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South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT)

Cutting-edge technology arrives at the SWIoT Building

Work on the South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT) Centre is now drawing to a close. As part of the upgrade to our facilities, our new SWIoT Centre will see a suite of new technology introduced for teaching and research purposes.

Our investment in this cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology will give our students and academic colleagues greater opportunities to extend their world-class research to the forefront of computer science, robotics and artificial intelligence.

This includes brand new mobile robots, on tracks and wheels, which will be used in an Artificial Intelligence (AI) arena, so that our students and researchers can learn how to control them and use them for advanced problem-solving. In addition to the robotic technology, a significant investment has been made in cameras, which will be stationed around the perimeter of the AI arena, and are essential for the study of machine vision and image processing. Multi-sensory robots and cooperative robotic arms are also included in this impressive package.

The robotic capabilities are driven by the use of Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), which work hundreds of times faster than traditional processing units, and will be able to move millions of pieces of data. This is a major development in computer science teaching at the University.

We’ve also invested in robust and cutting-edge AV equipment, so we can offer students a hybrid teaching approach and give options to learners both on-site and working remotely. The equipment will give an immersive experience to learners working off-site, by making them feel part of the lecture in a “360” experience, so that they can interact with academics and peers, use in-room screens, and fully participate in activities. The new equipment will offer a seamless way to teach and collaborate across the world. Academic colleagues will receive full training on this equipment, which offers a big step up in delivery and enhances the education and experience we offer to our students.

This new technology will support a significant curriculum, with modules including machine learning, nature-inspired learning, machine vision, artificial intelligence, multi-object optimisation, data science, and many others. The technology available at the SWIoT Centre means that students will have the chance to use robots, in conjunction with the perimeter cameras, to learn more about how robots recognise and react to objects, how they can navigate direction, and how they make decisions to solve real-world problems.

The SWIoT Centre is part-funded by the Department for Education and, along with investment from the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, brings cutting-edge technology and world-class computational learning to the South West, and provides limitless opportunities for researchers to explore how we can harness the significant power of robotics and machines to solve some pressing problems, as we move further into the 21st century.