Category Archives: Electronics

New BE/MEngSc in Engineering Innovation – Electronic from NUI Galway

NUI Galway‘s College of Engineering & Informatics is now offering a new course titled “Engineering Innovation – Electronic“. This course will provide graduates with specialised multi-disciplinary skills to start their own business, centered on the development of innovative, niche, market-led, electronic products. The programme is composed of three multi-disciplinary strands, with the formation of an Electronic Engineer at its core. The three strands are:

  • Electronic Engineering
  • Business & Finance
  • Design & Innovation


You can view our brand new brochure for GY412, and find out more about the course from the NUI Galway course page for GY412. The course is being run by the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering in collaboration with the Department of Industrial Engineering and the Cairnes School of Business & Economics.

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What I'm up to…

It’s been a few weeks since my last confession so here goes…

I started teaching last week – so far it’s going well – I teach EE109 Fundamentals of Electronic Engineering to first year Engineering and Information Technology students. The class is pretty big and there’s no common timeslot so it means I have to teach the material twice, but as both halves alternate between being the first recipients of material, I think it balances out pretty well. We also started the associated first year labs yesterday morning, and both final year and third year projects have been assigned so things are pretty busy.

The week before last, I was in UCD for a one-day workshop organised by staff and researchers with the Intel-sponsored TRIL Centre (Technology Research for Independent Living). We had an interesting session describing the BioMOBIUS platform, which builds on work from the EyesWeb project. My colleagues in the Bioelectronics Research Cluster are associate researchers with TRIL.

Last week, some of us from the College of Engineering and Informatics visited the new Cisco R&D facility here in Galway. It’s pretty impressive. Cisco have 140 people in Galway, mainly developers and testers, with a majority of R&D staff. Their big focus in Galway is on “Unified Communications and Collaboration” (data, voice, video, IM, etc.), and real-time sharing of video content. Their TelePresence demo is really amazing. It’s a conference room where the table almost blends into three huge screens that show the remote participants in the correct proportion to where they’d sit at the table. The audio also moves with the people as they move across the room. You can see some demos here and here.

I’m still carrying out research in DERI for about a half to one day a week, where I meet my students and researchers in my role as leader of the Unit for Social Software. We’ve been taking part in forthnightly (public) telecons regarding the SWAN SIOC joint initiative, looking at synergies between SIOC and Semantic Web Applications in Neuromedicine (with Tim Clark and his team from Harvard). I was also in DERI briefly yesterday for a meeting with some researchers from Microsoft in Redmond.

My new job in Electronic Engineering! Will still collaborate with DERI…

Next month, I will begin a tenured lectureship position at the Department of Electronic Engineering here in the College of Engineering and Informatics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. However, I will still do joint research with the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, continuing (amongst other things) to work with the Social Software Unit (on SIOC, SCOT, etc.) and with the TripPlanr project. In my new role, I will also be researching with the NCBES Bioelectronics Research Cluster in NUI Galway.

For those of you who have just come across me and my blog as a result of my work with DERI, you may not know that my background was in electronic engineering, having studied it at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and I also lectured for four years full time in the Department of Electronic Engineering before joining DERI in 2004. When I joined DERI initially, I imagined that I would be working on some intersection between electronic engineering and the Semantic Web. In fact, I fell into the world of the Semantic Web and social software, after an interesting discussion about semantic social networks with Stefan Decker, who was a senior researcher in the Institute at the time. I realised that my “hobby” interests in creating community websites could be combined with interesting research challenges around the Semantic Web, and although I (and then director Dieter Fensel) was unsure about how I would fare in a new research area, I’m glad to say that it worked out okay! Now I’m back to thinking about the convergence between electronics and semantics again, with some social software thrown in the mix (e.g. wearable communities).

Below is a collage of some memories from the past four-and-a-half years: including the FOAF Galway workshop, a Semantic Web cluster meeting, ESWC and a DERI offsite meeting, Wikimania, DERI Stanford, BlogTalk, meeting timbl, BarCamp, DERI drinks, the ITAG awards, and our Social Software summer / christmas parties.

I’ve really enjoyed working with all the smart and cool people in DERI, and I shall continue to do so, while strengthening ties between the Institute and NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics through my new job. (It’s my last day before holidays, so if you’re in Galway this evening, we’re going out for a few drinks in the Westwood Hotel after work at 5:30…)

Two new toys: Nabaztag and Chumby

As you may know, I’m a bit of a gadget freak. I haven’t gotten around to blogging about my Nokia 770 internet tablet (which I got cheap last year and happily use to check e-mail and listen to internet radio via or my little wifi-enabled Nikon S51c digital camera, but last week I acquired two new friends in my office, a Nabaztag and a Chumby.

The Nabaztag is a wifi enabled “rabbit”, that can read out text and RSS feeds, plays music, displays lights to represent different conditions (e.g. weather, new mail), and it has an RFID reader in its ears which can enable the detection of different objects (e.g. it could read an RFID-enabled book to you if you wave it by the ears of the rabbit). While some aren’t happy, I think it’s a cool device with many applications for those who may not want or need a video interface. My Nabaztag is called Babbitty.

The Chumby has been touted as an Internet alarm clock, but it’s much more than that. It has a touch screen which displays and allows you to interact with a set of multimedia widgets which can be grouped into channels. For example, my default channel shows my Flickr photos, tweets from my Twitter contacts, an NHK-style clock, and news from the BBC and the Onion. There’s even a talking Tim O’Reilly widget in there somewhere! I got it from, and named it after me (Cloud)!

You can see them both above. I haven’t gotten them to talk to each other yet, but many things are now possible…