work was presented in the afternoon of the first day of the conference as the first presentation in the afternoon parallel session “Prognostics & Health Management 2", as a review paper this provided a good framing and context for the work subsequent presentations within the session.
The experience at ESREL gave Darius and Ross an opportunity not only to showcase their work in an international setting, first-hand but also the opportunity to gain exposure across both the industrial and academic worlds due to the mixing provided in this conference. The conference also provided the researchers an opportunity to learn about cutting edge work in their field and discuss their work with a diverse group of delegates within the conference.


BioMIM Expo

22 August 2017

Prof. Marc Desmulliez, HWU ex-CDT-EI Director and supervisor of several CDT-EI students, gave an invited talk at the latest BioMIM Expo at Senlis in July 2017. It was the first time in his 25 years as an academic that Marc presented a technical talk in French, his mother tongue.

The Conference, one of the few in the world devoted exclusively to biomimetics and nature-inspired engineering, was attended by over 1,000 people and combined scientific talk, exhibitions as well as presentations for the general public.

“It was quite a daunting experience for me, said Marc, as I had to look for French technical words in my dictionary. I never used French in the past to present my work. The format of the Conference was quite new but worked perfectly as there is an inherent affinity of the public for all things related to Nature.”

The talk was devoted to the latest advances made by his research group towards the 3D printing of multi-materials using green chemistry. The £1M EPSRC research is funded under the “Manufacturing with Light” programme, and is in collaboration with Dr Robert Kay’s research group, formally from Loughborough University, now at Leeds University.

The talk can be downloaded in YouTube at the following link  https://youtu.be/yBEJuBLte0w alongside all presentations made in 2017 and 2016.

Article by Cohort 2 researcher Rhys Comissiong

Since my Undergraduate studies I have worked for Exscitec, a STEM education outreach company based in Petersfield. During the summers, I would work as an academic mentor assisting in the delivery of fun based scientific activities in physics, maths, engineering and robotics for students aged 9 to 17 years old. This summer I had the opportunity to deliver a summer school at Uppingham School for the week of 17th to 21st July. The subject of the week was Engineering Intelligence which involved using the power of modern computing to create innovative solutions for engineering projects.

Traditionally, we focussed on mechanical engineering projects using a robotics kit called Assemblr (produced by Richard Palfrey, Business Development Officer for Exscitec). For this week, we integrated Arduino-based sensors with the mechanical actuation. We taught subjects including basic C programming, electronics, microcontrollers and basic principles of computer architecture. The students then had an opportunity to put these ideas together to build robots including autonomous vehicles with obstacle avoidance.

Another element of the week was using my experiences of CDT EI to explain how the digital economy is shaping the world of tomorrow and what kind of challenges we have to face in the work place and in society. Talks on future technologies, internet of things and industry 4.0 underpinned the relevance of why it’s important to learn the skills of the week and what potential careers are out there. At the end of the week the students presented their work to the rest of the summer school students on the other subject strands and their parents. It was great to see how much they learned.

It was particularly rewarding to see how the students took the knowledge and turned it into creative ideas. The fact they were able to gain keen insight into what you can do with STEM subjects led to many students stating that they were now keen to work on their own projects. I personally got to learn how to tailor technical information to range of abilities, a skill I will apply when explaining my own work to my company sponsor and at presentations. I also got to work on my teaching abilities which I will put into practice in the tutorials I assist with the Automotive and Aeronautical Engineering undergraduates.



Cohort 3 researcher Gergely Hantos describes the 4th Annual Workshop and Exhibition  MEMS Testing & Reliability  he recently attended in Santa Clara, California, in the heart of the Silicon Valley. The workshop was aimed at CEOs, CTOs, VPs and engineers working in the field of MEMS test and reliability.

MEMS are Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems. They are similar to integrated circuits in the field of microelectronics, however MEMS have moving parts. Due to the difficult and complicated fabrication process, they are not standardised, every MEMS device is custom made. MEMS can be accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones, pressure sensors, infrared sensors etc…MEMS can be found in most of our daily appliances. They are present in various fields from automotive industry (airbag sensors) to handheld devices (mobile phone gyroscopes). As MEMS play a critical role in some devices, their reliability is highly important. Just imagine an airbag with a faulty sensor or someone dialling 911 with a faulty microphone.

By attending the workshop I was hoping to get to know the state of the art test methods and current trends in MEMS testing especially in the field of MEMS microphones. There were two presentations focusing on microphones, which I found highly related to my project. I was able to get a better understanding of failure modes of MEMS microphones and the current test methods. There was also a presentation from Allyson Hartzell, Veryst Engineering, who works in the MEMS reliability industry nearly since its beginning. I have read one of her books and encountered a lot of her work during my literature review so it was real pleasure to hear from her in person.  Alongside Allyson,  Richard Chrusciel from FocusTest, was responsible for opening and closing the presentation session and both gave a very good general overview of the field of MEMS testing with current trends indicated.

The MEMS community is fairly small and very friendly; I came away with many new contacts including some of the presenters and with people from companies working with MEMS microphones (Bose, Bosch etc...).

Overall, I enjoyed my three day; it was my first time not only in California, but in the USA as well. I was also able to spend some time with my colleagues (Ruben and Christos) in San Francisco who were attending a conference. We even managed a bit of sightseeing!


Living Machines 2017

14 August 2017

The 6th international conference biomimetic and biohybrid systems, called 'Living Machines', was held this year at Stanford University in California. Christos Kouppas (cohort 3) and Ruben Kruiper (cohort 2) attended to present their work on bio-inspired robotics and computer-aided biomimetics respectively. The conference started with several workshops on the 25th of July, addressing topics such as unmanned aerial vehicles and simulating evolution-and-development mechanisms. The conference was held over 3 days and finished with several lab-visits at the University of California, Berkeley.

During the conference Christos presented work on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in a 20 minutes oral presentation. Christos had create a novel sensor for airflow around UAVs and he designed a feedforward-feedback controller to demonstrate the performance capabilities of the sensor. The full paper can be found on ResearchGate.


 Ruben presented a poster on Computer-Aided Biomimetics - the use of computational tools in support of bio-inspired design. Such tools aim to support the identification and selection of biological information that is relevant to an engineering problem, as well as helping to understand and transfer biological information to an engineering context. The paper and poster can be found on ResearchGate.


VISUM summer school

7 August 2017

Cohort 3 research Orange tells us about Visum Summer School 2017.

With CDT-EI’s sponsorship, I attended VISUM summer school from July 7th – 14th in Porto. VISUM stand for Vision Understanding and Machine Intelligence and this summer school aimed to gather PhD, candidates, post-doctoral scholars and researchers from academia and industry with research interests in computer vision and machine learning. VISUM is organized by INESC TEC in the scope of the FourEyes projects.

Summer school included six full days theoretical and practical sessions, one day for social programme and the last day was final demonstration of the projects we have done during the Project Hackathon. Specialists and professors from universities and industries gave us the lessons of the state-of-the-art techniques based on deep learning and computer vision in the morning, and in the afternoon, we had the hand-on sessions with their help.  On the industry day, we had speakers from Facebook, Disney Research etc. They did give us lots of valuable advice and the examples how to turn techniques into real commercial products. Social day was travelling and exploring Porto with the guide of summer school community and it was great chance to meet people who has similar background and common interest.

These 8 days was unforgettable and rich. The techniques I have learnt was extract what I need for my own research. The hand-on sessions built my confidence to apply techniques, which was always a hard thing for me since I didn’t know how to apply them even I understand the theory behind. Practice also makes me understand the theory more. I would strongly recommend this summer school for the people who need deep learning and computer vision knowledge to boost their research.


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