Oxford Science and Ideas Festival 2018

This October, the Oxford Science and Ideas Festival was bigger than ever as it expanded into 33 different locations to engage the public with science. The science ranged from historic medical techniques and their mixed success rates to the futuristic AI technologies and how they can benefit humanity. In some places, science collided with the arts in cabaret and poetry performances. In others, technology brought disabled voices in music to the forefront and scientists showed how we might go about making some of the feats in Black Panthera reality. 

ONBI student volunteers

The ONBI ’16 and ONBI ’17 cohort had been working hard on a number of projects to bring the power of biomedical imaging to the public. To highlight the interdisciplinary nature of our group, we prepared a stall that explored medical imaging techniques from ultrasound to MRI, as well as imaging sub-cellular components which were chemically labelled.


One of our biggest successes was the Virtuali-tees: t-shirts with a QR code printed on them which, when looked at through a smart phone or tablet, displayed a simulation of the human body. People visiting the stall could take a tour through the body and look at blood flowing through veins or the intestine pulsating. Using their knowledge, they moved on to ‘pin the scan on the body’, a challenging activity that explored the pros and cons of the many medical imaging modalities.

Pin the scan on the body

Finally, visitors to our stall could use Fold-o-scopes to looked some pre-prepared microbiology samples. With massive thanks to Micron who lent us their Microscopi, a 3D printed microscope, visitors could control the microscope stage using simply smartphones or tablet and operate a fully functional microscope to acquire their own biological images.

ONBI demo

We had all age ranges represented at our stall. Children were fascinated to see how the various fluids moved through their body and to see muscle cells and fly wings under the microscopes whilst adults could hear from imaging specialists about the medical imaging techniques and both their hospital and research-based applications.  There really was something for everyone. Such an amazing stall would not have been possible without the contributions from all the members of the ONBI cohorts who helped out on the day and preparing during the months before, as well as Micron for lending us Microscopiand a number of the biological samples. It was a great event and we look forward to returning next year!