Off the Lip 2016
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    Plymouth University

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CogNovo is a multi-national doctoral training network that offers research training in Cognitive Innovation, both as a new field of scientific investigation and as a strategy for research and innovation.

Throughout the year the 25 PhD students and almost 50 associated internal and external researchers at CogNovo develop new ideas, run experiments, discuss results, and present them at conferences and workshops all over the world. Last year, at Off the Lip 2015, we invited some world class researchers from the USA, India, Europe and all over the UK to our academic conference.

This year, the CogNovians invite you to Off the Lip 2016 to show some of our results via a series of workshops, interactive sessions, performances and bazaar, which need YOUR participation!

The CogNovo Manufactory will take place on the evenings of 20 and 21 October. Kicking off with a talk on the illusory nature of vision (talk will feature real-life raptors!) it will be followed by a series of workshops ranging from vocalising the brain to imperfect virtual reality and vibrating clothing! 

Come to the CogNovo Bizarre Bazaar during the day on 22 October where you can hear yourself breathing, dance with your fingers, make friends with a robot and watch brain waves sing. In the evening join the Fantasy Orchestra and CogNovians for a special CogJam event in the Red House.

All are welcome to these free workshops (see details below). 

Visit the Eventbrite booking page for all OTLip16 workshops.

Please note that under 18s need to have a parent/guardian present to attend.

A note about Eventbrite bookings

All workshops are available to book online via Eventbrite. Eventbrite is a third-party data capture tool which is not owned or managed by Plymouth University. Information about how your data is treated can be found on Eventbrite’s Privacy Policy webpage. If you wish to attend this event but do not wish to use Eventbrite to book your place, please contact

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Today's events

Cognovo Manufactory 

Thursday 20 October 

6pm-7pm: Seeing is believing: You are not a camera (venue: Jill Craigie Cinema, Roland Levinsky Building)

Nothing in vision is as it seems. Vision has evolved over millions of years to benefit survival - not to represent physical reality. The more we learn about vision, the more we realise nothing is as it seems. Join Professor Chris Harris (and eagle) for the key note Off The Lip 2016 talk. Refreshments provided at this free event.

7pm-9pm: Imperfect VR

In this free workshop we will create fun, quirky and imperfect VR with A-Frame and Google Cardboard. To take part, you do not need to have any prior experience in programming but you will need to bring a laptop and a recent smartphone. 

Book your place

7pm-9pm: Fantasy Orchestra

Jesse Vernon, Director of the Fantasy Orchestra will lead a series of vocal workshops, where you will explore repetition, harmonies and the effect that communal singing can have on your brain waves. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to perform at the Bizarre Bazaar. 

Book your place 

7pm-9pm: What do we do when we draw?

In this workshop we will see what happens when we draw on film and project it. What happens when what we draw is transformed by a machine to become a fleeting image – is this still our mark? When we understand what changes in projection can we develop a skill so that we have some control over the experience of the viewer?

Book your place

7pm-9pm: Haplós: Vibrating Clothing for Wellbeing and Play

Experience what it's like to wear vibrating clothing that you can control and program! Haplós is an experimental wearable device aimed at helping users of the device to sense themselves better. 

Book your place

7pm-9pm: The art of deception, an introduction to Sly-Chi

Magician Stuart Nolan will host a workshop that will explore slight-of-hand conjuring and leading attention as well as demonstrating some of the methods he has developed with sports people that can help us develop skills to resist deception. 

Book your place

For all workshops, meet at Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building at 7pm.

Cognovo Manufactory 

Friday 21 October

6pm-9pm: Learn to control a robot before it controls you!

In this introductory workshop you will get a basic understanding how to program a robot. 

During this hands on session you will create a programme that will be loaded on one of the robots that are used for research here at Plymouth University.

Book your place

6pm-9pm: Ideomotor drawing workshop, reading minds and muscles

What do spiritualist séances, lie detection and mathematically gifted pigs have in common? The phenomenon of ideomotor movement, a psychological enigma in the 19th Century has a colourful history. 

Magician Stuart Nolan will host a drawing workshop that will explore the phenomenon of these unconscious, micro muscle movements and how we can read, record, and technologically detect them.

Book your place

6pm-9pm: What do we do when we draw?

In this second workshop we will explore what happens when we involve our body and mind in the drawing process.

Book your place

6pm-9pm: Fantasy Orchestra

The second of two vocal workshops, led by Jesse Vernon, Director of the Fantasy Orchestra, where you will explore repetition, harmonies and the effect that communal singing can have on your brain waves. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to perform at the Bizarre Bazaar.

Book your place

6pm-9pm: Multisensory Wine Tasting (venue: Mary Newman's Cottage, Saltash)

Winemakers and sommeliers have known for a long time about the link between olfactory and taste, but surprisingly little research has been done on this in the past. We have invited one of the leading experts from the research community to host a workshop for you that will give you some background on the interplay between the different senses in regards to wine.

Book your place (NB: this event is open to over 18s only - ID required)

6pm-9pm: Haplós: Vibrating Clothing for Wellbeing and Play

Experience what it's like to wear vibrating clothing that you can control and program! Haplós is an experimental wearable device aimed at helping users of the device to sense themselves better.

Book your place

For all workshops except the wine tasting, meet at Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building at 6pm.

Cognovo Bizarre Bazaar 

Saturday 22 October: 11am-3pm, Crosspoint, Roland Levinsky Building 

All welcome, especially families and students.

Finger music

While playing an air guitar requires years of practice and doesn't produce any sounds, this installation is the opposite: you can learn how to play in just a few seconds and, with a little practice, you can delight your audience. Wearing a pair of gloves, each movement of your hand and fingers is detected and translated into sound. You will be amazed how quickly your hands will learn the sounds of different patterns and how quickly meaningful melodies will emerge. Let your imagination and fingers go wild – at the end it might look like air guitar, but it will certainly sound better.

Would you trust this robot?

Do you think you can trust a robot? Especially the small, cute one over there at the gambling table who is waving at you? Well, you might want to find out! Our little friend would like to play a game with you. But don't worry, we will provide the fake money and you can decide how much you will give to NAO.

Sound games

Are you a famous composer, but currently stuck with a writers block? But even if you are not – this collective improvisation is a great way to compose a musical piece as part of a group. Just grab your smartphone, install the app, and start moving around our space. You will receive mystical instruments, learn how to play them on your smartphone, interact with your fellow musicians – and play a game at the same time.

Tuning in

Singing in the shower does not involve a lot of coordination, except maybe in keeping your balance! On the other hand singing in a choir can be a difficult process. Whilst singing itself requires a lot of training, exercising it in synchronicity with other singers should be nearly impossible . Nevertheless humans, with just a little bit of practice, are very good at doing this. Part of this choir has never met before their first workshop evening this Thursday, but they will prove to you that coordination can easily be learned. Two of them will even let you have a look inside their brains to see how much the brain rhythms are synchronised.

The sound of chocolate

Did you ever notice that your food tastes so much better when you are happy? And do you have a song that makes you happy? Why not combine the both? We know it is a bit of cheating since chocolate makes most people happy, but we invited two guys from the land of chocolate – Belgium – to prove this idea to you. They designed a combination of sounds and chocolate for you that will make you want the Bizarre Bazaar last forever. And will make you happy.

Distorted dimension

Virtual Reality is one of the new and emerging technologies that promises to change the world in the near future. Big companies invest millions in this technology, it is part of the popular culture in books and movies, and everyone wants to see what this virtual reality is like. Here at the Bizarre Bazaar you can, and you might be surprised what you see - and feel. You will not only encounter an interactive sculpture and some 'real' data, but also your own moral self when you are asked to do the right thing.

A space to wonder - collective improvisation with sound and movement

Up in the clouds, or rather in third floor of the Roland Levinsky Building, a special interactive attraction is waiting for you. You will be asked to wear a sensor – and then you can enter an empty space and sense what happens next!

Close and personal with social robots

During the Bizarre Bazaar you will have an opportunity to meet social robots and learn how building social robots gives us an insight on how the human mind works. The human mind, for all its complexity and amazing feats, something is an almost automatic machine. This certainly is so when dealing with the social world: our brain automatically latches on to all things social, including robots. Roboticists will be on hand to demonstrate a range of robots, and to run experiments with you.

HAPLÓS/Bisensorial EXHIBIT: A speculative, adaptive, and wearable technology for inducing mental states using touch

How might cognitive wellness and therapeutic practices look in the future? Can mental discord be treated autonomously? Given that people are different and will therefore need different interventions, how can autonomous brain based therapy technologies be tailored to suit the needs of individuals at any given time? Have a look at one potential future of therapeutic treatment and what this future looks like right now.

Listen to yourself looking

Our eyes scan the world extracting information form the visual scene, often without our conscious control. In this project we turn those 'saccadic' eye movements into sounds. We invite you to view pictures on a screen and listen to the sounds of your eye movements. The sounds you hear will depend on when and where you look, and the visual patterns your eyes focus on when they pause.

Virtual Reality tadpole tail

In this hi-tech pond-dipping experiment, get closer to nature through data. Watch and interact with our Virtual Reality visualisation of a biologically realistic anatomical and functional model of an African Claw-Toed Frog Tadpole’s spinal cord.


Step into a mixed reality world with your smartphone and play KlingKlangKlong, a location-based, multi-player audio experience.

The exciting Synesthesia machine

People who have Synesthesia often experience words and numbers as colours, elaborate structures, or even scents. Step inside one of the machine booths and two players can experience a union of the senses from two separate locations using interactive visual and audio technology.

Artificial smiling voice

Communication is so much more than just words, it consists of grammar, posture, tone – and smiles. This exhibition will allow you listen to a number of manipulated artificial voices and see how much smiling you would attribute to these voices. 

Drone with desires

Watch land listen out for our winged intelligence model – a drone with desires - that decides where to travel using an artificial neural network based on a magnetic resonance image scan of artist Agatha Haines’ brain. 

Conversation piece

Conversations are amazing! Although we usually find the experience enjoyable and even relaxing, if you think about what is involved, then the pleasures of conversation may seem rather surprising. In "Conversation Piece", we will transform your conversations into music so you can hear the amazing world of sound you create when talking with someone else.

FIT with NAO

Have you ever seen a robot work out? While this would be quite easy to program, but mostly useless for the robot, it is much more interesting, difficult, and useful to have a robot help you working out. And this is exactly what FIT with NAO is about: our researcher do not only have a robot helping you in strengthening you positive imagery, but they also know why this works from a scientific point of view. So please come and have a look at this demonstration video of FIT.

Cheap tele-operated robot arm project (CHAP)

Robots are very useful – and very expensive. Building a robot can easily cost many thousands or even millions, especially if they are not just going to look cute, but will actually assist you or do some useful work. Also most robot companies will keep their robot design a secret and (re-)develop everything, instead of sharing their knowledge. This CHAP addresses both of these problems: it is aimed at developing a design for a tele-operated mobile manipulator costing less than £5000. The design is developed at Plymouth University and will be open source for anyone to build and improve.

Fitting a population's visual preferences into an artificial intelligence

How can a computer possibly learn which images look nice and what pictures are just … not so? Sending each of them to art school might not do the trick and their hardware will be outdated by the time they graduate anyway….so can we rely on AI to teach a computer to be an art critic?

Event photography and video
Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events may be attended by University photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If for whatever reason, you or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed, please make yourself known to staff working at the event on arrival or to the photographer.