On 17th Jan 2020, The Princess Royal visited Ulster University’s Magee campus to officially open the new state-of-the-art Spatial Computing and Neurotechnology Innovation Hub (SCANi-hub).
The SCANi-hub uses cutting edge technology to determine the body and brain’s responses to stress, fatigue, achievement, awareness, error and threats in complex training and performance assessment scenarios simulated in virtual environments. Established by Professor Damien Coyle and Dr Karl McCreadie at the Intelligent Systems Research Centre, the new SCANi-hub will also build on award-winning neurotechnology research at the centre enabling research and education in the next wave of human-computer and human-machine interaction for able-bodied and physically impaired people.
The Princess Royal officially opened the facility which contains multiple mobile wearable EEG headsets, functional near-infrared spectroscopy brain imaging, an advanced car/flight simulator and various new AR and VR spatial computing technologies, vibrotactile stimulation suits and ultrasonic haptic interfaces. Further technologies include those that enable walking in virtual environments (virtual treadmills) as well as a state-of-the-art Smartglass façade to adapt the room for various experimental situations and public engagement activities.
The tour of the Magee campus continued with the Princess Royal meeting with staff and students including Professor Louise Dubras, Foundation Dean of the School of Medicine to discuss how the Graduate Entry Medical School at Magee will provide medical training to help address the skills and workforce challenges felt by the health care sector in Northern Ireland. Nursing students and recent graduates were commended by the Princess Royal for their work in their local communities and the tour concluded with a visit to view the £1.3 million Magee library transformation.
Welcoming The Princess Royal back to the Magee campus, Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon commented:
It is with a great sense of pride that we welcome The Princess Royal today to the Magee campus to officially open the SCANi-hub and meet with our students and staff who are making a significant contribution to the health service and healthcare locally, nationally and internationally. Building on our world-class infrastructure and pioneering scientific research at the Intelligent Systems Research Centre, the SCAN-i hub will equip the next generation of graduates and researchers with the skills and knowledge to merge bio-inspired computing and AI and SCAN technologies to address many research and industry led challenges that help define how humans interact with technology in the future.
SCANi-hub is funded by the Department for the Economy through the Higher Education Research Capital Fund.