IBM sets students loose in the lab

IBM sets students loose in the lab

Summary: University students on IBM's Extreme Blue summer internship have shown off a range of cutting-edge ideas, from smart car tech to e-voting devices

TOPICS: Emerging Tech

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  • IBM Extreme Blue Smarter Vehicle

    IBM has shown off technology developed by UK students under its Extreme Blue summer internship scheme, which gives participants 12 weeks to develop cutting-edge ideas and business plans for new products. 

    The programme has been running every summer since 1999. The 2011 intake — four teams of four students — came up with proof-of-concept products for smart cars, e-voting machines, accessibility devices and network analysis tools. The projects were demonstrated at IBM's London offices on 31 August.

    The Smarter Vehicle platform (pictured) uses RFID technology to wirelessly identify the driver as they walk toward the car. Once they are identified, the car is loaded with data of their past driving behaviour.

    The dashboard developed by the Extreme Blue interns has a touchscreen interface, used in tandem with sensors placed throughout the car. "It's a real Jaguar dashboard," said Stuart Wilkinson, IBM manager of the Extreme Blue UK scheme. "The sensors on the steering wheel sense how hard you are gripping the wheel."

    Other sensors track tyre pressure, locks, radio settings, GPS-based location and brakes. "[The] sensors pick up information and display it on the screen with the output of what could happen," Wilkinson said.

    Photo credit: IBM

  • IBM Extreme Blue Smart Cursor

    Each group included three technical students and one business intern, so that they could come up with a business plan as well as a product.

    One team worked on developing technologies for accessibility and came up with this Smart Cursor. The device uses a sensor (pictured) that can be calibrated and set according to user-defined movements. For instance, swiping the cursor left could move the cursor left, while rotating it could be made to indicate a click.

    It is designed for individuals who, due to disability or preference, want to tweak the way they interact with their devices.

    "The objective is to produce a system which may be calibrated and adapts to the particular daily limitations of the user," IBM said. "We envisage the product having applications across a spectrum of contexts — including RSI prevention, injury rehabilitation and tremor recognition."

    Photo credit: IBM

Topic: Emerging Tech

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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