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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G013071/1
Title: Additional Modules for PAMELA to Enhance Research Efficiency (AMPERE)
Principal Investigator: Tyler, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Civil Environmental and Geomatic Eng
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2008 Ends: 30 September 2013 Value (£): 2,106,322
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Transport Ops & Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
17 Sep 2008 Engineering Socio-Technical Systems Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
AMPERE adds 15 square (i.e. configurable in a single plane) and 11 triangle (configurable in two planes) additional active modules to the PAMELA facility. These are exactly the same as the original motorised modules and have two major benefits: (1) they reduce the time taken for major adjustments and reconficurations from several hours to a few minutes resulting in an increase in availability for research and (2) they allow more comprehensive experimental setups to be incorporated in a single layout. The additional modules require updates to the existing control software, new cables and power/control distribution units in order to ensure that the whole platform can be controlled using the same system and interface as used for the original modules. Four of the square modules (configurable in a single plane) will be fitted with 4 force plates each so that ground resistance forces can be incorporated in the facility. PAMELA is a very complex interdisciplinary facility and the AMPERE enhancements increase the desirability of the facility to other researchers. First, the importance of increasing the availability of PAMELA for researchers in all fields of interest has already been demonstrated in gene therapy by the Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO), where the controlled conditions and monitoring capability of PAMELA have meant that research results have been reached much more quickly and at a much deeper level than would have been possible without a controlled pedestrian environment - PAMELA has allowed before and after testing in an objective, quantifiable and repeatable way whereas the previous methods would have involved just eye tests and subjective interviews to reveal the effects of the intervention. In addition the timescale (pre-Intervention testing in October 2006, Intervention Therapy in spring 2007, post-Intervention testing in February 2008, publication of results in the New England Journal of Medicine in early 2008) shows a clear reduction of time from laboratrory to publication and, more importantly, the potential for faster delievery of the outcomes of basic research to those people who will ultimately benefit - in this case, people with low vision.Secondly, the new modules enable PAMELA to incorporate more complex layouts, thus reducing the need to split experiments to accommodate different features. This makes it much easier for the participants as they need to make fewer visits to the facility and for the researchers because their experiments can be carried out much more quickly. This helps to increase the availability of the facility for all researchers as well as increasing the sophistication of the layouts.Thirdly, the introduction of modules with force plates means that for the first time it will be possible to measure ground resistance forces in complex environments such as longitudinal and lateral slopes and steps so that issues such as the biomechanics of wheelchair propulsion (especially by assistants), balance of older people, understanding of agility and so on can be included in research into pedestrian interactions with the environment.The demand for access to PAMELA is such that it is becoming difficult to fit all requests into a suitable timescale. AMPERE will make a significant difference to the available capacity by increasing it by more than 50% and thus ensure that lack of availability does not hold up the major research advances that can be supported by the facility as demonstrated by the IoO work.AMPERE also includes an AccessGrid node facility. This will enable researchers to communicate with the facility from all over the world when designing and running experiments and will make dissemination from the facility much easier and more comprehensive.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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