ECE prides itself on having some of the most up to date and extensive resources available for undergraduate and post-graduate students. ECE has a number of bespoke laboratories, studios and workshop areas which you will use for timetabled classes, and for your own work outside of class.
- The Reconfigurable Innovative Manufacturing Laboratory
- Digital Electronics Laboratory & Embedded Systems Laboratory
- Electronics Laboratory
- Optics Laboratory
- Control Laboratory
- Media Laboratory
- RF and Optical Laboratory
- Sustainable Electrical Power Laboratory (SEPlab)
Systems Engineering Research Lab
On this reconfigurable manufacturing platform we research and development solutions:
- Real-Time Manufacturing and Process Monitoring and Control Systems
- Test and develop online inspection solutions.
- Tracking and Traceability of products and resources.
- Discrete Event Simulation for production process analysis and optimisation.
- Test and Innovate new monitoring and process control optimisation tools.
- Integration of low level shopfloor data with higher end industry-based performance measurements.
- In-House Performance Analysis and Optimisation Software Tools.
The technologies we currently use and continuously expand on:
Various Industrial Sensors, Sensor Networks, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies, Control Networks, Embedded Control, Programmable Logic Controllers (Siemens and Rockwell Automation Suites), Discrete Event Simulation Software (e.g. Arena), SCADA, Labview, MatLab, in-house specialist software (e.g. satistica, Eventtracker, mobile data acquisition systems …), Industrial Automation, and Machine Tools integration.
First year undergraduate students on any of our Engineering degree programmes will use this laboratory to develop their digital electronics knowledge by learning to programme PICmicro and Altera microchips and incorporate them in a number of practical digital systems. Undergraduate workshop modules include weekly sessions in this laboratory for students to learn how to use the most up to date software design and circuit simulation tools and put into practice theory that they have learnt in the corresponding lecture courses.
The state-of-the-art Embedded Systems Lab is used by undergraduates and postgraduates from Electronic & Computer Engineering. The lab is equipped with FPGA boards, stereo cameras, DSP boards, as well as signal generators and oscilloscopes. Students have access to the lab in order to attend lab sessions as well as work on their assignments or undergraduate and post-graduate projects. Teaching and experiments in the lab include advanced topics of reconfigurable hardware, such as VHDL, hardware compilation, design security, low-power designs, etc.
The students develop applications as they are taught in lectures and have the opportunity to express their creativity by building embedded systems with impressive functionalities. In order to perfect their skills in Hardware embedded systems and their analysis, students have access to software tools like XILINX Integrated Synthesis Environment, TI Code Composer Studio, and Matlab.
First year undergraduate students on any of our Electronic Engineering degree programmes will spend some time each week in the Level 1 Electronics Laboratory. This laboratory space contains an array of up to date equipment that students will learn to use. They will develop their practical circuit building skills and put into practice the circuit analysis techniques that they have learnt in lectures. The laboratory is also used by second year undergraduate students to build and test prototype electronic systems before manufacturing their final circuit layouts to complete their Level 2 electronics design projects.
A custom built pulsed, doubled-YAG green laser with a long coherence length and 2 ns duration pulses is used for recording digital holograms of small particles such as vapour bubbles, seeds or plankton. In this picture you see the rear panel of the laser, the beam expander, shutter and the large-area, high-dynamic range CCD camera which records the hologram for subsequent computer replay.
The state-of-the-art Control Engineering Systems lab is used by undergraduates and postgraduates from both Electronic & Computer Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Here students experience and see real applications of the theory of automatic control as taught in the lectures. As well as introductory labs on dc servo motors seen here, students can experiment with advanced equipment such as the inverted pendulum, control servomechanism trainers linked to PC’s, ball and hoop equipment, ball and beam equipment, process trainers, function generators, coupled water tanks, MIMO rotor set, helicopter control, mobile robots including a balancing ball-robot, automatic bicycle and many others. These systems demonstrate a range of more advanced topics such as non-linear control, multivariable control, fuzzy control and the use of neural networks in control. Most experiments make use of or are integrated with MATLAB and Simulink.
This is the main labspace of the Centre for Media Communications Research which houses state of the art facilities for the capturing, processing and visualisation of 2D/3D visual information. These facilities include a stereoscopic video projection system, various contemporary 3D displays as well as high-end multimedia capable processors. The lab is also home to around 10 researchers (PhD and post-doctoral Research Fellows) with full desk space capacity and networked computing resources.
Measurement facilities in this lab concentrate on wireless communication systems, reconfigurable antenna designs, Radio Over Fibre systems and Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) systems. These facilities include;
- Network Analysers
- Spectrum Analysers
- Antenna Design Facilities
- DVB-T Broadcast Facilities
- Reconfigurable MIMO systems
- Vector Signal Generator (Baseband, Digital standards: GSM/EDGE, 3GPP FDD, IEEE 801.11 (a/b/g), IEEE 802.16, EUTRA/LTE)
- Signal Analyser (Analysis of GSM, EDGE and EDGE evolution signals, 3GPP-FDD base station signals incl. HSPA+, WLAN 802.11a,b,g,j signals, WiMax 802.16 SISO signals, EUTRA/LTE FDD signals)
- Optical Spectrum Analyser
- Digital Oscilloscopes
- Fibre accessories such as Single mode, Multimode and Plastic Optical Fibre (POF), Optical Modulators, Optical Amplifiers, Couplers, WDM and 60 GHz LNA.
Simulation facilities include;
BIPS, ECE and the School of Engineering and Design are planning to support the development of new and existing UG & PG courses in the field of sustainable energy and power within ECE and SED. As a consequence of this initiative in February 2011 BIPS established the new SEP teaching and research laboratory facility (SEPlab located in TB005 Tower B) as a state-of-the-art facility comparable with other leading electrical and electronic engineering departments in high ranking UK Universities such as Imperial College, Manchester, Southampton and Bath. SEPlab provides an essential teaching and research facility to support the highly successful Sustainable Electrical Power MSc course that is taught by all members of BIPS.
The laboratory space and associated equipment is primarily used for teaching existing ECE (and SED) UG & PG courses in engineering disciplines such as electrical power, power electronics, control systems and mechatronics. The laboratory also has a BIPS related research area that currently consists of two benches that accommodate state of the art power systems engineering research equipment. A Phasor Measurement Unit and associated real-time power systems monitoring equipment was donated in 2011 to the research laboratory area by National Grid. The laboratory area also includes dedicated equipment for research on high-frequency Power Electronics that find application in special purpose power supplies, contactless RF heating, plasma excitation, wireless power transfer and other industrial applications. The laboratory facility is supported on a day-to-day basis by a dedicated ECE technician Mr Tony Wood who is based within the laboratory area and as such was responsible for the hands-on organisation of the moving, refurbishing and commissioning of the new laboratory facility. The newly located and refurbished laboratory facility required significant internal investment (approximately £330k in total) over the last 2-3 years. The cost of the refurbishment and move from the original laboratory space was around £105k and the move took place from December 2010 to February 2011 in order to minimise disruption to ongoing UG & PG teaching. In addition approximately £275k has been spent on new state-of-the-art teaching equipment over the same period of time. BIPS and ECE and BIPS will also apply for additional funding both internally and externally over the next three to five years in order to ensure that the laboratory facility remains state-of-the-art and becomes a centre of excellence both nationally and internationally.
With such improved postgraduate and undergraduate teaching facilities BIPS and ECE is also planning to continue to apply for Brunel University to be accepted to the IET Power Academy that currently consists of seven UK Universities that also includes Imperial College, Manchester, Southampton and Bath. The nationally recognised IET Power Academy is run in collaboration with industry and currently sponsors 70 power systems undergraduates in the UK per annum. The applicants and graduates from this scheme are typically of the highest calibre academically.
We pride ourselves on having some of the most up to date and extensive resources available for our undergraduate and post-graduate students. We have a number of bespoke studio and workshop areas which you will use for timetabled classes, and for your own work outside of class.
Digital Media invests heavily in resources in three broad categories, namely IT facilities (both software and hardware), dedicated spaces for production work, and media prodution equipment such as cameras, portable lighting and sound recording devices.
A number of specialist workspaces are used by digital media students. A motion capture and photographic darkroom area (pictured below, right), a green screen studio (top, left). In the green screen studio we have a number of high specification edit suites linked to a fibreoptic high-speed network for moving around large video and graphic files at high speed. In addition we have a sound-insulated recording studio for recording instrumentals, vocals and a booth for recording voiceovers.
As well as our IT and workshop resources, our students have access to a substantial array of media production equipment for project work. We currently have 20 HD video cameras for student use, all recording to solid state media, the majority of which are Sony XDCAM EX cameras. We also have about the same number of Nikon digital SLRs for still photography and a number of Zoom audio recorders. Other professional-standard equipment available to our students includes a RED ONE camera (one of very few RED cameras available in UK universities), tripods, portable lighting rigs, microphones, reflectors, diffusers, and lenses.
Sound Lab is a custom built "room inside a room" specifically designed to reduce noise spillage and create a professional space for recording sounds ranging from loud guitars to delicate violins and inspiring vocals. The studio utilises three rooms. A control room which records and mixes sounds fed from the main room and the isolation booth. A complex network of over 1 mile of assorted cables links each room to the control room for powerful communication and recording possibilities. The studio uses an assortment of hardware and software instruments and equipment to offer a wide range of options for sound recording and production. Recording, mixing, mastering, surround sound, synchronisation, live and MIDI enabled tasks are also possible. Sound Lab has been used for different projects ranging from Film, TV, multimedia, games, remixing, sonic arts and radio.