We work with industry to create opportunities
We have a long history of collaboration with external partners through research, collaboration and outreach activities. These partners include industry, government and schools.
By providing consultancy through our own commercialisation company, SYS Consulting Ltd, our partners have access to the expertise within the School of Computing Sciences in a number of technical areas, including graphical modelling, animation, audio processing, computer vision and statistics. We work with companies of all sizes in a range of ways, from straightforward contract consulting through to larger collaborative research projects. We also create our own companies, for example Syrinix, Digisize and SpectralEdge Ltd, based on technologies developed at the School of Computing Sciences.
Spreading the word and helping others to learn is important to us. We deliver a number of short courses to industry each year to help develop knowledge and capacity within businesses and our activities with schools include taster sessions which we run in areas such as computer programming, speech processing and digital animation. Much of our software is freely available to public and professional users online. For example, our 3D visualisation software for medical images has been downloaded more than 15,000 times.
The School of Computing Sciences is committed to having a continuing impact through its work. Take a look at some of the ways we've already made a difference:
We've created a historical archive
The HistOracle database has successfully amalgamated information about Norwich's heritage into a searchable database and website. Until this project took place, information was scattered across a range of different organisations. Through bringing it together in one place, HistOracle is able to create links across the city – and between different subject matters – enabling residents and visitors to explore Norwich's heritage.
Since the creation of HistOracle in 2011-12 , an interactive touchscreen quiz game has been devised by Ugly Studios to tell the stories of Norwich throughout the centuries. The interactive booth is in Norwich's Forum, the most successful public library in the UK. With over 2.5 million visitors annually. The Forum is a natural congregation point for local people and visitors to the city and the large format, touchscreen booth has proven to be enormously popular, averaging 2 hours 20 minutes of use per day. This engaging portal draws local people and visitors to discover much more about heritage locations and the stories surrounding them.
The partnership has also produced a web-based version, enabling users to search in much more depth about the sites as well as their historic connections and it is intended that on-site access to HistOracle be extended to other venues. Read more about the HistOracle project
We've developed a technology to help deaf people
A technology to make it easier for deaf and hearing-impaired people to access television and radio shows was developed by the School of Computing Sciences' researchers in partnership with Action on Hearing Loss (formerly the RNID) and IBM .
The system, called SiSi (Say it Sign it), brings together a number of computing technologies, including speech recognition and animation technologies, to automatically convert speech into British Sign Language. This is then signed by an animated character or avatar. The signing avatars and the award-winning technology for animating sign language from a special gesture notation were developed by the University of East Anglia and the database of signs was developed by RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf People)
An estimated 55,000 people use British Sign Language as a first language, providing huge potential for this technology among entertainment, leisure and telecommunications companies and enabling better communication with deaf and hearing-impaired customers.
Our technology is used to generate 3D physical models via 3D Printing for use in applications such as surgical planning.
3D printing is becoming increasingly popular and recently a variety of machines supporting a range of materials have become available. Within the School of Computing Sciences we have been creating ways to accurately convert data sets into suitable formats for state of the art 3d printers. For example, our techniques have been used to convert CT datasets of patient data into 3D physical models for a scapula , the tracheobronchial tree and complex aortic aneurysm's. In the latter 3D models have been used to facilitate decision making and device selection for endovascular aneurysm repair in complex neck anatomy.
Creating 3D replicas of delicate cultural heritage artefacts is another key area where the technology has been applied. We have shown how intricate Cantonese chess pieces can be digitized using Micro-CT and then replicated with moving parts. The 3D digital models can also be utilised for viewing in 3D virtual form using more standard computer graphics techniques.
We have developed software for analysing high throughput genetic data
A collaboration between The School of Biological Sciences and the School of Computing Sciences has resulted in a complete suite of software tools for the analyses of high throughput genetic sequence data, The UEA sRNA Workbench. Since its release in early 2012 researchers have used the sRNA workbench extensively from around the world with over 7,200 unique visitors and more than 4,800 downloads as of December 2013. It has an attractive and easy to use interface and supporting website and, to our best knowledge, the workbench is the only freely available complete downloadable solution for processing and analysing high throughput sRNA data. To cater for our user base and maximise impact on the sRNA community, we use a variety of social media, for example, twitter, RSS delivery of direct comments on the website, and traditional emails. Through these methods we regularly receive requests for new features and tools such as those that we propose to implement in this project, and publications are appearing in which the tools are cited and used as a major component of the analysis. It is therefore clear that user demand for tools such as those to be developed in this project is strong and growing.
Our philosophy for open distribution of cutting edge research, program of worldwide promotional activity and system of delivering easy to use software has resulted in the sRNA Workbench being adopted by many leading bioinformatics research companies into their existing analysis pipelines as well as recognition from other areas of the industry such as the Eagle Genomics Elements of Bioinformatics.In addition to being a powerful research tool, the sRNA Workbench's is now being used in various institutions around Europe as a tool for teaching scientists at all levels in the field of small RNA research about the fundamentals of High Throughput Sequence data preparation and analysis.