SWCTN Bath: Review of 2020

Automation Prototyping

SWCTN automation new talent fellows Ruby Soho and Joseph Wilk successfully bid for prototyping money for their soft robotic interactive street furniture Playable Places for Urban Spaces. Despite the issues of working in and out of lockdown often with no child care and no access to shared work space, they were able to present a working prototype of Playable Places at the online SWCTN Automation showcase in October. They also set up Little Lost Robot CIC, won another prototyping commission, Stupid Cities, from B+B Creative R+D project and have successfully bid for three Arts Council England grants – not a bad year’s work!

Bath Microgrants

As part of the Automation strand several small grants were won by Bath-based creatives and entrepreneurs, who were also given residencies at The Studio at Palace Yard Mews, Bath Spa University’s new enterprise and innovation hub. These included:

Annie Lywood, from startup Bonnie Binary, which creates and sells interactive, therapeutic cushions for people with autism, dementia and anxiety. Annie spent her grant on R&D into printed inks to develop textile sensors. 

Alex Witty, who developed his prototype for a trainer insole that enables users to generate electricity to power their devices.  

Emma Pauncefort explored how automation could support young people on their critical literacy journeys as part of her project Automating Critical Literacy.  

Dave Webb, developed and delivered, AI for Nervous Humans, a workshop and set of workshopping tools to help demystify AI and automation through art and hands on activities.  Dave did this alongside completing his MSc in Creative Computing from Bath Spa University

The coronavirus pandemic meant that some adjustments had to be made to the outputs of the small grants and some projects had to be delayed slightly but they were able to find creative ways around the restrictions and came together to talk about their work at the SWCTN Automation showcase.

Data Prototyping

Dave Webb then teamed up with Jon Somerscales and went on to receive a SWCTN data prototyping grant to develop Broken Circles, a data visualisation and consumer empowerment tool that uses data to uncover the true and hidden costs of materials, manufacture, usage and end of life enabling consumers to make informed choices.  This will be showcased at the SWCTN Data showcase, 26 March 2021.