Staffordshire University celebrates 25 years of GradEX

Staffordshire University’s annual graduate exhibition is marking its 25th anniversary with a week-long celebration

GradEX 2024 logo

Graduate exhibition GradEX is celebrating its 25th anniversary

GradEX launched in 1999 at Staffordshire University’s former Beaconside campus in Stafford and has evolved significantly in recent years by involving students from study disciplines across the University – including those based at Staffordshire University London.

From 3 - 7 June, more than 500 students from a diverse range of subject areas will be showcasing their final year projects to potential employers. GradEX has also expanded its reach through an  online portal which is available to view throughout the summer.

Projects on show include innovative horror game FrightBeat created by Games Design student Thomas Whitelegg which adapts to the player’s heart rate.

“I have developed an immersive experience which uses heart rate to affect the game experience and keep the player on their toes!” explained the 21-year-old.

“Tackling the horror genre challenged me to consider elements of design that I hadn’t before such as the audio design to add juiciness to the scares. This was all while honing my gameplay design skills to effectively use the heart rate data and craft a unique experience.”

Forensic Investigation student Emma Mae Carter’s project looks at the visibility of subjects in night-time footage captured by Ring doorbell cameras. The 21-year-old will now be completing a 6-week digital forensic placement with Staffordshire Police over the summer.

She said: “Surveillance in digital forensics is ever changing and improving. However, there are some common issues that mean different surveillance devices are not as effective as they could be. Using three different Ring doorbells, I observed how distance as well as infrared and coloured night vision affected the visibility of branding on clothing items as well as a number plate of a car.

“I also explored how imaging software, Amped Five, could enhance subject visibility. These findings may be of police interest and could be integrated into existing knowledge within digital forensics.”

Computing student Arth Patel, 31, has developed a new app Sign-Scribe which uses advanced AI picture recognition technology to convert sign language into written text.

“In the evolving digital communication landscape, ensuring accessibility for sign language users is crucial,” he commented.

“This innovative tool aims to bridge the communication gap, enhancing online accessibility and empowering users in various contexts. Sign-Scribe promises to transform digital communication for individuals with hearing impairments, addressing communication challenges.”

Another project being exhibited is by aspiring sports therapist Rose Lockett who has developed a training programme for freestyle disco dancers which significantly helped to improve their jump height.

Rose, 31, said: “Dance as a sport is frequently overlooked, as are dancers as athletes. It has been discovered that dance training alone is insufficient to support dancers, and strength training should be included in their training.

“The reason for my project is that freestyle disco dancing is an under-researched subject. An exercise programme was implemented to see if it could improve jump height, speed, and change in direction ability in ADFP freestyle disco dancers.”

As part of its 20 Years of Games celebration, Staffordshire University is also hosting the prestigious Game Republic Student Showcase on Thursday 6 June. The annual event is shaping up to be the biggest yet with more than 150 students from 45 universities and colleges throughout the north showcasing designs and demos to industry giants.

Five final year teams from Staffordshire University will be competing to take home the top prize in seven categories: game art and animation; narrative design; game technology; level design; game design; game audio and best team.

All entries will be judged by games studio teams including Distinctive Games, Pitstop Productions, Rebellion North, Red Kite Games, Revolution Software, and Sumo Digital.

Discover more about GradEX and view the online portal at https://gradex.staffs.ac.uk/

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