Design Engineering
Showcase

Imperial College London & Siemens Healthineers

Student
Marcus Melconian
Team
Audio Experience Design // Innovation Think Tank MP
Supervisor
Dr Hamed Haddadi
Role
Undergraduate Researcher // Innovation Think Tank Fellow
Sector
Technology, Media and Telecommunications

Two placements were completed within my Industrial Placement module. The first a 2-month Research position within the Audio Experience Design (AXP) team at ICL, and the second a 3-month Fellowship position at Siemens Healthineers Innovation Think Tank (ITT), in Erlangen, Germany.

At AXP, I created a VR application for auditory training of sound localisation, speech perception, and auditory proprioception, of teenage bi-lateral Cochlear Implant users. At ITT, I contributed to 16 projects during my 12-week position. My primary individual project, based around 5G interfacing with radiology devices, also resulted in the writing of an 11-page research manuscript for journal publication.

 — Imperial College London & Siemens Healthineers

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

At AXP, I conducted a deep dive into the areas of motivational behavioural science within gamification, to create a form of gamification which can heighten teenage user learning abilities, speeds, and long-term engagement with the application. This stemmed via an insight from literature analysis, which highlighted inconsistencies with teenage auditory training within a gamified VR environment.

This deep dive identified two key elements of gamification: extrinsic rewards (i.e. points, badges, power-ups, and collectables) and intrinsic motivation (i.e human factors like autonomy, mastery, and purpose). If only extrinsic rewards are utilised, the player’s cognitive skillset can be narrowed, and it’s possible no significant training improvements will be seen. Therefore, I designed the core of my VR application ‘Kokoro’ around these intrinsic motivation factors, with extrinsic reward elements in support.

The final ‘teaser’ video of Kokoro can be found below for viewing, showcasing gameplay from all 3 levels.

Besides core project work, ITT impacted my fundamental design engineering skillset by refining my definition of innovation through the ‘Innovation Think Tank Approach’. The ITT approach is adaptable to changing workflow environments and includes the following stages for accelerating innovation life cycles: Problem identification in an observation, Root cause analysis, Identifying interdependencies, Stakeholder engagement, Big picture creation, Conception via trans-disciplinary expertise, Decision proposition creation, and Implementation cycles optimisation.

This approach is visualised in the graphic below and was implemented in practice throughout all my ITT project work.

 — Imperial College London & Siemens Healthineers
The Innovation Think Tank Approach

Role and Contributions

My 8-week placement as an Undergraduate Researcher at AXP can be summarised into 3 key contributions:

  • Created the VR application 'Kokoro' - a platform for training and assessment of key auditory aspects: sound localisation, speech perception, and auditory proprioception, for teenage bilateral Cochlear Implant (CI) users. Developed using Unity, C#, and the HTC Vive. The images below visualise the 3 stages of the Kokoro application.
  • Conducted state-of-the-art research into using ambisonic audio with Unity and the ability to use custom loudspeaker configurations with the Kokoro application.
  • Documented and presented all work, including: The fully working Kokoro Unity project, a Kokoro documentation pdf, an ambisonics research pdf, a 20-minute Kokoro playthrough video, and a 2-minute Kokoro 'teaser' video.

My 12-week placement as an Innovation Think Tank Fellow at ITT MP (Mechatronic Products) can be summarised into the following major contributions:

  • Led work on a project innovating 5G interfacing with radiology devices. I conducted state-of-the-art research related to 5G communication and radiology workflows, developed a system level network design for a private 5G hospital network, designed a novel interfacing and network stack architecture for a collimator radiology device, created a new novel radiology workflow resulting from these 5G interventions, and wrote a research manuscript for journal publication.
  • Conducted state-of-the-art research and novel ideation across areas including: mammography biopsy automation, biometric sensors, patient experience, respiratory guidance, medical imaging (CT, MRI), healthcare robotics, and collimator automation.
  • Aided in the development of a C# Xamarin Windows tablet application for patient documentation within an advanced therapies project scope.
  • Led early phase work into the development of a hybrid visual-physical model of a hospital and factory floor.
  • Represented ITT MP in running a Biometric Ecosystem workshop by presenting, discussing, and ideating biometric sensing technologies with industry professionals.
  • Contributed work to the eITT 2020 exhibition, with a focus on disease pathways and COVID-19, showcased to an array of industry professionals globally. Check out the exhibition page here.

As direct imagery of project work can't be shown, the images below visualise some of my explorations across Bavaria.

Summary

The completion of my placements at AXP and ITT has evolved my technical understanding across a range of engineering fields, refined my definition of innovation, and advanced my confidence working with multi-national cultures. To future students, I would highly recommend a placement abroad. The ‘soft skills’ learnt whilst working within an entirely new culture are invaluable, as well as the unique environment for technical development and personal discovery. For any future questions, please feel free to drop me a line.

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