Computing and Digital Technology Facilities

The School of Computing and Digital Technology is proud to offer its students a range of industry standard facilities and equipment. We’ve invested in our facilities to help you prepare for your future career.

As a student in the School of Computing and Digital Technology, you will have access to our labs, software, professional sound studios, computer games labs and industry-standard facilities to develop your practical skills in audio, video and multimedia application development, content creation and more.

 

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We are currently undertaking a £400 million investment programme in our facilities, including a major expansion of our City Centre Campus. This includes our brand new £70 million development, STEAMhouse, which will be the new home to Computing and Digital Technology students. This state-of-the-art centre will give you access to outstanding facilities and equipment, as well as opportunities to collaborate with businesses across multiple sectors and work on real industry-based projects.

Our facilities in Millennium Point have undergone a £6.5million investment with a new maker area, engineering labs/equipment and IT equipment.

Thanks to our partnerships with Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Juniper, SAS and LPI you will have access to the latest technology and facilities that reflect advanced professional practice. Our students also have access to software such as the Adobe Suite including Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator.

Whatever you are hoping to study, facilities in the College of Computing and Digital Technology provide a quality learning experience, preparing students for work in industry and shaping their future.

 

Computer Labs

System Labs

Our embedded systems laboratories are used to develop real-time systems, such as specialist hardware training and development resources, and industrial-standard software development and simulation tools. These include:

  • Schematic capture and printed circuit board (PCB) design software – ORCAD
  • Analogue and digital circuit design and simulation software – PSpice
  • Graphical microcontroller software – Matrix Multimedia Flowcode
  • Microcontroller development board – PIC Microchip
  • E-block microcontroller training kit
  • FPGA & CPLD development board
  • Robotics design and development
Software Development and Computer Programming

There are a number of open access, software development and computer programming laboratories that can be used to develop systems and programmes, including:

  • Software development environments for modern programming languages - Visual Studio
  • Computing programming languages – Python, C#, ASP.NET, PHP, Unity
  • Operating systems – Linux, Windows and macOS
  • Database management systems – MySQL
  • Neural network simulators
  • Computer architecture simulators – RISC
  • Application development software – iPhone, Android Studio
  • Integrated development environments – Netbeans / FPGA /CPLD
  • JAVA programming – BlueJ.
Network Labs

Our industry standard kit can be accessed by students who are at home or anywhere on the globe – remote access – 24/7 (NETACAD)

The laboratories are well-equipped for all our computer networking courses, as well as specialist areas for practical work such as: Voice-over internet protocol (VoIP), Security technologies, Forensic and ethical hacking technologies, wireless and mobile technologies, Internet of Things (IoT), Cybersecurity and software Defined Networking including NFV.

Forensics Room 

Our successful development of forensic computing has led to a specialist forensics laboratory that is fully equipped with essential hardware and software for this sensitive area of study.

Industry standard forensic hardware and software is available for analysis of PC’s and mobile phones.

Some of the features of the lab includes: fingerprint readers and recognition software development kits, facial recognition cameras and software development kits and more.

Games Lab

Our state-of-the-art computer games lab is home to a PS4 Development Kit and has Xbox One Console Development ability. We have a Nintendo Switch Development Kit in procurement and HTC Vive, Oculus CV1 and VR development facility.

The Games Lab is a key feature during our Games Jam and society events. All students can join our computer games societies and use our facilities if interested in gaming.

Digital Technology Facilities

We operate well-resourced high-spec computer labs which are fully equipped with up-to-date, industry standard software for the design and development of advanced multimedia applications.

Our facilities include: Sophisticated graphics software packages for image manipulation and editing; these provide a full range of drawing, editing and image composition tools. Web animation and Rich Internet Application development tools. 3D software for Rendering, Modelling, Games and Animation, and design and graphics software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

An Apple Mac sound lab, electronics and fully equipped multimedia labs are all part of the technology and multimedia experience on offer.

Sound Studios in Millennium Point

The Orchard

The Orchard is a 40-seat mac lab designed to support teaching of audio and mac-specific software. The lab features a recording booth as well as high quality audio monitors and video projector.

Sound Studios

Our studio facilities feature mixing consoles by manufacturers such as SSL and Audix, monitoring by PMC and Genelec, and a host of software and outboard hardware effects commonly found in high-end commercial recording studios. As well as acoustically designed spaces to record and mix, we have a dedicated mastering suite featuring the acclaimed PMC IB1S monitors.

In the live rooms you will find a useful range of stock instruments including drums and cymbals, guitars, basses, a tuned piano and a range of instrument amplifiers.

Mix Rooms

Our mix rooms are smaller rooms, useful for one or two students to work on projects that do not require the space afforded by our larger studio facilities. These include a Foley studio for recording of footsteps and other sound effects that are added to media. We also have a room where live desks can be set up, allowing students to explore workflows outside of a gig setup.

Microphones

We pride ourselves on an extensive microphone collection that any commercial studio would be proud of. From the classic Neumann U87, Royer 121 or Coles 4038 to staples like the AKG C414 or C451, you will find a very usable range of sounds to explore.

Live Sound Equipment

Students have access to an extensive set of live sound equipment with mixing consoles by Midas, Digidesign and Yamaha and a range of PA systems including a D&B Audiotechnik line array. Backed up with an excellent set of microphones chosen for their success in the live environment, and other production equipment such as lighting, the gear is used in a variety of destinations around the university or offsite at gigs and festivals.

The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s £57 million teaching and performance facility is the first of its kind in the digital age and is the perfect fusion of traditional and contemporary.

Featuring 9,000 sq m of purpose designed teaching, rehearsal and state of the art performance space, it offers unrivalled opportunities for our students. The audio and video digital infrastructure is designed to enhance and support live performance and to allow students to experiment with new technologies.

Read more about the Conservatoire of the Future

Curzon Street Studios

Curzon Street Studios has a number of world-class TV studios suitable for shooting commercials, films and video productions, both big and small.

Studio B boasts the largest fixed green screen in the UK, with a three wall infinity cove. The studio has been used for filming TV commercials, TV promos, music videos, web presentations and the live-streaming of online entertainment shows. Studio B offers pre-rigged lighting for green screen as well as access to the lighting rig with a hoist controller at ground floor level.

Black cyclorama and matting are also available to create a black studio. The green studio also houses our MILO motion control rig which is the most used motion control rig in the world, the Milo’s versatility, portability and high accuracy makes it the ideal choice for live action shooting and table top work.

Curzon Street Studios boasts six digital radio studios. All studios have been acoustically designed to provide ideal recording environments for both live and pre-recorded audio production and are fully soundproofed.

Our post production system has been designed to enable content to be produced, managed and distributed digitally. We offer a custom built central technical area that allows seamless interaction between all our studios and edit suites.

Learn more about what Curzon Street Studios has to offer

Makers Space

The Level 4 Makers Space is a bright communal space in Millennium Point in which students find support in building their electronic projects (i.e. Raspberry Pi or Arduino boards based).

The Makers Space is equipped with a laser cutter, 3D printers, and a variety of electronic components like motion, proximity, humidity sensors, and many more.

This space is widely used by students, including first year students who use the space to help build their gadget ready to be presented at Innovation Fest. Experienced technicians are on hand to provide support. The support extends to all other levels including Final Year, Ph.D., and KTP projects.

Student have access to high spec laptops with the latest media software for all their module needs, making the level 4 Makers Space the ideal area for the development of their project. Computer enthusiasts will enjoy our mini collection of vintage Apple computers.

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GREATER BIRMINGHAM & SOLIHULL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Students across our Engineering and Computing courses automatically become Institute of Technology Learners and can take advantage of the facilities and opportunities provided by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (GBSIoT).

More about the Institute

[00:00:02] Speaker 1 Hello and welcome to the computing tour for Birmingham City University.  

 

[00:00:05] I'm Alex, a second year Computer Science student sitting here today, and I'll be taking you around the facilities here at BCU.  

 

[00:00:11] Right now we're in STEAMhouse. If you're coming on to a computing course, you may be spending time here doing your Innovation Fest project, where you'll be presenting your project that you worked on to industry professionals. So STEAMhouse is a £72 million conversion of the old bike factory that used to be here.  

 

[00:00:31] This is one of the larger learning spaces that we have here at STEAMhouse, completely built around computing. The entire building is modular. All these walls can be opened up and these classes can be made gigantic.  

 

[00:00:43] So here's another space here at STEAMhouse for, sort of like, breakout rooms or for independent learning places you can go as a group to work on projects. To the left of us, there is the business space where visitors come in and they can work on projects there and also allows for students and staff members to integrate with the tech industry. If you'd like to learn more about STEAMhouse, the video link in description. And now I'm going to take you over to Millennium Point.  

 

[00:01:13] Here we are at Millennium Point. This is the level four project space, the space you'll be using in term time to work on things such as the Innovation project. It is also the home of the Maker's Lab, which I'll be showing you in a little bit. It's a completely transformative and modular space.  

 

[00:01:28] Recently, Birmingham City University has spent six and a half million pounds in revamping their Millennium Point building. It's also the area where we will be holding industry events. One of the things that I want to show you very quickly is the Lapsafe here. So Birmingham City University has one of the largest collections of Lapsafes in Europe. And they're not just here in the Millennium Point building. There's also ones over in Parkside and Curzon as well as STEAMhouse. You're allowed to take a laptop out if you haven't got one personally, and you can use it while you're at university for about six or so hours at a time. We also not only have Windows laptops, but also MacBooks.  

 

[00:02:10] So here we are in the Makers Lab, and this is where you'll be spending time as a first year student working on the Innovation facilities there. Basically, this is where the magic happens, right? So in this room is a bunch of component parts and things to work with your systems such as 3D printers. So what you can do is you build a schematic up in the software. We send it to the machines and they can print out component parts for your project. It's also a bunch of different other components here at the university that it offers to students that they can use for their projects, such as Arduino, Mark Controllers, and Raspberry Pi is sort of like the heart of your system. You write some code, you flash onto the microcontroller, then it can control the system that you've attached it. Over here, we've also got a bunch of component parts even using such as light sensors and motion sensors and buttons and keypads and things like that as well.  

 

[00:02:59] So we've got a bunch of previous projects here as well. Here's Sign Genie which is a sign language interpreter, you sign in front of it and it will send back the sign language on the screen here. You can find out more about this project in description below, showing you how they built it from start to finish.  

 

[00:03:16] We also have laser cutting services at University, so if you need, you know, a frame cut out for your project, for example, that we've got here, you can use the laser cutter and cut out little component parts that all fit together as a housing for your project. Okay, So now I think we're going to head down to level one, which houses the network labs and the games lab.  

 

[00:03:42] This is one of the games labs here at BCU. This is more of a high spec facility to help with rendering animation and, you know, running the games that you create as a games development students as well as that. We've also got the different component parts. You need to build a project VR here so you can experiment with VR within the game called events such as Games Jam where students from across Birmingham City University come together to create a game within 24 hours or 48 hours and present it to a panel.  

 

[00:04:14] So this is one of our networking labs here at BCU. It is a Cisco networking lab. All the hardware in here is industry standard and the majority of it is Cisco related. This entire room and several other rooms on this floor are complete separate LAN network from the rest of university. And you can, you know, run tests and simulations and try and configure and connect to of computers within the labs. The software that we use here is called Cisco Packet Tracer or Nethercutt. This is what we use to prototype our networks. And then you can actually physically build them using the hardware in the room to see how it works in practice.  

 

[00:04:55] So this is one of our many computing labs here at Birmingham City University at the College of Computing. We have about 20 computing labs here at the University of all kinds of different software. And then depending on the course that you're doing, we have experts here from industry working as lecturers to have that real world experience and incredibly helpful with helping you to complete your coursework as well as get any additional advice and sort of guide you in the right direction.  

 

[00:05:22] This is one of the big open communal spaces where you can come and catch up on work, but New Macs here that you can work on as well as Windows PCs out at the back can also see that there's more lab space here. So if you want to use a laptop, you can get those as well. Along with that, there's also the main I.T help desk here where you can come in and ask questions if you've got any issues.  

 

[00:05:43] That was just a taste of computing at BCU. If you'd like to experience it yourself, come along to one of our Open Days or applicant taster days in the future. As well as if you'd like to know more about the computing experience. You can watch this video right here.  

 

[00:06:03] You still here? Go watch the video.