CW Unplugged: Tech for Autism

Brought to you by Cambridge Wireless

The CW Unplugged brand is back with an exciting programme of Tech-for-Good events scheduled throughout 2018 and designed to address four of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. Next up is Tech for Autism on April 26th at the Bradfield Centre in Cambridge.

Registration for this event is now closed.

About the event

We'll explore how the use of technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, gaming applications and adaptive sensory user interfaces can improve communication, assist in the development of social skills and enhance the ability to learn for individuals with autism.

This event will include an ideation workshop where we bring together technologists, developers and people with a strong understanding of autism to create new levels of insight and applications that can be further developed and supported over the year through the CW Community.

Check out the CW Unplugged: FemTech video.

You can follow @CambWireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWUnplugged.

Workshop supported by: String

We are visionaries, dreamers, software engineers & cyberpunks, working together to create something wonderful. For over two decades, we have been dreaming about an incredible new medium. One that has the potential to transcend the most vivid of imaginations; and fundamentally change the way we work, play and interact with our world. We'll be bringing our HoloLens to support the ideation workshop.

Workshop supported by: Jagex

We’ve been leading community-driven live games for over 17 years and RuneScape, our flagship massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has welcomed over 260 million player accounts to its living world of adventurous fantasy. Today our RuneScape titles are thriving living games that connect and inspire an amazing community of players, with enthralling content and shared experiences, both inside and outside of our fantastical game worlds. RuneScape and Old School RuneScape are alive and kicking on PC and now we’re taking both games to mobile in full, complete with interoperable PC-to-mobile cross-play, so you’ll be able to continue your adventure wherever you are and whenever you want. We’re also building brand new living games and we’re looking for exceptional game talent to join us, and ambitious live game studios to partner with, as we bring life to the living games of the future.

Workshop Facilitator: Fresh Perspectiv

Our team of commercially-minded scientists love working at the intersection of science and business strategy to help companies to make informed decisions and enhance their commercial impact.

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Also sponsored by: u-blox UK

u-blox is the global leader in positioning and wireless semiconductors

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Main sponsor: Arm

We design the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Arrival, registration and networking


CW Unplugged Introduction & CWiHero

Abhi Naha, CCO, CW


Setting the Scene

Kevin Chapman, YouTuber & Author
Jackie & Scott Luland, Autism Peterborough

Sharing personal insights, experiences and ideas for the future of tech for autism.


Autism, Virtual Reality and Head-Mounted Displays: The past, present and key challenges that lie ahead.

Dr Nigel Newbutt, Senior Researcher, University of the West of England

In this talk, Nigel will briefly discuss the state of the art in the field of VR, HMDs and autism. This will lead to brief case studies and example projects he has worked on in this arena; the lessons learned and work / challenges that lie ahead.


The DE-ENIGMA project: social robotics for autism

Dr Alyssa M Alcorn, Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), UCL Institute of Education

The DE-ENIGMA project brings together multiple technical and autism research teams, developing an intelligent emotion-teaching programme that uses a humanoid robot. This talk will summarise our work so far, how we plan to test whether our final programme "works", and why those "does it work?" questions are so vital for everyone working on technologies for autism.


Intro to the Ideation workshop facilitators

We'll split into 4 groups and intro you to your group leader before a quick break to refuel.




Ideation Workshop

A fast paced hour of brainstorming discussing the challenges Tech for Autism faces. Attendees have the opportunity to contribute their ideas and experiences in facilitated groups ran by our partners.


Workshop Presentations

Informal presentations and discussion of the main outcomes from each Ideation group.


Next Steps


Join us in the atrium for food, drink & networking


Event Close


Alyssa M Alcorn

Alyssa is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), within the UCL Institute of Education. She has specialised in designing and evaluating technologies to support and teach school-aged children on the autism spectrum, with a particular focus on social communication skills and on conducting research in school settings. Currently, she works on the DE-ENIGMA Horizon 2020 project on social robots as teaching tools for autism ( Previously, she worked at Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities on an ESRC/EPSRC-funded TEL project developing virtual environments for autism (ECHOES-2, see She has been active across the autism and technology community, and was invited as the 2017 keynote speaker for the UK National Autistic Society’s Autism and Technology Conference. Alyssa completed her PhD in Human-Computer Interaction and MSc Cognitive Science at the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics, and her BA Psychology at Mills College (CA, USA).

Kevin Chapman

Kevin Chapman is a YouTuber, author and former secondary school head of computing who took a massive risk in the summer of 2017 in leaving the teaching profession to become a carer for his 13 year old autistic son who at the time had been refusing to attend school for the previous 18 months. His daily videos cover a wide range of topics including parenting a child with autism, the ups and downs of trying to support a family of five with an online income, education, gaming and geek culture, technology and anything else that takes his fancy! He doesn’t sleep. Search for Kevin on YouTube at:

Sylvia Lu - Corporate Strategy, u-blox UK, Member of Advisory Board, UKTIN

Sylvia Lu is an award-winning Chartered Engineer and Non-Executive Director. Sylvia has over 15 years of experience in the Telecom industry for four mobile generations with chipset vendors, currently with u-blox at the Corporate Strategy group – a Swiss vendor of positioning and wireless communication chipset, modules, and services.

Sylvia serves on several national and global industry Boards: she is an elected board director of CW (Cambridge Wireless), and serves on the Advisory Board of UKTIN, which provides independent advice on the telecoms sector, champions the opportunities in telecoms research, development, and innovation for the UK, and helps UKTIN provide impartial input to government. She also serves on the Board of 5G-ACIA (5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation), and joins forces with global industry stakeholders to influence 5G development and deployment in line with industrial imperatives to accelerate Industry 4.0.

She holds a first-class Electronic Engineering degree from Birmingham University and a Master of Science degree in Communications and Signal Processing from the University of Bristol. She graduated with a Distinction from the University of Oxford in PGDip Strategy & Innovation, and an Executive MBA degree from the University of Cambridge. Sylvia is also an artist.

Jackie & Scott Luland - CEO., Autism Peterborough

Jackie - I have 15 years experience of running the NAS Peterborough Branch, running family support and events for people on the Autistic Spectrum and their families, Conferences with National and international speakers, training events etc. My youngest son is a 21 year old young man with severe autism which has given me a huge amount of firsthand experience. Scott - I have firsthand experience with my severely Autistic brother, along with helping the huge amount of parents/carers that we have run support and events for. I also have a Physics Degree from the University of Nottingham. We are looking to develop autism services in the Peterborough area, to include a small college/drop-in learning centre, our own social enterprise and much more. All services and our social enterprise will have a technology focus as this is an excellent way to reach and connect with people on the Autistic Spectrum. We will be working with professionals with experience of Autism, and are always happy for other professionals to get involved with our projects.

Abhi Naha - Digital Accelerator Director, PwC UK

Abhi Naha is the Digital Accelerator Director at PwC. He is creating and leading a new tech division for PwC. The Digital Accelerator solves innovation challenges using the power of scale ups and ecosystems for greater insights, impact and value creation.

Abhi was the CCO of CW Cambridge Wireless and CEO of the Product as a Service Consortium. At CW, Abhi initiated and lead on the 5G private network testbed in Cambridge, corporate digital innovation accelerators and high value collaborations.

Abhi was the CEO and Founder of Zone V a Cambridge start up backed by Qualcomm and ARM focused on empowering people with aging eyes and visually impairment through inclusively designed smartphone software. He held senior roles at Powermat, San Jose based Synaptics and advisory roles for Goldman Sachs and Silver Lake in the area of mobile user interface technologies. Abhi is a senior advisor to an autonomous vehicle mobility scale up Conigital, Industry Partner (Digital Infrastructure) for Arjun Infrastructure Partners with 5 Billion Euros of assets under management and an Ambassador for the United Nations Global Sustainability Index Institute. Abhi studied Electronics and Electrical Engineering, has an MBA in International Marketing and authored a book on Mobile Handset Design when approached by Cambridge University Press. More recently Abhi has created an initiative to help train widows in developing countries learn python programming, gain financial empowerment and become future leaders.

Nigel Newbutt

Nigel is a senior researcher at the University of the West of England in the fields of autism, technology and education. He has been developing lines of enquiry regarding autism and technology for over 10 years and published work in this area of study. This has lead to consultancy work with US and EU businesses in the fields of technology and autism in addition to funding to support his endeavours. He is also a trustee of a charity ( that he helped to set up, and Chaired over 4 years ago. His work has involved user-centred design, case study methodology and traditional psychology approaches to investigating this area. More recently he has identified opportunities for working with VR and head-mounted displays used by autistic groups. His work (with colleagues in the US) has recently examined the potential of VR and HMDs for autistic groups; this was some of the first evidence published on the use of commercially available VR technology in the field. Nigel is keen, and instant, on involving autistic individuals/groups as co-researchers on the work he engages; seeking insights and perspectives from the people with whom he is researching with. In addition, he sees this ‘space’ as one where interdisciplinary approaches must be utilised to ensure the best possible impact and outcomes of autistic groups using VR HMDs. For example, working with; psychologists, educationalists, software developers, designers, neuroscientists to name a few.

Event Location

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Location info

The Bradfield Centre, 184 Cambridge Science Park Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0GA

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