Sports Performance Engineering at the World Cup

An exciting finale to our latest ‘Internet of Curious Things’ programme funded by the Engineering Education Grant Scheme.

Carr Manor Community School in Leeds hosted a World Cup themed event to inspire young digital makers, linked through the Year of Engineering initiative and their season of Sport in Engineering.

As an ‘all through’ school, providing an education for children from the age of 4 to 19, their set up is fairly unique and gave opportunities for peer mentoring activities throughout the day alongside paired programming tasks.

Children from Years 5 and 6, and different schools, took part in design challenges to invent new goal line technologies for the tournament. Their focus was on improving football performance and making a difference to a team’s success.

Research centred around data-driven decision making, with global environmental comparisons using the Met Office website. Groups explored the possible effects of weather conditions on players and developed their own solutions to become a football manager’s ‘12th player on the pitch’.

A few more details about the day below, from one of the school’s digital media and liaison teachers, and taken from their internal newsletter:

"Year 5 spent the morning programming environmental sensors on Codebugs to make a humidity detector.

They were set the challenge to invent a new sport technology that would immediately sense the humidity and activate a light based on the reading. This would alert athletes that a break was required and allow them to take in fluids to ensure maximum performance.

Year 5's had a great time exploring how the Internet of Things can connect athletes and make a difference. Some of the Year 5's displayed such great work and ideas that they stayed on as mentors for a Year 6 who were visiting in the afternoon!"

Everyone's an Innovator: Family IOT Hacks

The latest 'Internet of Curious Things' event saw us working with Leeds Libraries to offer families a chance to come along and build digital projects together.

Intergenerational teams gathered at Crossgates Library to explore engineering trade offs and invent fun and creative solutions relevant to them.

inspire an engineer and nicholas eyesight book

Creating projects with a real world relevance started with an environmental theme and ‘smart lantern’ weather stations.

intergenerational digital making projects

From that we focused on engineering new solutions to improve people’s lives and turned our thoughts to tackling air quality problems.

Superhero activities to make the world a better place from the Nicholas Eyesight book by Sotirios Papathanasiou are a great start to understanding the science behind such environmental issues.

boy holding sensor project

What's great about family events are the team challenges that evolve throughout each session. Often personal and building on previous knowledge or experiences, activities here centred around illuminating particular data streams in more complex lighting sequences.

Definitely a collaborative approach needed to code those dazzling light shows!

adults celebrate decreasing data readings with ice!

We always say that everyone can be an innovator, so tools from The Internet of Curious Things are there to inspire adults and children.

And that feeling when you push your project so far because you know what you want it to deliver?

And then you think it might be too ambitious?

And then you test, debug, test and see that it now runs perfectly?

That's possibly summed up by the adults celebrating their ice test above 👏

girl shows LED displaying temperature data from a raspberry pi iot project

The beauty of lotus flowers to explain the science behind air quality issues

What's new?

We've been working on new projects linked to air quality with The Internet of Curious Things.

At the recent Art of Tinkering event, during Leeds Digital Festival, we created a 'Digital Peony' project and started to look at embedding smart sensors into paper craft activities. Those visualisations took temperature, humidity and light data from the workshop space and, using the Envirosense add-on with Codebug, illuminated the paper flowers with strings of LEDs.

collage of paper lotus flowers with LEDs added to visualise environmental data

Why flowers?

Now we’ve taken inspiration from the Japanese lotus flower, known for it’s ability to rise up from a bed of mud each morning and emerge as a flawless and beautiful bloom, to develop latest activities to help everyone understand the science behind air quality.

What's the connection with air quality?

Lotus flowers are said to be resistant to pollution and have a water-purifying function, with symbolism different across numerous cultures where it plays a role.

We’ve used them to help share messages about air quality, using their beauty to make issues visible to everyone as a floral and visual spectacle.

Creative Problem Solving

Here's how:

1. Paper Flower Craft

collage showing napkin origami to create lotus flowers

2. Embedding Envirosense and LEDs

lotus flowers with sensors and leds

The Art of Tinkering at #LeedsDigi18

We joined up with Leeds Libraries and ODI Leeds to offer this 'Art of Tinkering' drop-in-drop-out session during the Leeds Digital Festival.

The event was aimed at creative and curious adults with an interest in exploring digital projects and learning more about supportive networks in the city. A chance to try out a range of digital challenges, get hands-on with new technologies and consider more ideas to inspire a new project at home.

the art of tinkering sign with women in tech books in the background

Activities included getting started with Raspberry Pi, discovering the Wonders of Wearables, hands-on mischief with capacitive touch and solving real world problems by adding smart sensors and cameras. Each project also had an element of fun attached with a creative twist.

collage of paper flowers with LEDs added to visualise environmental data

Using creative means to visualise environmental data led us to tinkering opportunities with this 'digital peonies' project, a take from another activity focused on improving air quality.

capacitive project in the foreground

Always a pleasure to share the Bare Conductive story and inspire more projects through capacitive touch. We've got a Harry Potter feeling about a next collaboration in the city!

foundation roller banner with presentation showing women in tech quotes

So what's next for The Art of Tinkering in Leeds?

Well feedback from the event points towards a demand for a programme of digital making activities for adults. Watch this space : )

'Totally loved it - fab for a total beginner'

'Fantastic event'

Really interesting to try all the different equipment!

'I'd love some workshops with targeted stuff to make or build'

'Digital in Manufacturing and Making' event at #LeedsDigi18

Contributing to this Digital in Manufacturing event was a great start to the Leeds Digital Festival for us this week.

Thanks to Matthew Skelton for inviting us along, to join this ever growing digital community that will meet again in October for the Assembly Conference in Leeds.

We shared ideas with others from the manufacturing, making, and software sectors with a focus around how digital technologies and approaches to shape the future of manufacturing.

For us, our thoughts were presented towards bridging the digital skills divide in the city, and you can view the slide sets from each session below:

Look out for more details about the Assembly Conference in Leeds on 2nd October.

Read more:

Open Forum and Talks: “Digital in manufacturing and making — what’s coming next? via Medium - a great blogpost about this event from Jovile Bart

Manufacturers are urged to embrace digital via Yorkshire Post, 17.04.18