All the laboratory work on the course Physics for Computing is conducted in the Hardware Physics Laboratory on the first floor of the N4 wing at North Spine. Since I spent some serious time in this lab it is worth mentioning.
This lab is huge (compared to similar labs at Umeå University) and is based on workplaces where all students have some fixed equipment at each station and the lab specific equipment is placed at each station for the individual labs. The lab is more or less two parts with 33+32 workstations. Half of these workstations are booked by thesis students and projects, while the other half is used for coursework, mostly on undergraduate courses. This is why the lab groups on the course are between 25-30 students.
Now to the best part. The lab has a reception desk and technical staff that helps out during the laboratory work and are in charge of all the equipment and setting up the individual lab sessions. Behind the reception all technical staff have their desks, equipment and preparation space.
Each lab session on Physics for Computing is two hours. During this time the students set up the equipment, solve the problems, record the answers and get examined. Fast paced, but nice that the students actually go through the lab in a controlled environment and it is possible to know, as a teacher, that each student have solved the problems. Very organised, but also very efficient if 400+ students are passing though each lab. The examination is either by showing the results, by handing in a short form with questions or a combination of these. Each lab was rewarded with 5 marks. During this time one of the technical staff is on site, helping out with the lab and any technical issues that can (and will) occur.
On Physics for Computing there were four labs:
- Lab 1: Using a combination of Leap Motion and Unity to create a simple working interface (show how optics can be used within CS/CE)
- Lab 2: Using Arduino to build and program a simple NFC reader (show electromagnetic fields)
- Lab 3: Using Muse headband to study and record EEG and Alpha waves from the brain (show brain-computer interfaces)
- Lab 4: Using LEDs to determine its behavior and building simple circuits (show the use of electronics and semiconductors)
A huge thanks to the wonderful Priscilla, Laboratory Manager, and the amazing Lee that have supported me through the semester. Without you guys and your hard work, it would have been way harder for me 🙂