GradEX 2018 showcases student talent

“In a fatal case, the fitness tracker would be able to identify the time of death. Identifying an accurate timeline can have a huge impact on a police investigation and could ultimately help to catch a criminal.”

Nadine Jones, BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation

Could a fitness tracker solve a crime? Should we swap toothbrushes for sticks? What happens when musical comedy meets nuclear apocalypse? All will be revealed at Staffordshire University's student exhibition GradEX this week.

The annual event, taking place on Friday 4 May, showcases exciting final year projects from over 400 Computing, Digital Technologies, Engineering, Policing and Science students.

Industry judges will award prizes to the best student work and a host of employers will also attend the event, which often leads to genuine job offers and career opportunities. Members of the public are also encouraged to visit the exhibition.

Nadine Jones, 27 from West End in Stoke-on-Trent, left school with no A Levels but is now studying BSc (Hons) Forensic Investigation after completing a foundation degree. Her project examines how metrics from fitness trackers such as the wearer's heart-rate could be used to inform criminal investigations.

The research has been published in the CSI Journal and has received interest from both Staffordshire and Cheshire Police forces.

Nadine explained: “I based my investigation on a mock scenario where someone was assaulted. The data from the fitness tracker showed when the victim's heartrate increased and helped to pinpoint the time of the attack.

“In a fatal case, the fitness tracker would also be able to identify the time of death. Identifying an accurate timeline can have a huge impact on a police investigation and could ultimately help to catch a criminal.”

Biomedical Science student Moushumi Khan's project investigates whether we should ditch regular toothbrushes in favour of a stick endorsed by the Prophet Muhammad 1400 years ago.

The miswak stick, from the salvadora persica tree, is commonly used in Muslim communities and Moushumi's research measured levels of anti-oxidants in the sticks, mechanical usability and effectiveness at removing stains.

Moushumi, 23 from Fenton, said: “I tested how well the stick removed food stains including strawberry and banana residue from white tiles and discovered that it was 75% effective – more than a normal toothbrush.

“The structure of the stick provides more pressure and consequently cleans more effectively. They also contain various natural anti-oxidants.”

There was also positive response from 20 volunteers who trialled the sticks, rating ease of use and how clean their teeth felt.

“I would definitely recommend that people swap toothbrushes for miswak sticks. They are a cheap, environmentally friendly alternative and this research proves that they clean better too.”

In the Cadman TV studios, Film Production Technology students Rich Gibbon. 22 from Carlisle, and Claire Petty, 22 from Cornwall, will premiere 30-minute nuclear comedy musical 'When the Bombs Came Down'.

Shot at B'Arts in Stoke, the film follows four middle-class women who are suddenly thrown into an apocalyptic world.

Rich explained: “The idea came to me at 4am in the morning. The only way to survive is to sing and dance. Instead of fighting, they have dance-offs!”

Rich penned the songs for the musical with Music Production student Alexander Earle. The cast features actors from across the country and the 25-strong crew was made up of fellow students at the university.

“Making a film of this scale was challenging but luckily other students from film and music courses offered to help. People just came out of the woodwork – there were a lot of first years which was great.”

The pair are planning to enter the film into festivals across Europe and hope it will act as a springboard for their careers.

Rich added: “It's quite a quirky premise for a film and will hopefully grab peoples' attention. It would be amazing if the film got picked up and led to something more.”

GradEX takes place on Friday 4 May, 10.00am – 12.30pm and 1.00pm – 2.00pm at Staffordshire University's College Road site - visit the website for more information.

The full catalogue of student projects can be accessed online here.