Great Future

94.5% of our undergraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating

(Destinations of Leavers Survey 2014/15)

No green light for traffic light app following expert evaluation

traffic lights

Thu, 25 May 2017 15:42:00 BST

Psychologist Dr Kyle Wilson takes a ‘human look’ at a new vehicle traffic light app ahead of plans to introduce similar devices into ‘connected vehicles’

Dr Kyle Wilson FROM sat-nav to automated parking and collision avoidance systems – cars are equipped with an increasing array of electronic aids designed to reduce the scope for human error.  One of the latest pieces of kit is an app that provides assistance at traffic lights, telling drivers when they will have to stop and how long before they can move off. 

It has provided the University of Huddersfield’s Dr Kyle Wilson (pictured left) – a psychology lecturer who specialises in investigations of the human factor – with a “naturalistic” research project that has led to a conference presentation and a new article.

Marketed by an American company, the smartphone-based app is named EnLighten, and can be used in urban areas where the traffic signals are centrally connected.

“The intention of the app is to improve traffic flow and reduce driver stress.  As you approach a traffic light, your smartphone will give you an alert over whether you are likely to make it through or likely to have to stop,” said Dr Wilson.

Then, while the car is stopped, the phone’s display tells the driver how long before they get the green light.

Traffic lights “When it gets down to five seconds, that disappears and you get an auditory chime.  The intention is to get the driver to look back up at the real traffic signal and go when they turn green.

‌“My first reaction was that it was interesting and I could see it being useful in some regards – but that it could be dangerous too,” said Dr Wilson.

His findings are that the app – when it works - can indeed reduce drivers’ stress levels and cut the time it takes for them to move off at intersections.  But the technology was prone to frequent malfunction, leading to higher stress and slower response to green lights.  It also furnished a wider lesson about technology and the human factor.

EnLighten app “It is yet another example of the fact that when automation isn’t that reliable, it can have the opposite effect to that you actually want.  So not only did we see people move slower, but it stressed them out more and when this technology was malfunctioning, people would actually fixate on it,” said Dr Wilson.

He was engaged to carry out the research by a transport centre looking at congestion issues.  It wanted to know if the traffic lights app could help.  Currently, no UK cities have fully connected traffic signal networks, a system that has been introduced in some U.S. urban areas and in cities that include Christchurch, in Dr Wilson’s native New Zealand.

That is where he went to carry out the research.  Five local motorists were recruited and monitored on four journeys through the city – three with the app and one without, as a baseline. Their behaviour was observed and their stress levels appraised during an exercise that Dr Wilson describes as a “naturalistic investigation”.

‌The reliability of the EnLighten app needs to be improved, he said.  Its countdown feature frequently failed, although it never created a safety hazard by indicating that a car could move off while lights were still at red.

But it seems likely that the technology will be integrated into the new wave of “connected vehicles”, meaning that the car rather than the driver will interpret the countdown, so that malfunction could have more serious implications.  This means it is especially important to improve the reliability level 

  • The results of the project in Christchurch were presented at the 2017 conference of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors, and an article titled Driver Interaction with a Traffic Light Assistant App: A Naturalistic Investigation appears in the published Proceedings of the conference.  It is authored by Kyle Wilson, with Karl Bridges, Paul Ward, Simon Parkinson, Tyron Louw and Ryan Cooney.  See also

 Full citation:

“Wilson, K. M., Bridges, K., Ward, P. W., Parkinson, S., Louw, T., & Cooney, R. (2017). Driver interaction with a traffic light assistant app: A naturalistic investigation. In R. Charles & J. Wilkinson (Eds.), Contemporary Ergonomics & Human Factors 2017: Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors (pp. 143-150), Daventry, UK.

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Hudds pharmacist represents UK at International Congress

Hudds pharmacist represents UK at International Congress

Thu, 25 May 2017 10:48:00 BST

Dr Mahendra Patel was invited by the Morocco Council of Pharmacy to speak at the country’s 3rd International Congress 

Hudds pharmacist represents UK at International Congress THE Morocco Council of Pharmacy were so impressed with the work of the University of Huddersfield’s Dr Mahendra Patel he was invited by their President, Dr Souad Motaouakkil, to represent the UK’s entire pharmacy profession at the country’s International Congress in the presence of senior government officials and pharmacy leaders from fifteen Arab and African countries.  

The invitation to present at Morocco’s 3rd International Congress came after senior officials praised Dr Patel’s talk at the 24th Congress of the Lebanese Order of Pharmacists (OPL) in Beirut, Lebanon, entitled: Advancing pharmacist’s role: Together we can make a difference.  

In their invitation, they said: “To strengthen the role of the pharmacist as a health practitioner, according to the recommendations from the World Health Organisation and the International Pharmaceutical Federation, we need pioneering experience, including that of the UK, as advocacy with the public authorities and parliament, the interest that has been brought to your brilliant presentation by the various countries present and their enthusiasm for a future collaboration with your profession and its organisation”. 

Dr Patel’s presentation emphasised the support and guidance offered by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) to its pharmacist members through a well-structured programme of continuous personal, professional and clinical development across sectors and at all levels. 

Hudds pharmacist represents UK at International Congress He also introduced and explained the various national campaigns the RPS are supporting in helping to shape the future of the pharmacy profession.  This included the most recent one of how pharmacists can help in the effective management of long-term conditions such as diabetes. 

‌A question and answer session took place at the end with many wanting to know how they could help their profession in their own countries. 

Dr Patel said: “The Algerian Pharmacy Council Vice-President Dr Mettioui Noureddin was one that in particular stood out among others as found it difficult to restrain his enthusiasm and made a very vocal and open request asking: “Can we have Dr Patel not for two days but for three months to help our profession in its practice?” 

‌Hundreds of pharmacy professionals together with leaders from the Arab and African world attended Morocco’s 3rd International Congress to exchange professional knowledge and experience.  Royal dignitaries and policymakers were also in attendance to address the pressing need to improve industry standards.   

Some of the problems faced by the government officials, as noted by Dr Patel from his visit to Lebanon include “relatively little and ineffective implementation of legislation relating to the practice of pharmacy, conservative prima facie consideration for patient safety, nor any evidence of structured continuous professional development”. 

Dr Patel witnessed similar problems in some Arab countries with one being no regulatory need for continuous education.  

Hudds pharmacist represents UK at International Congress In his role as a board member of the RPS, Dr Patel regularly presents at meetings around the world to showcase the UK’s best standards in pharmacy practice.  He also talks about the RPS accredited programmes which awards pharmacists professional recognition throughout their career pathway whilst ensuring the service they offer is of the highest quality.  

The UK’s pharmacy industry is highly-regarded as being world-leading for its industry standards and more countries in the African and Arab world have requested Dr Patel to showcase the UK pharmacy profession and the RPS at their respective national pharmacy conferences. 

The Moroccan Council of Pharmacists are meeting with the Morocco’s Minister of Health Dr Houcine El Ouardi to discuss the recommendations following the Congress meeting, including how to take on board some of the first class standard of support offered to pharmacists in the UK. 

Dr Patel said: “This is really encouraging and uplifting to be able to inspire so many countries through their pharmacy leaders by showcasing our UK standards and practice at a time when the pharmacy profession and its members are facing difficult times through cuts and workforce constraints.” 

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Student designs thwart doorstep crime

Door lock reminder

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:08:00 BST

The University’s Secure Societies Institute, in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police, run their annual Designing Out Crime Challenge for student product designers

Emma Hartshorne (left) and Chloe HumphreyFirst place winners Emma Hartshorne (left) and Chloe Humphrey

DOORSTEP crime can affect anyone and more often than not it’s the elderly and vulnerable who are targeted and left bereft.  To address this, a group of talented students at the University of Huddersfield have designed new and innovative crime prevention devices to combat the rogue traders and bogus callers.

The designs were part of the annual Designing Out Crime Challenge, in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and was launched three years ago by Professor Rachel Armitage, Director of the University’s Secure Societies Institute (SSI), Rob Silkstone from the School of Art, Design and Architecture and Chris Joyce from West Yorkshire Police. 

This year, first-year students from the Product Design BA/BSc (Hons) degree, were asked to address doorstep crime.  Supervised by their lecturer, Paul Russell, they presented their ideas during national Rogue Traders Week to an expert panel of judges, including representatives from Age UK, Trading Standards, Secure Societies Institute, Victim Support and West Yorkshire Police.

Emma and Chloe with West Yorkshire Police's Crime Prevention Officer Chris Joyce ►Emma and Chloe with West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Prevention Officer Chris Joyce

‌The overall winning design, chosen by the panel, was presented by Emma Hartshorne and Chloe Humphrey called Remind Me, a door lock reminder created by Emma and Chloe with the help of Shezaan Ali and Joseph Hawdon.

‌This simple, but very useful device consists of two brightly coloured door hangers that are placed on to a door handle once locked to act as a visual reminder the door is secure.  Targeted towards people suffering from memory loss or dementia, who often leave themselves vulnerable to doorstep crime by forgetting to lock the door, the hangers also have handy doorstep safety messages printed on them to remind the resident how to deal with unexpected callers.

OmniAid In their presentation, Emma and Chloe explained how early feedback from the product had been positive as the 91-year-old lady who trialled Remind Me, had asked to keep it permanently.

In second place was OmniAid, a detachable hand rail and distress alarm, designed by Muhi Choudray, Lauren McGuire and Jamie Scanlon.  The product ensures the user has extra security when answering the door and removes the need for visible external hand rails that flag a resident as vulnerable to potential offenders. 

A visitor reminder device was awarded third place and was designed by Bilal Anjum, Hannah Revie and Eden Taylor.  This reminds and prompts when family, friends and carers are due to visit, ensuring the resident takes extra care when answering the door if they’re not expecting anyone.

On the panel of judges was West Yorkshire Police’s Crime Prevention Officer Chris Joyce who was particularly impressed with the designs of the students.

“This competition has given the students the opportunity to think about their own family and how doorstep crime would affect them,” said Chris Joyce.  “The whole process has placed a really important subject on to a young person’s radar and now they can influence the rest of their families in taking out crime prevention precautions,” he said.

Some of the winning products from previous years are in the process of being developed for industry and it is hoped this year will have the same success.  

Professor Armitage, Director of the SSI, said the design challenge is an exciting opportunity for the students to become involved. 

“Not only do they get to hear about a specific crime problem directly from West Yorkshire Police,” said Professor Armitage, “they also get to pitch their ideas to a panel of partners ranging from Victim Support to Trading Standards, knowing that there is every possibility that these products will be taken from concept to reality.

“It’s what the Secure Societies Institute is about – developing innovative solutions to real world crime problems,” she added.

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New £3.5m microscope and ion accelerator now operational

Ion Accelerator

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:29:00 BST

The Microscope and Ion Accelerator for Materials Investigations, or MIAMI-2, is already being used for experiments

Dr Jonathan Hinks (left) with Professor Steve DonnellyDr Jonathan Hinks and Professor Steve Donnelly

THE completion of a £3.5 million research facility means that the University of Huddersfield is established as one of Europe’s leading centres for the use of ion beams as a tool for the investigation of issues ranging from nuclear technology and nanoparticles to semiconductors and the effects of radiation exposure on materials in space.

Europe has three transmission electron microscopes with in situ ion beam research facilities and two of them are in Huddersfield.  First came MIAMI – standing for Microscope and Ion Accelerator for Materials Investigations.  It was designed and built by Professor Steve Donnelly, the University’s Dean of Computing and Engineering, Professor Jaap van den Berg (pictured below right) of the International Institute for Accelerator Applications and Dr Jonathan Hinks, a Reader in Radiation Damage in Materials at the University.

Professor Jaap van den Berg Now referred to as MIAMI-1, the original facility was a bespoke combination of ion accelerator with an electron microscope, enabling nanoscale investigation of radiation damage, and is still a valuable research tool.  But it has now been joined by the more powerful, versatile and much larger MIAMI-2, which has dual ion beams and greatly enhanced analytical capabilities.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) awarded £3.5 million for the development and construction of MIAMI-2, which has required the construction of a new storey at the laboratory complex in which it is housed.

Designed and constructed in collaboration with major companies such as Bruker, Hitachi, Gatan and National Electrostatics Corporation – all of which have contributed major components – MIAMI-2 will have an official launch later in the year, but it is already operational and being used for experiments, said Dr Hinks.

“For example, we were working with some Belgian colleagues only last week who are looking at novel materials they have developed for next-generation nuclear reactors.”

An Hitachi engineer assembling the MIAMI-2 microscopeA Hitachi engineer assembling the MIAMI-2 microscope

Demand is already high to use MIAMI-2, and will increase even further now that the University of Huddersfield has become one of the three UK universities to form the UK National Ion Beam Centre (UKNIBC), funded to the tune of £8.8 million – again by EPSRC.

The MIAMI-2 team of six members of academic staff plus four PhD researchers – expected to rise to seven by the close of the year – and is now well on the learning curve of mastering the complex new facility and its exceptional potential.  It will bring major advantages, enabling the use of single or dual ion beams to carry out in situ irradiation of samples in its Hitachi electron microscope.

“With MIAMI-1, we have always had the core ability to observe radiation damage as it is happening, but now we have additional capabilities in terms of the analytical techniques.  We can irradiate, observe and analyse all at the same time generating a huge volume of invaluable scientific data in a very efficient manner” said Dr Hinks.

Although external scientists will make extensive use of MIAMI-2, the University of Huddersfield’s own researchers will also take full advantage of the facility.

“Currently, our largest area of activity is nuclear materials, with large projects and international collaborations on both structural materials for reactors and solutions for waste storage.  However, our group has historically worked with semiconductors, and among the range of projects in which we are currently engaged we have two PhD students working on nanowires and other types of nanoparticles,” said Dr Hinks.

 “We also have an interest in materials that have been in space or which are going into space, to understand the radiation they experience, and also develop a greater understanding of the history of the cosmos.”

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