Yesterday's ALAN event was a great meet up. I bumped into someone whom I had met at this year's Pint of Science who has offered to share her knowledge on preventing dementia, showing that going to these different events is really a good idea! I also had the chance to meet other people interested in my work who had good advice for starting the project. All in all, I feel like it was a successful evening for networking and sharing my research project with other academics and local businesses from Bath, Bristol, and elsewhere nearby.
The talks were all very interesting, and you can catch up with the presentations on the ALAN web page. Scroll down for an overview of the points that stuck out for me.
Paul O'Collins gave an overview of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and how they can support businesses to grow in the UK, Europe, and beyond. There are lots of funding opportunities for innovative designs and technologies, and the EEN can help access these. The network spans 60 countries, so if you are looking to expand to one in which the EEN is active, getting in touch with the EEN in that country could be a good place to get going. Check out the details in the presentation and on their website.
James Bilzon (Department of Health) and Darren Cosker (Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA)) from the University of Bath showed various examples of the research carried out there. Some examples include gait analysis for athletes as well as imaging for creating custom-made prostheses for lower-limb amputees. One of my favourite examples is how Exergaming (exercise + gaming) can improve performance and enjoyment of high-intensity training. CAMERA are always sharing updates on their Twitter page, so go and follow them to keep up-to-date with their research.
Zack Lyons, a final-year EngD student, presented his work on using virtual reality (VR) for rehabilitation of people with acquired brain injury. Asking people to perform certain tasks related to the executive function of the brain helps therapists assess patients' abilities. Doing this in a real world environment can be expensive and sometimes dangerous, so using a virtual world allows therapists to do this in a safe space. For example, some of the 'characters' in the virtual world are purposely designed to be unhelpful, which is meant to determine the reaction of patients to this difficult situation. Get in touch with Zack if you have any questions!
I gave my presentation at the end of the talks as an introduction to my research project. One of the notable questions I received afterwards was whether or not we plan to incorporate smell in our work, since smell and memory have been shown to be strongly linked. This has come up a few times over the past week so it will definitely be something to consider in the literature review stages over the first few months of the project. However, it is important to keep in mind that people's sense of smell can deteriorate with age so, if we do include it, then it should be an additional component and not the main feature.
Until Next Time
The next ALAN event will be in November. Keep checking the ALAN web page for details, or sign up to the mailing lists to get updated automatically. Hope to see you there!