High turnout for EDA’s 50th Festival celebrations

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) welcomed approximately 500 visitors including a large proportion of Kent alumni and families to the Jennison Building on Saturday 5th September to celebrate the University of Kent’s half century (#50Fest).

Activities in EDA included: an Amateur Radio Station where visitors could make contact with distant radio users around the world, Duck Cam, where visitors could operate a radio controlled duck with built in camera, giving a first person view of Jennison Pond, a Virtual Reality Tour of the Jennison Building using Oculus Rift and the opportunity to meet NAO humanoid robots running face recognition software.

Our Defeat SPECTRA activity (which featured on the Kent Bunny’s Passport scheme) was particularly popular with young people and nearly 200 visitor took part in this immersive activity, which is themed around thwarting a super villain by cracking his secret code and destroying the computer control centre of the sinister SPECTRA Corporation.

Our Engineering Laboratory played host to a number of exciting hand-on activities including: build your electronics kit, bike-powered smoothie maker, test your strength, and the opportunity to learn more about the School’s industrial projects and collaboration with industry.

In addition, visitors also enjoyed the chance to hear subject talks regarding Bioengineering, Engineering and Digital Media, and to walk around the Jennison Building viewing laboratories including the Instrumentation Lab, the Antennas Lab, the Optics Lab and learning more about our research capabilities including work by the Intelligent Interactions Research Group.

Visitors to the Production Studio had the opportunity to learn about the expertise and facilities we offer including Motion Capture and Green Screen, used both for Digital Media activities and for advanced body-worn electronics research. Our well-equipped Mechanical Workshop was also open to visitors where examples of advanced structures developed by our skilled mechanical engineers were on show.

Our celebratory day concluded with a key note lecture “To Err is Human; to Forgive is Divine; to Check is Engineering!” delivered to a capacity audience, by the Right Reverend Dr Tom Butler, who fondly recalled his time at the University of Kent, where he was a Lecturer in Electronics and a University Chaplain. A copy of Dr Butler’s lecture can be accessed here.

Our 50th anniversary celebrations will conclude with a key note address “Engineering at the Heart of Society?” by Professor of Control Engineering, Sarah Spurgeon and Head of School on Wednesday 21st October from 6 – 7 pm in the Jennison Lecture Theatre. Tickets available here.

Photos showing a flavour of our celebrations on 5 September can be viewed on Flickr.