BPP Nicholls is a research student in the School of Engineering and Digital Arts.



  • Reed, D., Woodruff, H., Hopper, T. and Nicholls, B. (2017). Influential Journey’s Through Dental Communities of Practice: A Phenomenological Based Enquiry Approach. Advanced Journal of Professional Practice [Online] 1:2-14. Available at: https://journals.kent.ac.uk/index.php/ajpp/article/view/383/1470.
    Objective: To identify meaningful factors influencing the dental professional’s transit within Communities of Practice (CoPs).
    Methods: A phenomenological methodology approach was taken to conduct interviews with 7 dental elites (plus 1 pilot interview) identified through purposive sampling; all had held central positions of influence within dental CoPs; all had journeyed to those positions from the periphery of the Community of Practice (CoP). A semi-structured phenomenological based interview schedule was utilised for data collection and thematic analysis was employed for data analysis.
    Results: Coding led to the identification of four progressive and interlinked emergent themes related to the meanings that the individual participants placed on their journeys undertaken from peripheral participation to the centre of CoP: Self Awareness; Social Awareness; Cultural Awareness and Transformatory Awareness.
    Conclusion: The journeys undertaken by individuals navigating their own trajectory within a dental CoP require a significant undertaking of awareness development across a number of significant areas. Successful negotiation of those sites requires a preparedness for growth, adaption and evolution.
    The implications for practice and suggestions for other research are included.
  • Lee, Y., Nicholls, B., Lee, D., Chen, Y., Chun, Y., Ang, C. and Yeo, W. (2017). Soft Electronics Enabled Ergonomic Human-Computer Interaction for Swallowing Training. Scientific Reports [Online] 7. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep46697.
    We introduce a skin-friendly electronic system that enables human-computer interaction (HCI) for swallowing training in dysphagia rehabilitation. For an ergonomic HCI, we utilize a soft, highly compliant (“skin-like”) electrode, which addresses critical issues of an existing rigid and planar electrode combined with a problematic conductive electrolyte and adhesive pad. The skin-like electrode offers a highly conformal, user-comfortable interaction with the skin for long-term wearable, high-fidelity recording of swallowing electromyograms on the chin. Mechanics modeling and experimental quantification captures the ultra-elastic mechanical characteristics of an open mesh microstructured sensor, conjugated with an elastomeric membrane. Systematic in vivo studies investigate the functionality of the soft electronics for HCI-enabled swallowing training, which includes the application of a biofeedback system to detect swallowing behavior. The collection of results demonstrates clinical feasibility of the ergonomic electronics in HCI-driven rehabilitation for patients with swallowing disorders.
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