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Cambridge and Nokia Bell Labs establish new research centre to advance AI-supported multi-sensory personal devices

Computer code. Image by Markus Spiske

Nokia Bell Labs is a founding partner of the new Centre for Mobile, Wearable Systems and Augmented Intelligence, to be based in Cambridge’s world-leading Department of Computer Science and Technology. The Centre will advance state-of-the-art mobile systems, security, new materials, and artificial intelligence (AI) to address one of the main human needs – the ability to communicate better with each other.

The collaboration pairs two innovation powerhouses. Nokia Bell Labs in Cambridge conducts research on novel sensors based on emerging materials, embedded and network intelligence, and computational social science. The University’s Department of Computer Science and Technology is expert in analysing mobile data and systems research in real world applications with quantifiable impact.

Research into mobile, wearable and augmented intelligence systems

The research jointly conducted in the new Centre will redefine the way people interact with the digital and physical world. Areas of focus include precise, predictive and personalised medicine, digital, physical, mental, and social well-being, and sensory human communication experiences beyond visual and audio. The Centre will be directed by Cecilia Mascolo, Professor of Mobile Systems, and Alastair Beresford, Reader in Computer Security.

“The new Centre provides support for high-quality, long-term research into mobile, wearable and augmented intelligence systems in Cambridge,” said Professor Mascolo. “In addition, the Centre will also engage with other researchers across the UK and abroad. We will formally launch the new Centre with a research symposium later in the year, with researchers drawn from across the UK and beyond.”

“Mobile systems have transformed our lives and evolved dramatically over the last 20 years,” said Dr Beresford. “However, there are many big changes to come, and our research will ensure we have the right technical solutions as well as appropriate safeguards available.”

Establishing a dynamic research community

The Centre will be used to establish a vibrant research community, and support Nokia Bell Labs PhD Studentships as well as postdoctoral researchers over the next five years. It will also support the wider research community with a range of events, workshops and seminars. The official opening and first academic research symposium will take place in September.

Markus Hofmann, Head of Applications, Platforms and Software Systems Research at Nokia Bell Labs said: “We are very excited to participate in the creation of this new Centre at Cambridge. We look forward to solving the key technical challenges as we move towards our shared goal – to provide people with enhanced awareness of their world, to help them better sense and interpret their digital and physical environment, to enable the long-distance exchange of people’s emotions and perceptions, to augment and improve the human experience in a digitally connected world.”

Julie Byrne, Head of External Collaboration Programs at Nokia Bell Labs, said: “We established our Distinguished Academic Partner Program to bring together the best and brightest minds to solve human need challenges by delivering disruptive innovations. We are delighted to be a founding partner of this new Centre and to bring the world-leading Department of Computer Science and Technology at Cambridge to our collaboration program.”


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The long-sought dream of wearable and mobile devices that will interpret, replicate and influence people’s emotions and perceptions will soon be a reality thanks to a collaboration between the University and Nokia Bell Labs.

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