How space technology started from child's play

Posted by vm64 at May 09, 2011 10:02 AM |
From ideas to inventions- the application of university research. Free public lecture at University of Leicester on 17 May

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 09 May 2011

A study of how infants acquire language skills has informed development of technologies used in critical computing systems for the automotive, maritime and space industries.

In his free inaugural lecture on Tuesday, 17 May, Professor Michael Pont from the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering will describe how his theoretical University work has resulted in practical ‘real-world’ applications.

Head of the Embedded Systems Research Group, Professor Pont will provide an overview of a 25-year research programme which began by exploring some of the neural mechanisms involved in the early stages of human language acquisition and which now involves the development of ‘embedded’ computing systems, which are used to control safety-critical applications, such as passenger aircraft.

During the talk, he will explore some of the common threads which link these apparently disparate research areas.

Professor Pont explained:

“I’ve been involved in a very wide range of research projects over the course of the last 25 years.  What I hope to do in this talk is to give people a flavour of some of the pleasures and challenges of such projects.  

“I also hope to be able to make it clear that university projects which may – initially – appear to be very abstract or theoretical can sometimes lead to very real practical benefits.  

“For example, my own work began by trying to understand how human infants acquire language abilities and has resulted in the development of an ultra-reliable computing platform which is now being used to improve the safety of automotive, maritime, aircraft and space systems.”

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 5.30pm in Lecture Theatre 1 in the Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester.

Notes to Editors

For more information please contact Professor Pont at 0116 223 1684


Michael J. Pont received the B.Sc. degree from the University of Glasgow and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Southampton. After completing his PhD he joined the University of Sheffield, first as a “postdoc”, then as the university’s first Lecturer in “Cognitive Science”. Michael moved to the University of Leicester in 1992 as a Lecturer in Electronic & Software Engineering. At Leicester, he established the Embedded Systems Laboratory. Over the last 6 years, Michael has been involved in the formation of TTE Systems Ltd (a University spin-out company): he currently divides his time between the roles of CEO (at TTE Systems Ltd) and Professor of Embedded Systems Engineering at the University.

Violetta Mertins

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