(OU) OpenMinds Talk

Performing Online Live Experiments 24/7: An Internet of Laboratory Things

This event took place on 31st January 2017 at 6:30pm (18:30 GMT)
Berrill Lecture Theatre, The Open University, Walton Hall Campus, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

How do OU students work at a distance with sophisticated, remote controlled experiments and robotic apparatus? How do we create an "Internet of Laboratory Things" that can be accessed 24/7 wherever you are located? How does the OU locate its labs in cyberspace?

These are just some of the questions our next (OU) OpenMinds Talk will look to answer.

The event will be presented by the OpenSTEM labs trail-blazers from the OU's Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. For almost half a century the OU has championed the application of technology to enhance learning. It is now in the commissioning phase of a £5.4 million initiative to develop the OpenSTEM Labs concept further.

Our speakers will take us on a journey from the microscale to the vastness of space, with live links to equipment on campus and far away:

Nicholas Braithwaite, Professor of Engineering Physics, School of Physical Sciencesled the development of the award winning OpenScience Laboratory, an initiative of The Open University and The Wolfson Foundation, which laid the foundations for The OpenSTEM Labs. Nicholas has directed the STEM faculty’s centre for STEM pedagogy (eSTEeM) and is currently Associate Dean for Academic Excellence and Director of the OpenSTEM Labs.

Dr Tim Drysdale, Senior Lecturer (Engineering/Electronics), School of Engineering & Innovationis academic lead for the new £2.7M OpenEngineering Lab. Tim is pioneering the development of peer-to-peer video techniques to give instant lag-free interaction with remote laboratory equipment, from a web browser, anywhere in the world, without having to download any software.

Dr Mark Hirst, Senior Lecturer in Biology, School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciencesleads the OpenScience Laboratory. Mark has developed a range of new analytical tools and is now busy integrating them into our distance learning curriculum for Chemistry and the Life Sciences. Mark has also been developing new ways to engage students in real time interactive ‘Labcasts’ involving experiments streamed live from our on-campus Studio-lab, over the internet.

Dr Ulrich Kolb, Senior Lecturer, School of Physical Sciencesestablished the Faculty’s first robotically controlled telescope, PIRATE, in 2008. This telescope has now been upgraded and relocated to the Mount Teide observatory on Tenerife, from where it has just been used in the physics and astronomy undergraduate curriculum in Oct/Nov 2016. The school has added a second telescope at this location (COAST) which will provide a fully autonomous imaging service for OU students and public subscribers. These two telescopes along with a robotic radio telescope.

Event programme:

18.30 Talk commences

19:15  Q&A session

19:30  Drinks reception and networking opportunity

20:30  Departure

The talk will also be streamed live on OpenLearn with the subsequent recording being made available on the same page.


The webcast was open to 500 users



(55 minutes)