Nokia Bell Labs and University of Cambridge joins forces for wearables and AI centre

PUBLISHED: 21:45 15 September 2018 | UPDATED: 21:45 15 September 2018

From left centrec co-director, Professor Cecilia Mascolo, Professor Andy Neely, Dr Marcus Weldon, CTO and president of Nokia Bell Labs and centre co-director Dr Alastair Beresford. Picture: Keith Heppell

From left centrec co-director, Professor Cecilia Mascolo, Professor Andy Neely, Dr Marcus Weldon, CTO and president of Nokia Bell Labs and centre co-director Dr Alastair Beresford. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence will be based at Department of Computer Science and Technology.

From left Professor Andy Neely and Dr Marcus Weldon, CTO and president of Nokia Bell Labs. Picture: Keith HeppellFrom left Professor Andy Neely and Dr Marcus Weldon, CTO and president of Nokia Bell Labs. Picture: Keith Heppell

The sci-fi dream of wearable communication technology that enhances human perception is closer to becoming a reality thanks to a collaboration between Cambridge University and Nokia Bell Labs.

Launched yesterday (Tuesday), the new Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence will be based in Cambridge’s world-leading Department of Computer Science and Technology.

It will advance state-of-the-art mobile systems, security, new materials, and artificial intelligence (AI) to address one of the main human needs – the ability to communicate better with each other.

The co-director of the centre, Cecilia Mascolo, professor of mobile systems, said: “The new centre provides support for high-quality, long-term research into mobile, wearable and augmented intelligence systems in Cambridge.

“In addition, the centre will also engage with other researchers across the UK and abroad. We will formally launch the new centre with a research symposium later in the year, with researchers drawn from across the UK and beyond.”

The research jointly conducted in the centre will aim to redefine the way people interact with the digital and physical world. Areas of focus include sensory human communication experiences beyond visual and audio.

It also aims to progress precise, predictive and personalised medicine through its wearable devices, as well as enhance digital, physical, mental, and social well-being.

Dr Alastair Beresford, reader in computer security, who will also co-direct the new centre, added: “Mobile systems have transformed our lives and evolved dramatically over the last 20 years. However, there are many big changes to come, and our research will ensure we have the right technical solutions as well as appropriate safeguards available.”

Audiences at the launch also heard presentations from the University of Cambridge’s Professor Andy Neely and CTO and president of Nokia Bell Labs, Marcus Weldon.

Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge conducts research on novel sensors based on emerging materials, embedded and network intelligence, and computational social science.

The university’s Department of Computer Science and Technology is expert in analysing mobile data and systems research in real-world applications with quantifiable impact.

The centre will be used to establish a research community, and support Nokia Bell Labs PhD students as well as postdoctoral researchers over the next five years. It will also support the wider research community with a range of events, workshops and seminars. The official opening and first academic research symposium will take place in September.

Markus Hofmann, head of applications, platforms and software systems research at Nokia Bell Labs, said: “We are very excited to participate in the creation of this new centre at Cambridge. We look forward to solving the key technical challenges as we move towards our shared goal – to provide people with enhanced awareness of their world, to help them better sense and interpret their digital and physical environment, to enable the long-distance exchange of people’s emotions and perceptions, to augment and improve the human experience in a digitally connected world.”

Julie Byrne, head of external collaboration programmes at Nokia Bell Labs, said: “We established our Distinguished Academic Partner Programme to bring together the best and brightest minds to solve human need challenges by delivering disruptive innovations.”

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