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OpenMinds Talk: Performing Online Live Experiments 24/7: “An Internet of Laboratory Things”

Updated Thursday, 22nd December 2016

Want to know how the OU’s teaching laboratories are being launched into cyberspace? Join us for our next OpenMinds talk (Tuesday 31st January).

Please note this event has already taken place. However, you can watch a recording of the event above. 

On Tuesday 31 January 2017, 18:30 - 19:30 (BST), OU academics will describe how the OU’s teaching laboratories are being launched into cyberspace, at the next in the series of OpenMinds Talks. These will be held at the Berrill Theatre, The Open University, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

In Performing Online Live Experiments 24/7: “An Internet of Laboratory Things”, Professor Nick Braithwaite, OU Professor of Engineering Physics, will introduce the concept of the OpenSTEM Labs, which will in effect form an “Internet of Laboratory Things” that could be open all hours and available in a real distance learning setting. This is enabling OU students to work at a distance with a range of sophisticated, remote-controlled experiments and robotic apparatus.


Professor Braithwaite will be joined by:

  • Dr Tim Drysdale, Senior Lecturer (Engineering/Electronics), academic lead for the new £2.7M OpenEngineering Lab.
  • Dr Mark Hirst, Senior Lecturer in Biology, who leads the OpenScience Laboratory.
  • Dr Ulrich Kolb, Senior Lecturer, School of Physical Sciences, who established the Faculty’s first robotically controlled telescope, PIRATE, in 2008.

The speakers will take the audience on a journey from the microscale to the vastness of space, with live links to equipment on campus and far away. They will address:

How “practical STEM” works at a distance – the equipment no longer needs to be in the same place as the learner or the educator
How forensics investigations and materials analysis can be conducted from afar through keyboards and screens
How to share the thrill of real time observing of the night sky and how to do it collaboratively without colocation
How professional engineers and scientists might benefit from online access to instrumentation for training and development

For almost half a century The Open University 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.

“Performing Online Live Experiments 24/7: “An Internet of Laboratory Things” is about the OU’s new approach to enabling students to do practical work 24/7,“ said Professor Braithwaite.

If you are attending the event in person there will be networking, discussion opportunities and refreshments after the event.

If you would like to attend, please register here.  If you are unable to join us on campus perhaps you will be able to join the livestream broadcast from the lecture theatre.  Please connect to our Facebook Event page for further information on the event, updates and links on the night.

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