Teaching in a new form at Lund University

A new Biomedical Centre at a Swedish university is pushing the envelope of modern teaching methods. Paul Milligan finds out how.

Lund University in Sweden was founded in 1666, making it one of Northern Europe’s oldest universities. With approximately 47,000 students and 8,800 staff, the University has nine faculties, with additional campuses in Helsingborg, Malmö and Ljungbyhed. It was recently ranked in the top 100 universities in the world and was also placed 22nd in Europe. The University has an impressive history, including five Nobel Prizes wins, the creation of the first implantable pacemaker, the development of Bluetooth technology and the development of the modern-day medical ventilator.

One of the University’s faculties has recently opened a brand new building in the form of the Forum Medicum. Designed by Henning Larsen Architects at a cost of 450 million Swedish Krona (€40m), the Faculty of Medicine's new premises in Lund was built to house 170 research groups, approximately 1,600 employees and 2,000 students in the fields of occupational therapy, audiology, biomedicine, physiotherapy, health economics, speech therapy, and nursing. Spread over 21,000 sq m, the new building has seven floors and 120 rooms.

With the co-location of the Health Sciences Centre with the current Biomedical Centre, the faculty wanted to create synergies between the three research areas: basic research, health science research and clinical research. The aim is to contribute to a more interdisciplinary and collaborative way of working for the entire faculty's research and education departments.

The wider vision for Forum Medicum is to become one of the most important meeting places at Lund University, an academic melting pot, strategically placed along the university's knowledge corridor with university healthcare, technology, natural sciences and humanities as its closest neighbours. It aims to create an environment where students, researchers, teachers, the healthcare industry, and the general public will meet to discuss new ideas.

As you would expect from a building entirely devoted to matters of health, the building is certified in the highest class for an environmental building (level gold by the Swedish Green Building Council), for its low energy consumption. The Forum Medicum is also home to MoReLab (Movement and Reality Lab), a full scale laboratory for health sciences research. The MoReLab is looking for new ways to expand the knowledge of human health and behaviour in everyday life. Studies look at real environments such as housing, sport/exercise, workplace, hospital, residential care and home care settings.

MoRe-Lab has three integrated platforms, the first includes equipment enabling which can assess muscle strength and power, muscle activation and motion analysis. The second platform is a mock-up of a house, allowing researchers to modify the environment to conduct different studies. It includes furniture and fixtures, and other equipment to simulate a real life environment. The reality platform is equipped with AV equipment which can integrate with other systems for data collection. The third platform includes wearable devices as well as portable versions of equipment from platforms 1 and 2 for studies in authentic real life environments.

Tasked with supplying AV to 120 rooms, four lecture theatres, and six Active Learning Classrooms inside the Forum Medicum was Swedish systems integrator Informationsteknik Scandinavia. The client wanted the building to be a gateway into the medical faculty says Gustav Rue, sales, Informationsteknik. “The message was ‘Please come and be collaborative here’. In the centre of the building, there’s a main atrium with a big stairway in the middle where you can sit and work, and there’s a large (Sharp/NEC) LED screen on which you could have a big presentation for everybody to see. Also, they’ve built balconies in the middle of the atrium with student workspaces, so they can work collaboratively in the heart of this new building.”

The University has been a long-term client of the integrator, and won a tender for the project, which was worth SEK 30 million (€2.6m). A consultant, AV-rådgivaren from Stockholm, was employed to write the AV tender, and this was then passed to Informationsteknik to work with once it had won. The tender was very precise says Rue. “In one part it explained exactly what kind of fasteners we should use, and in another how we should mark cabling in specific rooms.”

The spaces in the new building are filled in three parts explains Rue. “There are spaces that are not communal, but can be booked by everyone. Different faculties have spaces or rooms or classrooms that other faculties can use, they’re shared. And then of course, you have your standard classrooms and ALCs (more on those later) specific for this faculty, and meeting rooms for staff.”

The consultant opted for a wireless AV system, and Wolfvision’s Cynap wireless presentation system was chosen, because as well as transmitting wireless signals it can also host video calls in different meetings rooms in the building too. The Forum Medicum is home to six Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs). For those not familiar with the concept, ALCs are student-centred, technologyrich classrooms, with large student tables and moveable seating designed to facilitate collaboration and learning. “Cynap really shines in those classrooms,” says Rue.

He explains how the concept actually works at Lund University. “It’s a collaborative environment, the students are grouped on round tables, and the teacher is more of an emcee or host. By every round table you have a smaller screen and a microphone. The groups can use the screen to display within the group, but the teacher can also say ‘let’s look at Group 2, they have some interesting ideas here’, and you can display all of Group 2’s work to everybody.” The largest ALC at Lund can accommodate 144 students around 16 round tables. “There’s a lot of technology going on in there,” says Rue. “The teacher has an iPad or PC where they control all the screens if they want to share or push content to other screens.” The other ALCs can seat between 40 to 60 students. “What I've seen so far, they're really popular with students. It’s a new form of teaching that’s really on the rise,” adds Rue. All displays in the ALCs are touch-enabled to boost collaboration.

The LED wall in the atrium area is one of the biggest 4K LED walls Sharp/NEC has installed in the Nordics to date. The LED tiles are 1.8mm pixel pitch and the total screen size is an impressive 324 inches in size. It features 4K native resolution, and measures 7.2 metres wide and 4.3 metres high. Audio in the ALCS is handled via flat table microphones, with charging pads on the table. The design of the tables were the subject of much discussion says Rue. “When the deal was made the client was concerned that the round tables should be able to house all the electronics, and they had an a specific model in mind. We asked - how much space do we need? And what kind of cooling do we need inside?” The final choice of the design of the tables was a collaborative effort, between Informationsteknik and the client, so that they could facilitate the ACL concept and house all of the AV too.

Informationsteknik has also delivered four traditional 100-capacity lecture theatres with 136-in LED screens as the main display, and one larger room for VIPs or board meetings. Why choose LED instead of blended projection for the lecture theatres? “The theatres have a lot of low hanging lights, so a projector solution would not work. The LED we chose is a premium product, so it produces a much better picture quality in these kinds of environments as there are a lot of light coming in from the outside and LED is superior in those environments,” explains Rue. Teaching in the smaller lecture spaces is driven from a desk or lectern, and the rooms are also home to wipe-clean writing boards, which are mounted floor-to-ceiling on a Unicol track system, because the rooms have walls made of glass. This meant that in these teaching spaces the Samsung displays (ranging from 55- to 98-in in size) that were eventually chosen had to be really thin, because the wipe-clean boards and pillars sit directly in front of the screens.

All the AV sits on the Crestron VC4 platform, managed from a central server, and at least half of all the spaces have video meeting capabilities with cameras and microphones. The AV in the meeting rooms have been standardised where possible on 43-in Samsung displays, Chief mounts, Wolfvision Cynap and Poly Studio videobars. Other rooms feature Logitech Brio 505 webcams, with Kramer speakers and Extron cabling. LED screens in sizes 135-in and 162-in are also installed in six different classrooms/meeting rooms.

Audio in the Forum Medicum is handled via a Dante network, and features a mix of Bose DM6C ceiling speakers, MSA12 loudspeakers, MB210 subwoofers, CC64 network controllers, EX1280 DSPs, EX-440C signal processors, and Sennheiser handheld mics and TeamConnect ceiling mic systems. What were the biggest challenges on this project for Informationsteknik? Unsurprisingly, with such an emphasis on wireless technology and the Cynap system, it was the network that ‘was a struggle from the start’ says Rue. “We knew it was going to be a challenge, we did another project for University in the autumn before this project with some AVoIP on the network and we knew then it was going to be a challenge for any bigger projects. So we were prepared and I think we had the right staff, the right people and the right discussions and the right mindset,” says Rue. As well as the network challenges, Informationsteknik also had to deal with the typical logistical challenges that come with a new build project says Rue. “We could not start working or drilling in the rooms because inspections were going on at the same time we were working. Because of the size of the project, the logistics of moving kit was hard too. We had 42 98-in screens to move and they don’t fit in elevators.”

Was Informationsteknik able to test everything off-site before it got to the installation part of the project or was it all done on-site? A proof of concept was key here says Rue. “As many rooms were similar, we decided together with the inspection officer, to make one [test] room, so they could inspect it in advance, and then make comments or suggest changes. Then we have a template on how the other rooms should be done to pass inspection, which was a good way to work it.” Moving forward, the AV is handled on a day-to-day basis by two internal University technicians, which run alongside an Informationsteknik service contract. Informationsteknik has also supplied training to the technical support team on each AV device installed, who can then pass that knowledge down to the end users. The goal of the Forum Medicum is to bring people together, whether that is staff or students. In what is going to become a prototype for this type of endeavour should other universities want to follow suit, what Informationsteknik has done is provide the very tools to make that vision achievable every day.


Ampetronic C10-2D MultiLoop hearing loop drivers
Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub routers
Bose ControlSpace EX-440C conferencing processors, DM6C ceiling speakers
Cisco Business 350 Series switches
Chief RMF2, FSR1U mounts
Cisco Business 350 Series switches
Crestron VC4 software, TS-770-B-S 7-in and TSW-1070-B-S 10-in touchscreens, NVX 360 encoders
d&b audiotechnik 24C column loudspeakers, Bi8 subwoofers, 10D amplifiers,
Extron HDMI cables
JBLPro PSB-1 soundbars
Kramer Tavor 6-O loudspeakers, C-MHM HDMI cables
Logitech Brio 505 webcams
Magewell USB video capture devices
Middle Atlantic 5-21-26 slim rack
Multibrackets M VESA Flexarm Tilt & Turn III mounts
Panasonic AW-HE20WEJ PTZ cameras
Poly Studio videobars, Studio E70 conferencing cameras
Samsung 43-in, 55-in, 85-in, 98-in displays
Sennheiser Team Connect Ceiling II microphones, SpeechLine receivers
Sharp/NEC 27-in monitors, LED-E015i-135 1.5mm LED tiles
Unicol floor-to-ceiling kit
Wolfvision Cynap

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