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Strategic Network for Sensor Research

at Cambridge University

CamBridgeSens and the Cambridge Global Challenges and Synthetic Biology Initiatives ran a combined two-day sandpit on the topic of Smart Imaging for Development.


This interdisciplinary event aimed at bringing together young researchers from the social sciences, engineering and natural sciences to brainstorm and develop project ideas around smart imaging applications in ODA countries.challengesThe participants' thinking was set off by Shorn Molokwane from the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation in Gaborone who provided an insight into the needs of people living in ODA countries. John Stevens from the Royal College of Art gave an insight into design processes while Francesco Ciriello from Mathworks described the fundamentals of machine learning and image classification. design_principles


The external expertise was complemented by Cambridge academics from the Departments of Psychology, Plant Sciences and Computer Science and Technology.

After 1.5 days of brainstorming five research teams emerged from the sandpit  with the following research proposals:

  1. Tagging solar panels to prevent theft
  2. Apply machine learning to malaria diagnostics
  3. Powering remote cameras with bio-electricity
  4. Automated elephant tracking
  5. Automated mapping of urban landscapes

The teams now have two months to develop their ideas into concrete outcomes and present them at a follow-up workshop. Their development work is supported by seed funding.

The event was kindly sponsored by the Isaac Newton Trust small grants scheme and Prof Andrea Brand, Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge.