Digital media design - resources

Smarter Lab Planet

Benefit from state of the art equipment and an innovative partnership with IBM.

The Smarter Planet Lab is an innovative collaboration between the BA/BSc (Hons) Digital Media Design course, i-DAT (the Digital Art & Technology research group) and information technology giant IBM.

The Lab is the first of its kind and consists of a specifically developed software and hardware system to experiment in the new field of ‘The Internet of Things’, exploring how this is transforming our relationship with the world, building a more sustainable and stable planet. The system connects open source Arduino boards, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and sensor systems and the enterprise IBM server platform. 

This partnership includes workshops (run with IBM visiting lecturers and experts), placement opportunities for DAT students, and the Smarter Planet Award Prize for the best final year project using IBM technologies in the context of the smarter planet vision. 

Find out more about the Smarter Planet Lab.

Immersive Vision Theatre

See your projects realised in surround sound and vision.

Plymouth's old William Day Planetarium (built in 1967) has been reborn as a 40 seat Immersive Vision Theatre (IVT). The 'Full Dome' architecture now houses a powerful high-resolution projector fitted with a 'fish eye' lens to wrap data, models, video and images around its inner surface. A second, even higher resolution, ultra-high contrast projector focuses an intensely detailed cutaway. The 10 speaker spatialised audio system enables the modelling of acoustic environments as well as playback through virtual speakers - more speakers than physically exist. 

The IVT is used for a range of activities and projects, from cross-disciplinary teaching to cutting edge research in modelling and visualisation.


Explore the life of a building.

Arch-OS is an ‘Operating System’ for contemporary architectures, which has been developed to represent the dynamic life of a building. On the Plymouth campus it’s installed in the Portland Square building.

Arch-OS systems (integrated hardware and software) incorporate a range of embedded technologies to capture audio-visual and raw digital data from a building through a variety of sources which include:

  • the Building Energy Management System (BEMS)
  • computer and communications networks
  • the flow of people and social interactions
  • ambient noise levels
  • environmental conditions.

This vibrant data is then manipulated and replayed through audio-visual projection systems incorporated within the fabric of the building and broadcast externally using streaming internet and FM radio technologies. By making the invisible and temporal aspects of a building tangible, Arch-OS creates a rich and dynamic set of opportunities for research, educational and cultural activities, as well as providing a unique and innovative work environment.

Find out more about the Arch-OS project.