St Andrews HCI Research Group


Beyond Medics goes to Scottish Parliament

A display of life-saving medical technology by University of St Andrews researchers stole the show at the annual Universities Scotland reception for MSPs in Scottish Parliament within the Garden Lobby at Holyrood last week.
Dr David Harris-Birtill, founder of Beyond Medics, and David Morrison had a steady stream of politicians eager to try out a working prototype of their ground-breaking Automated Remote Pulse Oximetry system which automatically displays the individual’s vital signs – heart rate and blood oxygenation level – through a remote camera, without the need for clips and wires.

David Harris-Birtill (left) and David Morrison (centre) with Edinburgh South MSP Daniel Johnson (right), a St Andrews alumnus.

Dr David Harris-Birtill (left) and David Morrison (centre) with Edinburgh South MSP Daniel Johnson (right), a St Andrews alumnus.


SACHI team race to victory at go-karting night

This week, the University of St Andrews SACHI team, from its School of Computer Science, had a fantastic evening of go-karting at ScotKart in Dundee on Tuesday, followed by a celebratory dinner at the Duke pub to refuel on awesome burgers.
The SACHI team trophy was appropriately 3D printed by hand by Miguel Nacenta, and is set to become a team heirloom for events to come. On the track, the team demonstrated that their skills in human-machine interaction are just as good as their expertise in human-computer interaction!
SACHI_karting_team MORE

LitLong app available on iTunes

We’re delighted to announce the launch of the LitLong iOS app, put together by a team of researchers and literary scholars from the University of St Andrews and University of Edinburgh, including SACHI’s Dr David Harris-Birtill, Dr Uta Hinrichs and Professor Aaron Quigley.
The LitLong:Edinburgh mobile app allows you to use your iOS device to explore Edinburgh’s literary past, and it is free! Download a copy to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to discover how your location has been represented in literature.

Improving patient care: zero-touch technologies in the clinical environment

We are proud to announce that Dr David Harris-Birtill, leader of the SICSA Medical Imaging theme, is an invited speaker at the Collaboration Technologies and Systems conference (CTS 2015), held in Atlanta, Georgia from 1st – 5th June 2015.
He will be presenting a tutorial entitled ‘Improving patient care: zero-touch technologies in the clinical environment’ on Monday 1st June, which will explore the potential for remote sensing, interactive, and collaborative computational tools for the clinical environment.

Dr David Harris-Birtill

Dr David Harris-Birtill speaking on Medical Imaging

The tutorial will discuss how zero-touch devices can improve interaction in surgical settings and how camera-based technology can be utilised in the clinic to monitor vital signs, speed diagnosis and improve the patient experience. It will cover an overview of how computation is used in the clinic, explaining the technologies used, the clinical workflow and how current scientific research can lead to future improvements in patient care.
The tutorial will also use a worked example, highlighting the uses of the Microsoft Kinect to discuss this technology’s potential, demonstrating how it can be used to collaboratively control selection of medical images in a surgical environment, showcasing its potential to monitor the patient’s heart rate and blood oxygenation level before, during, and after treatment.
Dr Harris-Birtill’s tutorial will cover the following topics:

  • Background and history of technology in medicine.
  • State of the art technology in healthcare, including collaborative and embedded systems.
  • Worked example of gesture-based control, and monitoring of patients using the Microsoft Kinect and related technologies.

LitLong Launch

The Palimpsest project involving the University of St Andrews’ SACHI team, collaborating with the University of Edinburgh’s English literature and text-mining group, has now completed its LitLong Edinburgh application and website, which are launched today (30th March 2015).
LitLong_web_vis LitLong_app
Lit Long: Edinburgh features a range of maps and accessible visualisations, which enable users to interact with Edinburgh’s literature in a variety of ways, exploring the spatial relations of the literary city at particular times in its history, in the works of particular authors, or across different eras, genres and writers. Lit Long: Edinburgh makes a major contribution to our knowledge of the Edinburgh literary cityscape, with potential to shape the experience and understanding of critics and editors, residents and visitors, readers and writers.
Give the web visualisation a try here.
SACHI’s Dr Uta Hinrichs created the web visualisation and Dr David Harris-Birtill created the mobile app. Professor Aaron Quigley was the University of St Andrews leader and co-investigator on the Palimpsest project.
This work is also featured on the Guardian’s website and mentioned in Edinburgh University’s news.

SICSA Medical Imaging and Sensing Theme Events Success

Three exciting events from the theme have already taken place: the theme launch at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Masterclass in Medical Imaging and Sensing at the University of St Andrews, and a Workshop on Medical Image Analysis at the University of Dundee.

David Harris-Birtill Launching SICSA Medical Imaging and Sensing Theme

Dr David Harris-Birtill Launching SICSA Medical Imaging and Sensing Theme

Over fifty researchers from across Scotland from industry and academia came to speak, listen and network at the SICSA Medical Imaging and Sensing Theme Launch in the Royal Society of Edinburgh on the 18th February 2015, hosted by Toshiba Medical. Speakers included: Dr Diana Morgan (Censis), Dr Jano van Hemert (Optos), Dr Ian Poole (Toshiba Medical), Dr Tom MacGillivray (CRIC Edinburgh), Prof Stephen McKenna (University of Dundee),  Dr Tom Kelsey (University of St Andrews), Prof Lynne Baillie (Glasgow Caledonian University), Dr Bobby Davey (Toshiba Medical) and Dr David Harris-Birtill (University of St Andrews).
At the SICSA Masterclass in Medical Imaging and Sensing, hosted by the University of St Andrews, thirty early career researchers came to learn more about how they can apply their skills in this exciting field on the 4th March 2015. Speakers included:  Prof Manuel Trucco (University of Dundee), Dr Bobby Davey (Toshiba Medical), Dr David Harris-Birtill (University of St Andrews) and Dr Neil Clancy (Imperial College London).
The Workshop in Medical Image Analysis, held at the University of Dundee on the 27th March 2015 was a huge success with excellent oral and poster presentations. Over forty researchers came to hear the invited talks from Prof Giovanni Montana (Kings College London) and Prof David Wyper (SINAPSE) as well as the other excellent research talks.
We look forward to future events within the theme. If you are interested in hosting an event within the theme please email theme leader Dr David Harris-Birtill ( with a short proposal.

Dr David Harris-Birtill awarded SICSA theme: Medical Imaging and Sensing in Computing

Photograph of Dr David Harris-Birtill

Dr David Harris-Birtill has been awarded full funding for the new SICSA knowledge exchange theme

We’re delighted to announce the launch of the new SICSA knowledge exchange theme: Medical Imaging and Sensing in Computing. Led by Dr David Harris-Birtill from the University of St Andrews’ SACHI group, David has been awarded full funding for a series of events to foster new development and collaboration on this topic. (see full SICSA news item)
The theme will run until 31st July 2015 and will have events open to all universities in Scotland, stimulating new ideas, connections and collaborations in this exciting and dynamic field. Dr Robert Davey from Toshiba Medical Visualization Systems is the industry expert who will also be working with us on this theme, providing useful input on the commercial application of this area.
What does the new SICSA knowledge exchange theme cover?
Computing has provided significant technological advancements within medicine over the last decade, contributing to medical imaging within MRI and X-ray CT, PET and ultrasound and optical imaging, and in recent years, advances in smart phones and wearable sensors have also enabled patients and clinicians to get complementary information. These imaging and sensing advances impact the general population as they have found methods to detect cancer, detect arterial plaque which leads to heart attacks, and guide cancer radiotherapy treatments by providing information on how much radiation dose to give to which parts of the body.
By starting this new SICSA theme, Medical Imaging and Sensing in Computing, like-minded researchers across Scotland can form a new intellectual community, promote their research, and foster creativity across institutions and collaborations between academia and industry. In addition, computer scientists involved in other research fields, such as machine learning, will be invited to connect their relevant work to the field of medicine, sparking innovative new projects. Toshiba Medical has highlighted that local industry needs to connect with talented young academics to help stimulate new ideas, engage with academia to find joint funding for industry focused research, and attract talented personnel for recruitment in such a rapidly-growing field.
New areas of research and development needed within industry include extracting useful medical information from wearable sensors, and getting information from large data sources, such as vast medical image and data stores, to help detect disease earlier and make chronic illnesses more treatable. Ultimately this theme enables researchers from across Scotland at all stages of their careers to make meaningful connections with other academics and industry members, to work together to improve patients’ lives. We look forward to the first event!