The Big Bang Fair taken in Birmingham is the greatest celebration of technology, science, maths and engineering in the UK.
It aims to excite young scientists and engineers by manifesting how technology is used in the real world and inspiring them to work on their ideas.
One of the most spectacular things on display this year is the mind-controlled Scalextric project, developed by students at Warwick University.
It uses a headset related to a computer, which links up with a Scalextric set. Once it has been established, the cars move around the track without the need for a controller.
For this to work, the headset wearer needs to feel comfortable. Once this is accomplished, Alpha waves are produced by neurons in the brain, and electrical impulses are created.
“We’re supporting kids to get into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) by revealing them fresh biomedical applications,” said engineering student Sophie Webster.
“The Scalextric is a bit of fun … however if you have more electrodes, you can relate it to a wheelchair and get a greater map of the brain so that you can command direction as well as just speed.”
She considers the technology could also have other applications.
She said: “You can also use the headsets to diagnose items like epilepsy. If you have a larger map of the brain, you can see abnormal brain function or brain activity. So there’re lots of applications, and it’s a really up and coming area of science.”
The Big Bang Fair is an excellent occasion for managers to meet students and the food industry determined to use the event to showcase the robots they use in factories.
One of the machines on show was automation technology group FESTO’s DJ Robot. It is usually more at home filling boxes or sorting food, but in Birmingham, it used a different role – playing CDs and dancing to music.
“What we’re doing here is, we’re cutting down the components to make this a little bit more attractive,” said FESTO’s Lee Fletcher.
“We’re just funking it up a tiny bit to demonstrate to the students … that we can synchronize things together, which is why we’re showing two robots.”
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