Summer Scholarships for Black Student - Studying at KMi

Scholarship

Summer Scholarships for Black Students

Since 2020, KMi has supported six scholars to participate in summer projects on topics which include: Misinformation, Robotics, Human Computer Interaction, Blockchain and Knowledge Graphs.

A KMi Scholarship provides financial support for students to use hot technologies to solve societal challenges and positively impact the world around us.

The scholarship package provides a bursary, mentoring, and support from the researchers, students and technicians who work in our project spaces. The bursary can be used to cover scholars' living costs or make up for their loss of earnings during the summer while they carry out a project lasting 6 to 8 weeks. Projects may be conducted online, at the Open University campus, or both.

Email: STEM-KMi-Scholarship@open.ac.uk to express an interest


Three bursaries were awarded in 2023. Read all about the scholars' projects here.

Challenge 2 - Exploring the Hallucinations of ChatGPT and Friends

Challenge 2: Exploring the Hallucinations of ChatGPT and Friends

Rachel Appiah-Kubi

Subject Area: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Supervisory Team: John Domingue and Aisling Third

Scholar: Rachel Appiah-Kubi

Project: Exploring the biases of AI-generated music artist images

Meet Rachel whose research exposes the social biases in image generation AI.

Rachel came to KMI in the summer while studying T Level Digital Production, Design and Development at sixth form. Her project explored the social assumptions made by different image generation AIs when creating images of musical artists. She found that these AIs often display biases regarding ethnicity, gender, and other factors based on the genre names or stage names used in the prompts. She also found that social media popularity and fame of musical artists over time can influence the images generated by AI.

Building a more equitable and inclusive future for AI. Rachel's research on social biases in AI image generation algorithms is important in understanding fairer and more inclusive AI systems. By studying these biases, we can avoid reinforcing stereotypes and prejudices that are reflected in the data they were trained on.

Check out Rachel's presentation on her project here.

"Rachel demonstrated curiosity and scientific thinking from day one, and it was a delight every week to learn about her discoveries and her creativity in investigating them"

- Aisling Third, Supervisor

"The scholarship is a good opportunity to learn more about a certain topic and explore your interests. It's a great way to build on your research and presentation skills"

- Rachel Appiah-Kubi, 2023 award winner and scholar.

Challenge 3 - When AI creativity interacts with haptic touch, what will happen?

Challenge 3: When AI creativity interacts with haptic touch, what will happen?

Henok Mekuria

Subject Area: Citizen Science and Artificial Intelligence

Supervisory Team: Shuang Ao and Advaith Siddharthan

Scholar: Henok Mekuria

Project: Evaluating prompts for Image Generative AI and sensory explorations

Meet Henok who harnessed different AI tools to generate poetic descriptions and art images.

Henok joined the scholarship, after studying on a Level 3 Access to HE (Computing) course. His research involved utilising two well-known APIs, Bard AI and Midjourney, to evaluate how to use appropriate prompts to generate text and images while comparing them with other APIs, such as ChatGPT. Henok's approach was unique; he used art images to create poetic descriptions, which he then transformed into prompts for generating stunning visuals. He further analysed the differences between these prompts and the elements within the generated images. He also played a key role in developing a haptic interface, using his knowledge of Python and JavaScript to enable text descriptions with corresponding textures, such as soft and fur.

Advancing the boundaries of creativity. Henok's project demonstrates the creative potential of AI, inspiring new artistic expressions. AI-generated art and poetry can offer unique perspectives and help artists discover new patterns, styles and combinations. His research could also lead to more immersive and inclusive interactions by bridging the gap between visual and tactile experiences, making AI-generated content accessible to everyone.

Check out Henok's report and examples of the generated images below.

Download: Artwork pdf

Download: Report pdf

You can also read Henok's interview about his experience on the scholarship below.

Download: Interview pdf

"Henok's curiosity and enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology make him a true trailblazer in the realm of generative AI. His passion for research have been evident throughout the past eight weeks, leaving us in awe of his potential as a young scholar"

- Shuang Ao, Supervisor

"The scholarship has opened my eyes to the vast potential of integrating AI with interactive user experiences. This experience was so transformative that it fuelled me with motivation to pursue studies in data science after completing the summer scholarship"

- Henok Mekuria, 2023 award winner and scholar.

Challenge 4 - Raspberry Pi and The Internet of Things

Challenge 4: Raspberry Pi and The Internet of Things

Meron Mana

Subject Area: Internet of Things and Sensors

Supervisory Team: Matteo Cancellieri and David Pride

Scholar: Meron Mana

Project: Designing, developing and deploying a social robot

Meet Meron who built a social robot using minimal low-cost maker tools.

Meron studied on an Access to HE course before joining the scholarship. His project involved using a Picoh, a programmable robot head that can converse with people. It can sense, think and act, and its behaviour depends entirely on the programmer. Meron used the Oh-Bot platform to program Picoh to listen to the user, convert user prompts into text, submit the text to ChatGPT and respond to the user expressing emotions. Picoh was deployed in the KMi lab to support the researchers, students and staff.

Enhancing social interactions. Meron's project explores innovative ways to use automated devices to improve people's well-being. For example, Picoh could provide emotional support and companionship people who feel isolated or help reduce stress and anxiety by telling jokes or teaching relaxation techniques. Another possibility is helping people with dementia stay active and engaged. Check out Meron demonstrating Picoh and his interview, talking about his experience on the scholarship in the videos below.

"Meron's work with us was fantastic. We gave him a task that required knowledge in so many aspects and he completely delivered the prototype. The task required understanding and knowledge of many different technological aspects and Meron was happy to investigate, try things and experiment until he reached the desired result"

- Matteo Cancellieri, Supervisor

"The scholarship has given me a lot of ideas about what I could do in the future. It helped me to better understand myself and my strengths, which will guide my choices going forward"

- Meron Mana, 2023 award winner and scholar.

Previously supported scholars

2022

Scholarship - Photo of Samuel Kwaku Antwi

Samuel Kwaku Antwi

Project: Identifying influential misinformation about vaccines

Supervisors:Retno Larasati and Tracie Farrell

View Project

Scholarship - Photo of Esther Adetunji

Esther Adetunji

Project: Building musical knowledge graphs

Supervisor: Enrico Daga and Paul Mulholland

View Project

Scholarship - Photo of Peter Isagba

Peter Isagba

Project: Turning TikTok Content into NFTs

Supervisors: John Domingue, Aisling Third and Michelle Bachler

View Project

2021

Scholarship - Photo of Azizah Blackwood

Azizah Blackwood

Project: Misinfo.Me Bot

Supervisors: Tracie Farrell and Lara Piccolo

Scholarship - Photo of Reece Davis

Reece Davis

Project: Benchmarking Environmental Sensors

Supervisor: Lara Piccolo

Scholarship - Photo of Kaushal Kumar

Kaushal Kumar

Project: Robot Assistants in the Wild

Supervisors: Agnese Chiatti and Gianluca Bardaro

Latest Seminar
Dr Nirwan Sharma
Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University

Designing Dialogic Human-AI interfaces to further Citizen Science practice.

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