Outreach is an important part of the work in our lab, whether this be to educate the public about the research we are doing, or to encourage the next generation of students to consider a career in STEM fields. For some of these events, I have been able to capture a snapshot image, video, or audio memory, and below is a selection of these, and there are many other such events which have escaped the eyes of my camera. For example, we regularly show live demos of our work to visitors at Imperial College, and if you would like to arrange such a visit then please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on our research, each of our projects has a blog-style webpage written in an accessible manner, which you can view here. And for those of you who like videos, every Christmas I release a video summary of our research that year, which you can view here.
In December 2021, the BBC World Service came to visit me in my lab. I gave them a live demo of our recent work on imitation learning, where I showed how to teach our robot to operate a toaster. This then led to a little interview, which was broadcast in January 2022, and which can be listened to here. My bits are at 12:10 and 35:30!
Over the summer of 2021, I was a mentor for three students as part of the in2scienceUK programme. This is an initiative to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds start a career in STEM fields. As part of this, I invited my mentees to visit me in my lab and shadow me for a day in August 2021. Here we are in my office!
In April 2021, I gave a virtual talk to Year 3 students at Sandcross School in Reigate, the town I grew up in. Luckily, a lot of my research involves live demos and videos, which which was fun for the students to see. Here they are saying goodbye at the end!
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in several lockdowns in the UK, where all meetings had to be done virtually, and access to the lab was restricted. In November 2020, I released a video explaining how my group and I have been dealing with all this.
Every year (pre-pandemic), I give a live demo at the Great Exhibition Road Festival. Here's our robot at the June 2019 festival, tidying the table!
I have given several public talks at the wonderful Pint of Science events, which combines outreach talks with an evening out at the pub! Below is a video from one of these talks, in December 2016.
Encouraging school students to apply to study STEM subjects is an important part of being an academic, and I have regularly invited groups of students to visit my lab and experience a few hours of academic life. Below are photos from the Engineering Summer School for Girls in 2015, where I designed a number of activities to help students to understand what the fields of computer vision and robotics really mean to us as researchers.