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From virtual reality to changing reality

Andualem Tadesse Maereg
PhD Robotics 2015-2017

“I liked Hope from the moment I arrived here,” said Andualem Tadesse Maereg when we asked him about his first impressions of the University. “The facilities are amazing, particularly the robotics lab. There’s a great range of technologies including a Brain Computer, mobile and non-mobile robots, haptic and VR interfaces, as well as a 3D printer. There are so many opportunities to learn and explore what’s possible, it’s the perfect environment for research.”

Besides the technology though, Andualem was keen to talk about the people: “Everybody here has been so friendly, right from day one. It’s easy to talk to anyone. That’s probably because it’s not a big university. The atmosphere is very open and welcoming – and everyone knows you by name.”

Andualem came to Hope from Ethiopia, where he was working as a teaching assistant. “I had returned home for a year after gaining my MSc in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Trento in Italy,” he said. “This gave me time to think about my next step and look at the options. I found out about Hope and when I learned about its reputation and ranking, I was interested right away. Hope encouraged me to apply for a scholarship and here I am!”

We asked Andualem to tell us about his current research. “I’m looking at ways to develop haptic devices that let people interact more effectively with Virtual Reality environments. These are wearable devices that provide touch feedback and recreate the sense of touch by applying vibrations or motions for example.”

“At the moment, many of these are still quite crude and don’t really help to provide an immersive experience. I want to create devices that let people fully immerse themselves in Virtual Reality.”

So Andualem’s research is certainly at the cutting-edge, but does he get the support he needs? “Definitely,” he answered. “If I need something, it’s always made available to me. What's great here is that it’s such a collaborative atmosphere. My Supervisor and Director of Studies are both very much involved. We talk every week and there’s collaboration with other universities around the world.”

“Above all, it’s great fun. I love what I’m able to do here – and love the fact that Hope gives me the support, freedom and resources to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

 

Find out more about our Robotics degree.