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Real Time Lab, Cambridge

26 - 30 January 2015 @ Anglia Ruskin University

Artists get to grips with the Internet of Things using ARM's mbed system

RealTimeLab was hosted at Anglia Ruskin University within the CoDE research institute run by Dr Rob Toulson. The programme was funded by Arts Council England, Anglia Ruskin University and University of Cambridge Museums. In kind support was received from the ARM mBed IoT team in Cambridge.

Real Time Lab brought together eight European artists from a range of disciplines to engage in an intensive week of activity focussed on the emerging worlds of locative media and internet of things. A key point for the lab was to combine peer interaction with practical development of pilot projects. Artists attending gained insight into each other’s work including data visualisation, graphics for television, performance art, political engagement and site specific responses.

Created with flickr slideshow.

A fundamental component of the lab was to combine considerations of locality along with previous projects undertaken by guest artists. Umbrellium (Usman Haque and Andrew Chetty) presented their site specific work and Vaiva Kalnikaite from Dovetailed talked about her company’s recent projects. This gave artists insights into large scale work, as well as novel interests such as 3D printed fruit.

The artists were based in one of the main studios at Anglia Ruskin Studio for the week, with access to excellent equipment and an open layout space. Collusion worked with ARM and Dr Rob Toulson to develop a structure that opened up the mBed and Nordic SDK systems to artists. 

  • Day one focused on introductions and the presentation from/discussion with Umbrellium 

  • Day two involved an overview workshop in sensing devices, mBed architecture and coding. Plus a guided walk along Mill Road from the City Council's Mill Road Coordinator, Ceri Anne Littlechild, followed by the presentation from Dovetailed.

  • Days three and four, led by Jonny Austin from ARM involved more in depth development with C++, Nordic SDK nRF51822 kits and prototyping. Rohit Grover from ARM worked with Jonny and Rob to develop artists’ projects towards concepts. 

  • On day five, the resulting projects included a potential use of BLE (bluetooth low energy) in disused ordinance survey beacons dotted around the UK, several projects that considered the potential of localised beacon information along Mill Road (in Cambridge) and an artificial intelligence adaptation of the Buddha Machine. The final work was presented to representatives from Cambridge’s art, museums and tech sector. 

Collusion anticipates developing the lab and project work in a stage two programme for 2015.

The participating artists were: Kristen BjaastadJesc BunyardJon ClairBriony Clarke, Stefanos Kourtis, Tom LittleStefanie Posevic, and Markus Soukup

Thanks to our colluders!

Collusion worked with Dr Rob Toulson at ARU's Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute (CoDE) and with Jonathan Austin from ARM's BLE mbed team on the development and delivery of RealTimeLab.

We are delighted to be receiving financial support for this project from


Collusion agency works with Internet of Things experts from ARM at real-time lab

Cambridge News