Fun Projects and Demos

Computer Science is not just work, it’s fun too!

Computer Science staff and students also regularly engage in a wide variety of projects and make interesting things, here we have collected some of our fun projects and demos.

Clubs, Societies and Activities

AberCompSoc - Aberystwyth Computer Science Society

A society for students with an interest in Computer Science: AberCompSoc

There are lots of other student societies you might be interested in, take a look at the SU Societies List to see what’s already going on.

Aberystwyth Robotics Club

A club for undergraduates and 11-18 year olds to learn about robotics and to work on their own robotics projects: https://aberrobotics.club

Aber Sailbot Team

Since October 2012, the Aber Sailbot team have been working hard to create an autonomous boat that requires no absolutely human contact to function. The team has entered numerous competitions and maintains several different sailbots which they use to compete, all over the world.

See their Beach Lab 2020 video:

BCS Mid-Wales Branch

Our local branch of the BCS – the Chartered Institute for IT - regularly run interesting talks and events for a variety of topics around computing. You can find oout more about the branch and events on their webpage: https://midwales.bcs.org

Student Work

Animated Short Films

For our Applied Graphics module, students make a short film on a given topic, here are a selection:

2018-19 Project topic: “Aberystwyth University goes to Mars”

YouTube Play List

Web Games

In some of our modules, students have the opportunity to make web games using HTML5 and JavaScript; you can play some of them on this Student Showcase.

Fun Projects and Outreach

Computer Science Outreach

Natalie Roberts, our brilliant Faculty Outreach Officer, has a hub full of computer science activities. https://users.aber.ac.uk/nar25/CompSci/homePage.html

The iCub Music Video

As part of the Dan and Phil show on BBC Radio 1, listeners were invited to send in videos of themselves dancing along to the latest top hits. Not to be beaten, the iCub team wanted to get involved in the action, so put together this video of the iCub showing off some of his moves along to a track by The Artic Monkeys, "I bet that you look good on the dance floor".  Watch closely to see the actions follow the lyrics.  The video was featured on their youtube channel and Dr James Law was interviewed as part of the programme.

While the actions in this video were scripted, it set us thinking about how we could teach the robot to dance, and it paved the way for more fun projects in the future.

Jim Finnis’s Projects

Lecturer Jim Finnis has some wonderful projects on his user pages, including his own programming language, some generative music, and some Arduino-powered musical instruments!

https://users.aber.ac.uk/jcf12/#projects

Robotic Orchestra

At recent Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution, Computer Science’s Dave Price was invited to collaborate in creating a robotic orchestra which performed live on BBC 4, on New Year’s Eve.  Many universities contributed to the project, among Aberystwyth’s contributions were parts taken from a printer, a vacuum cleaner and church organ pipes.

Space Balloon

In June 2014, Computer Science’s Dr Mark Neal organized a space mission for the pupils of Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth.

Using a helium-filled weather balloon, the pupils launched a polystyrene space capsule fitted with two cameras, two GPS trackers and a small homemade computer that measures altitude, temperature and the motion of the balloon and transmits the information back to earth via a wireless link.

The project can be found in greater detail on the official Aberystwyth University news bulletin, While more of Mark’s amazing pictures from the project can be seen via the BBC coverage

or on Mark's personal blog.

Interesting Demos and Research

Autonomous driving in Welsh uplands

Dr Fred Labrosse from the Department of Computer Science talks about how one of his robots Idris can navigate autonomously in the Welsh uplands.

Behaviour of Sorting Algorithms

A demonstration of how different algorithms organize the information when sorting. It shows an image whose pixels were randomized, and using their original indices, they are being sorted by different algorithms. Notice that we are not comparing speed, just how they move elements around – if it compared speed, merge sort would have finished faster.

Bio-Inspired Robotics

This is a recording of a couple of talks with discussion that took place online as part of Aberystwyth Robotics Week 2020. The talks are on the theme of Bio-inspired robotics.

The first talk is given by Dr Myra Wilson introducing what bio-inspired robotics means along with some examples before talking about the Bee inspired work for coordinating UAVs to maintain an ad-hoc wireless network.

The second talk is given by Dr Patricia Shaw talking about how we can take inspiration from the way in which children learn. This is modelled on a robot developing mechanisms for enabling playful learning to take place that can build new skills and gain understanding about the world around it.

ExoMars – The Rover Mission and Aberystwyth University’s Involvement

Dr Helen Miles from the Department of Computer Science and Dr Matt Gunn from the Department of Physics explain what the ExoMars mission is and how the two departments are involved.

For more information see: https://exomars.wales

Intelligent Robotics Group Videos

The Intelligent Robotics research group have a YouTube channel containing many interesting videos of research and outreach activities involving robots.

Reminiscing in Virtual Reality

Dr Rachel Rahman from the Department of Psychology describes a project between Psychology and Computer Science.

Robotic Sailing Boats

Dr Colin Sauze talks about his work with robotic sailing boats, from boats built for Aber Sailbot competitions to boats for mapping glaciers.