Refurbishment of CITER's outreach activity "operation man"

4 October 2017

The newly refurbished CITER
The newly refurbished CITER "operation man" outreach activity

Over the summer of 2017 the CITER "operation man" which forms part of CITER’s outreach activities, was refurbished as part of a joint application for a Cardiff University Student Education Innovation Project (CUSEIP) award between Dr Rhys Pullin School of Engineering, Dr Sion Coulman School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Dr Sophie Gilbert School of Biosciences.

CITER was awarded £1800 to employ an undergraduate from the School of Engineering for eight weeks over the summer to refurbish the "operation man" and a budget of £500 was allocated to this project.

The "operation man" (named Glyn) outreach activity is in its seventh year and was designed by Professor Arwyn Jones, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Dr Bob Steadman, School of Medicine as part of a public engagement award sponsored by the EPSRC. This was to support the CITER public engagement activities at the 2010 and 2011 National Eisteddfod of Wales Tissue Engineering for Human Healing” exhibition.

“It’s great that Glyn has now undergone successful surgery and let’s hope he is still free to entertain, teach and engage for many years to come" (Professor Arwyn Jones)

Op man
"Operation Man" positioned on a plinth before its refurbishment

Ben Mason an undergraduate student was employed to undertake this project with the aims being to improve it's portability and to make the electronics more robust.

The initial configuration had the mannequin attached to a large wooden plinth which required multiple people and a van to transport making it difficult to take to events. At these events the electronics repeatedly failed, a frustrating event for those running the activity.

The first part of the project concentrated on reverse engineering the existing system, and specifying any new components. The electronics were removed and a schematic drawn, with a new circuit drawn up and sent to the workshop to be milled and produced. New components were ordered including a controller from National Instruments and a camp bed to replace the plinth.

With these steps complete the base goals had been addressed; therefore the project scope was expanded to include writing new code with different outputs depending on which area of the mannequin had been contacted. LabVIEW was used to write a simple programme as this programme works perfectly with the controller.

The last stage of the project was to have the mannequin repainted and have the entire activity looking brand new.

operation man poster
Poster displayed at the CITER Annual Scientific Meeting 2017 outlining the refurbishment project as part of a CUSEIP.

The refurbished "operation man" was unveiled as part of the open-house outreach session at the recent CITER Annual Scientific Meeting. As part of the meeting Ben displayed his poster outlining the stages of the project and was available to speak to members. Ben enjoyed having the opportunity to work on this project...

"I have had a great opportunity to work with external companies, to engage in self-learning with the code, and working across different departments. All of these presented new challenges and I’m sure they will prove to be invaluable for my continuing studies. I wholeheartedly suggest the CUSEIP scheme to other students looking for a way of enriching their time studying in Cardiff.

if you are interested in this outreach activity please contact:

CITER office