logo-metabolight

Metabolight: UCL Medical physics and Bioengineering public engagement programme

In 2017 the Wellcome Trust funded a public engagement project to communicate new research by UCL’s Dept of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, researching medical applications of near-infrared spectroscopy.

The MetaboLight project is about the development of a new, light based technique to help diagnose brain injuries in newborn babies.

Logo and visual identity

We worked with the team to come up with a project name and produced the visual identity and printed magazine also available online.

We helped pick a name for the project and team that would communicate their research area and still be accessible to younger audiences.

The logo – based on a super-simplified schematic image of a brain – can adapt to different contexts, appearing in single colour or as a virtual or actual 3D ‘stencil’ with light or other imagery shining through, or in.

The logo and brand works in other contexts, including t-shirts, badges, the exhibit, as well as print material we designed.

Website

We designed the website to:
– showcase the research in language catered to non-specialists
– provide a context for the film and other resources
– record our public engagement process.

Alongside the structural design and programming, we created the content through copy writing, illustrations, animations and specially commissioned photo-shoots at UCL and UCLH.

Visit the website here.

Film

As part of the MetaboLight project, we designed a video to explain the science behind the team’s research and how the technology works.

We created a 4-minute film to be shown at public engagement and educational events showing medical applications of near-infrared spectroscopy. The film  combines filmed footage with digital animations.

We are hoping to produce a second film for the medical context, aimed at raising awareness for parents

Publication series

In 2017 the Wellcome Trust funded a public engagement project to communicate new research by UCL’s Dept of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, researching medical applications of near-infrared spectroscopy.

The MetaboLight project is about the development of a new, light based technique to help diagnose brain injuries in newborn babies.

Working with DS Associates Karen Ang and Jenny Shipway, we compiled, edited and designed three publications for Metabolight explaining the science of their research. 

The publications are primarily aimed at A-level science students but they are designed to be accessible to non specialist audiences. 

The publications simplify dense and complicated scientific concepts and papers and presents them in an engaging and visual way. They accompany the team at exhibitions and events to help them share their research and technology with the public.

Interactive science communication exhibit

As part of the MetaboLight project, we designed and built a portable, interactive display unit for the team to use at science festivals throughout the UK.

Our exhibit includes an integrated demonstration space with interchangeable elements for information and animations, area to display the interactive pieces relative to that particular festival, and a tall, internally lit beacon situated above the display to attract visitors.

We launched the exhibit and video with the MetaboLight team at UCL on 12 July 2017.

The exhibit has appeared at Norwich Science Festival (2017), The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham (2018) and The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition (2019)

metabolight-case-study

The interactive exhibit is being displayed at a series of science festivals between 2017–2019. It includes an integrated demonstration space with interchangeable elements for information and animations, area to display interactive equipment, and a tall, internally lit beacon situated above the display to draw attention.

Our cost effective solution for the portable exhibit involved customising £5 Ikea Lack side tables. It was featured on Ikea Hackers.

‘The footfall for the 9 days in the Forum was approximately 75,000 The MetaboLight stand looked fantastic and was very engaging!’

– Norwich Science Festival organiser,
Natalie Bailey

MetaboLight has also exhibited at the Big Bang Fair (2018). Our film was on display along with a number of interactive demonstrations on which we consulted.

The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 

Open now until Sunday 7 July! 
Come and experience the installation we produced for UCL’s MetaboLight team of engineers, scientists and doctors for the 2019 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.

Listen to Claudia Hammond’s BBC World Service interview recorded live at the Royal Society: Lighting the brain after birth’ – The infra-red device that can detect brain damage within minutes of a baby being born.

In addition to our original Ikea table interactive exhibit, UCL managed to secure a 3 square metre room alongside the Royal Society’s anteroom where we installed a simulated neonatal intensive care unit for visitors to experience the technology in its hospital context. 

“An absolute pleasure to work with the Design Science team and Anne. I and the MetaboLight team learned a lot and I am very proud of what we have achieved.”

– Ilias Tachtsidis, Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow and Reader in Biomedical Engineering

We conducted a survey and photoshoot at UCLH in consultation with clinician Subhabrata Mitra, to capture the look and feel of the unit and to provide us with an accurate record of each of the pieces of equipment we needed to present within our exhibit.

We worked with illustrator Giulia de Amicis to create the final vectorised artwork backdrop, adding photographs of real screens to add into the monitors.