PhD internship opportunity

 

Job Purpose:

This internship focuses on partner building and market research for a novel early learning technology design: The Magic Cloud. The Magic Cloud is an Internet of Things platform linking soft toys to digital animations vimeo.com/277314916 . The post is funded by an ESRC Business Booster grant and works with Dr Andrew Manches, who is both the lead academic and start-up founder (Pling Ltd, trading as PlayTalkLearn) taking the Magic Cloud to market. Key to this project is building partnerships with local education focussed organisations, such as Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Zoo, or Glasgow Science Centre. 

The role requires both technical, communicatio​n, and organisational aspects. The technical responsibilities are to ensure that a current Magic Cloud wireless prototype functions reliably during presentations and market evaluation with adults and children in the field (e.g. at the Zoo shop). The Magic Cloud consists of an RFID reader (Pycom Board; Bluetooth) hidden inside a soft cushion paired with an iPad (IoS). The communication responsibilities involve communicating with partners, parents and children (3-8yrs) to capture feedback about the Magic Cloud. Organisational skills are important to ensure timelines are kept.

Consequently, this role suits a PhD student with the appropriate technical skills, who has interest/experience in user studies with children. Innovative thinking is encouraged and an interest in entrepreneurship is welcomed, where there are possibilities of further involvement with the start-up company. Interest in publishing work from this project is welcomed.

Main responsibilities:

  • Resolve any technical difficulties of the Magic Cloud prototype (both hardware (RFID/Bluetooth) and software (iOS))
  • Test robustness of Magic Cloud using different toys and media, accounting for young children’s variety of interaction
  • Work closely with Andrew Manches to arrange meetings and field demonstrations of Magic Cloud with different partners (e.g. Edinburgh Zoo)
  • Work alongside Andrew Manches in demonstrating the Magic Cloud with children in the field, supporting any technical challenges if they arise
  • Capture and summarise in writing user feedback from parents and children
  • Contribute innovative thinking for how the Magic Cloud design can be developed
  • Contribute where appropriate to writing up user studies for publication

Person specification

Essential:

  • PhD student in related field (e.g. Engineering, Design Informatics, Informatics)
  • Knowledge of off the shelf electronic boards, especially Pycom
  • Experience of programming IoS
  • Knowledge of Bluetooth standards would be a requirement. The current Magic Cloud project is dependent on successful Bluetooth communication between Apple ecosystem and Bluetooth enabled (off-the shelf) electronic boards. An input on the board connects a USB RFID reader.
  • Strong organisational skills

Desirable:

  • Knowledge and experience of app development
  • Broader knowledge and experience of RFID/NFC
  • Knowledge of micropython and/or ability use relevant development framework e.g. C
  • Experience in user studies, in particular, with children (especially <8 years)
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Knowledge of Data models, esp, in relation to Internet of Things
  • Interest in innovative technologies for children and / or entrepreneurship

This opportunity is for 7 hours per week for 5 months, based at St John's Land (next to Royal Mile).

Please email a.manches@ed.ac.uk with any questions about this role.  Applications can be made through https://mycareerhub.ed.ac.uk/students/jobs/detail/553947

Application deadline: 14th October 2018

Interviews are expected to take place as soon as possible after the opportunity closes.