The Nimbus Research Centre is part of the Cork Institute of Technology. They are at the forefront of cyber-physical systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) research, innovation and learning. They are developing technologies that address the real needs of industry, people and society. Brendan McCormack speaks to Richard Linger, the manager of Nimbus Technology Gateway, to find out more. Richard directs the industry-led research and technology-transfer programmes for new and established companies in the domain of next generation software systems, embedded software and hardware computing technologies.
What is Cyber Physical Design and the Internet of Things?
These are devices that connect the physical world with the cyber world. They are found in cars, phones, washing machines to name a few examples. Nearly everything that uses electricity now has sensors, processing and communication capability.
What is your role, Richard, at Nimbus?
I manage a portfoilio of about 70 applied research and development technology projects per annum for Irish and international companies. I am a graduate of Civil Engineering in UCC from over 30 years ago. I then left and worked around the globe with cutting edge technology companies and latterly with Deloitte Consulting. I joined Nimbus in 2013. Nimbus is part of CIT and has about 60 full time technology researchers. We have Software, Hardware, Artificial intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experts.
What kind of areas of society is your research seeking to change and how will these affect society and people’s interaction with technology?
We do several things with our technology. We make processes work better in factories – what we call Industry 4.0. We develop new technologies that help protect people from cyber-attack using AI – a cyber-attack may be someone trying to hack your devices OR someone using social media to bully you. We build new technologies to detect water impurities. We build digital virtual models and feed in sensor data then can put you in this world using our AR/VR equipment. We generally strive to produce software and hardware systems to help industry and to help people with new or improved services and products.
What are the new areas for career and business opportunities?
We are seeing an explosion in the use of Applied Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence across healthcare, social media, consumer products, energy management and gaming. Clients are coming to us from all over the world. There are global shortages of AI experts and people that can see the opportunities to bring AI to areas like health, manufacturing, and food and similar sectors.
Are there one or two projects that are now up and running as businesses that you could give us examples of?
We have developed a special scanner for operating theatres to scan QR codes on all items that are implanted in people. The QR codes vary in size from 0.5mm to 15mm across and are often wrapped in plastic. We developed the hardware and the AI platform to help read the code. Another example is analysing college student’s social media text, video and pictures to help identify self-harm, depressive and abusive behaviours. Help can then be provided earlier to support the student.
How is the centre reaching out to young women to encourage more gender balance in STEM careers?
We support outreach projects across the community with a big focus on gender balance. Our annual summit – ‘Beyond IoT’ brought some of the biggest female names in technology – Lauren Knausenberger from the the US Pentagon and Sally Eaves, UN Technology Strategy Advisor – to name two great examples.
How do people – students, business owners and innovators – get involved with Nimbus?
If you are an entrepreneur or businessperson with an idea or just want to understand what is going on out there – just come and talk to us. We will then guide you through how we can develop the technology and apply for government grants. We often write the applications for you. If you are a student and want to do an internship, then talk to us and we will guide you through our internship programme.
What kind of Ireland/Cork is Nimbus working towards?
Nimbus is at the heart of putting Cork on the Global Technology Roadmap. We want to attract the best companies and ideas to Nimbus to help future-proof the regional and national technology economy.
For more information: https://www.nimbus.cit.ie/ or contact Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org.