THE seventh Malvern Festival of Innovation drew in a broad audience of students, business professionals, families and interested members of the public for a week of events around the town.

Highlights included an opening talk from Dr Edmund Hunt of the University of Bristol's robotics lab, explaining how robots are being programmed to cooperate in swarms using nature as a blueprint.

The Next Generation Innovators schools day coincided with Ada Lovelace Day and National Boffin Day, celebrating the role of scientists and the excitement of a STEM career.

The festival went on to explore solutions to environmental problems, including an update from Rift Technology which is developing efficient electric motors.

This was followed by entrepreneurs Mike Goodfellow-Smith, Ella Stearn and Jeff Lynn from Seedrs telling their stories about starting businesses and the challenges they faced.

The cyber security and quantum computing day provided insights into the future of information technology, with Professor Tim Spiller, Dr Roberto Desimone and Sir John McCanny.

A new topic this year was Blockchains and Bitcoins, in which experts spoke about current and future applications of distributed ledger technology and crypto-currencies. The event included the launch of digital collectables called Crypto Rox by local startup BlockMark Technologies.

Another highlight was the Creative Careers event, when schools from around the region heard from Dragons’ Den investment winner Pete Hill and a team of engineers from Jaguar Land Rover.

Visitors included students from twin town Bagnères-de-Bigorre, and participants had the chance to inspect a Jaguar electric vehicle.

The festival finished with a family day at Malvern Theatres, where speakers Dr Sophie Kain and Huw James talked about being creative, solving problems, applying science, and exploring the unknown.

Festival founder Dr Adrian Burden said: “We had another fantastic festival with world class speakers coming from around the UK to share their thoughts on recent and future developments in science, technology, engineering, design and entrepreneurship.

"Thanks to all our sponsors and supporters for enabling us to stage the event and make many of the sessions free for all to attend.”