Showcase of innovation returns to the University of Northampton

Date 4.06.2024

Health, education, and the latest marketing insights will be the focus of Merged Futures 6 when it returns to the Learning Hub at the University of Northampton (UON) on Friday 14 June.

Organisers hope to build upon last year’s event which saw around 200 people tour exhibits and take part in workshops showcasing the work of university students and local firms on the leading edge of digital innovation.

This year’s keynote speakers are Rebecca Gill from VR Therapies who will be talking about how virtual reality can transform people’s lives, Nicola Holland from Billing Brook School who will be showing how VR technology can help support children to travel independently, and Pedro Santos from West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) who will be showcasing how VR is used in care homes.

Rob Howe, UON’s Head of Learning Technology said: “One of the University’s core strategy aims is to have a positive social impact and we’re excited to showcase how our students and academics have been experimenting and advancing the understanding of some of the latest technology and how it is having a positive impact on our community.”

Richard Beards, Innovation Manager, WNC, said: “We’re all looking forward to showcasing many of the local stories of innovation we have found this year and, in many cases, have commissioned and collaborated on.

“There’s a real momentum building locally, with the talent coming out of the University, the Vulcan Works in the town centre thriving with new tech start-ups and events, new collaborations sparking off each other, it’s a good time to come and see a lot of this on show at #mergedfutures6”

Other highlights of Merged Futures 6 include:

  • Dr Mu Mu, UON’s Professor of Human-Centred Data Intelligence who will share how a team of game developers, VR designers and psychologists from UON, St Andrews Healthcare and Cardinal Clinic came together to make treatment for anxiety and depression more accessible,
  • Hilary Edughele, a PhD candidate at UON will discuss how eye-tracking technology is used in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, emphasising how these systems can help people with severe physical disabilities communicate.
  • UON Marketing Lecturer Elisha Dignam will delve into the paradox between consumers’ demand for personalised experiences and their apprehensions surrounding data privacy and manipulation.
  • Becky Carrier from Northampton Film Festival will talk about a promotional film for the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup which gave employment skills to students with learning difficulties from The Beehive School in Northampton.
  • Suraj Kika CEO at Jadu will be talking about how they are working with WNC to improve systems which support some of the community’s most vulnerable children.
  • ‘Streets of change’ documentary and virtual reality experience about homelessness, addiction and recovery which demonstrates the power of storytelling in driving social change.

Attend the whole free event between 10:00 and 16:00 or just drop into selected sessions over the day. For a full list of speakers and exhibitors and the opportunity to sign up, please visit the Digital Northants website.