LSBU delivers a wide variety of innovative, relevant and forward-thinking projects that span all industries, bridging the gap between academia and the business world. We have collaborated with hundreds of companies from a diverse range of sectors and industries, helping these organisations develop comprehensive technology and business solutions.
Below are some examples of recent projects that we hope will inspire you to collaborate with LSBU.
Thanks to the experts at London South Bank University (LSBU), Firefly Tonics have been able to prove that their beverages can help drinkers keep concentration and make fewer mistakes 30 minutes after drinking Firefly.
Emma, Head of Marketing at Firefly explains, "We are very keen on delivering what we claim to deliver and proving the effectiveness of our products, and that's why we teamed up with the experts in LSBU's Human Performance Centre who have proved that 30 minutes after consuming a Firefly natural energy tonic, people are less likely to let their attention wander and make mistakes than in a placebo controlled trial".
Participants completed a number of cognitive function tests half an hour after drinking either a Firefly or placebo drink which was identical in composition, aside from the botanical extracts not being included. Jo Bowtell, Head of Sports and Exercise Science Research at LSBU found that participants performed better in the Sustained Attention to Response Test (SART) than in the placebo trial.
Marcus Waley-Cohen, Founder of Firefly Tonics says "Working with the team at LSBU has been a huge privilege for Firefly. Thanks to their work, Firefly is the first drink based on 100% natural ingredients to be proven to be effective."
It is common knowledge that when we are tired our brains find it harder to think clearly, solve problems and make rational decisions. Daniel Frings, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at LSBU is currently researching whether or not being part of a group can help offset these effects without the need for potentially harmful stimulants.
Fatigue severely impairs our cognitive functions and because of this there are serious dangers surrounding those in the medical and transportation professions who are often required to perform vital tasks with very little or no sleep. "Up to 2/3rds of people who carry out these jobs make serious mistakes when tired. Fatigue is linked to misdiagnosis in hospitals and also to a variety of major maritime accidents when crews have not had enough sleep," says Daniel. Traditionally, ways of trying to counter fatigue have reworked shift patterns and encouraged naps. However, little work has been done on looking at the social processes involved and what affect these have on group concentration.
Daniel's research has been testing the effects of group monitoring on fatigued individuals during a series of vigilance, decision making and problem solving tasks. Working with the often fatigued officer cadets at the London Officer Training Corp, Daniel monitored both individual judgement and collective group decisions whilst the team carried out various tests. For instance, participants solved a series of mathematical problem solving tasks while fatigued or alert, working either alone or in groups. On later problems, fatigued individuals relied on tried and tested, but often inefficient, solutions. In contrast, groups were not impaired by fatigue. "Tired groups seem to be performing just as well, and just as creatively, as non-tired groups and individuals during these tasks."
Further activities will be carried out once all data collection and analysis has been completed. Daniel predicts fatigue will impair individuals on a variety of cognitive tasks commonly encountered by fatigued workers. He also predicts that being a member of a group will significantly reduce these effects and that group cooperation will further negate the effects of tiredness.
"As academics working in an active research community it is really important to work with organisations outside the university in order to build successful collaborative links. These partnerships show that we are doing high class research that is having an impact on industry and society, not to mention our teaching and the next generation of professionals. When I give a lecture I know that my students are getting the most up to date research, and for me, that is vital."
PhD student Tejas Petal and London South Bank University Robotics expert Dr Tariq Sattar are designing and developing a 'swarm' of robots to carry out Non-destructive testing (NDT) on large steel plates used in hazardous and non-hazardous environments such as the floor of oil tanks or a ship's hull.
"The robots test for corrosion and weld defects," says Tejas. A central control system inside a lead robot allows a group of other mobile robots, connected by physical link sensors, to work co-operatively and function as a single machine. "Disasters, such as the collapse of an oil storage tank can not only be a major pollution crisis but also take lives" says Tariq. "Mandatory inspections of structures are critical and, if done by people, can take months and be very expensive." Using a robot or team of robots to do the work can take hours rather than months and save millions.
For very large structures, a team of robots equipped with ultrasound probes sense rotations and motions of neighbouring robots and enables the group to function together in a global task. Each robot is wirelessly controlled with sonar sensors to build up a map of its surroundings. At the moment, up to 30 robots work with one lead.
LSBU holds an international reputation for their pioneering work in this area and has worked on other groundbreaking robotic projects such as building the world's first wall climbing robot and robots that work under water and oil. Tariq explains, "We have won the 'Most Innovative Robot' award three times from the international 'Industrial Robot' journal and have been awarded the highly commended prize on numerous occasions.
The brainchild of golf-loving LSBU Enterprise Associate, Arnold Du Toit, is the Rolley Golf, which will soon be swinging onto golf courses all over the country. The coming of the Rolley Golf brings to life Arnold's dream of wanting to work for himself.
"I'd had some great ideas that I'd wanted to test the market with. LSBU's Enterprise Associate Scheme has given me the opportunity to try these ventures out with a safety net of support to help my company progress."
Arnold's idea was born, unsurprisingly, from a day on the golf course, where his golfing partner almost broke his electric trolley by jumping on it in the vain hope that it would carry him in comfort to the next tee! As a ride-on golf trolley, the Rolley Golf is a redesign on the existing concept of a golf trolley which you put your bags on, some of which are manually pushed others are electrically operated. The Rolley Golf offers you all that but with the added benefit that you can ride on it. Players can still walk around the course with friends, get exercise and depending on their performance throughout the day, hop on the Rolley when they get tired. The average golfer walks about 4.5 miles per game so there is a big market for this, especially in the over 45s.
A pre mass production prototype has now been built and has been tested in South Africa where the golf market is huge. Whilst there, Arnold met some of the world's top golfers including Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace. "It was a great trip where we completed some much needed market research and secured all our routes to market in South Africa. Our next step is manufacturing and that is now the primary focus." Manufacturing the prototype was done entirely at the university saving the company a vast 80% on manufacturing costs.
Research Reader Judith Evans and her team of refrigeration experts at LSBU are working alongside 25 academic and industrial partners to provide new tools, concepts and solutions for improving refrigeration technologies along the European food cold chain.
"We are looking to create some ground breaking new technologies that will provide energy efficient and sustainable alternatives to what are currently available. These include magnetic refrigeration, air-cycle refrigeration, superchilling and supercooling and using phase change materials to help make temperatures more stable, creating a reduction in energy consumption," explains Judith.
The project will develop new mathematical modelling tools that combine food quality and safety together with energy, environmental and economic aspects that predict and control food quality and safety in the cold food chain. "The mathematical modelling aspect of the project is the biggest academic challenge," Judith explains. "Most of the teams involved work on a particular aspect of the food cold chain, for instance at LSBU we specialise in heat transfer models, but we have to look at all these parts and bring them together on one platform; this is a real test and it has never been done before," says Judith.
The project will produce a mixture of technologies, some applicable in the short term and some much more emerging technologies which will be able to be applied in five or six years time. "We are working with teams across Europe which is a great experience and I am constantly absorbing new knowledge and adopting new ways of working. It's very beneficial to learn from and to share best practice with other countries as they will inevitably have different ways of working that we can learn from."
In London, the introduction of 5,400 'Boris Bikes' has meant a fantastic surge in Londoners cycling but what can be said for the other 65 cities and countless towns across the UK. This research looks at the factors behind why people do or do not choose to cycle.
John Parkin, Professor of Transport Engineering at LSBU, is working on two projects to find out why. One is for the Swedish government and the other for the UK Department for Transport. "People are always asking me why so many people in Copenhagen cycle everywhere and yet residents in Birmingham or Bristol for example tend to favour cars, buses and trains – even walking, over jumping on a bike. The systematic review of cycling in cities for the Swedish government will help answer those questions. We hope to get a clearer picture of the range of factors which influence cycle use in urban areas and which, we hope, will shape future policy so that cycling can make a more significant contribution to urban mobility."
John and his team will be analysing and indentifying the different determinants for cycling using a systematic review methodology including the detailed meta-analysis of a huge amount of data. "We are making sure that the process we adopt when doing the meta-analysis is robust and that what we draw from our findings truly reflects the reality of reasons for cycle use," Says John.
Factors such as urban structure and design, city density, the built and natural environment, as well as social and demographic drivers which affect traveller's views and their willingness to cycle will all be considered and analysed. The project will result in improved knowledge about the relevance of these determining factors and provide more robust information for influencing better policies and planning for increased investment in cycling across other cities and towns.
John is also providing expert advice to the team from Sustrans monitoring the eighteen English cycling cities and towns. "We want to find out if investment in cycling at a comparable level to North European countries would actually create an increase in cycling."
"The main interest for me is discovering new knowledge that we can then pass on in our teaching to the next generation of transport engineers and planners. I have the heart of a consultant and the head of an academic, so my research has to have impact in the world."