Our Engineering students were fortunate enough to have been visited by two innovative robots for a lively hands-on demonstration.
The great opportunity for our students to explore the latest in commercial technology was thanks to a visit from SoftBank Robotics. The demonstration was organised to show our Engineering students how new technology is now being used in settings that we don’t typically associate with robots, such as classrooms and even shops.
SoftBank Robotics explained some of the technology that powers their computerised colleagues to our students, which can be programmed for all kinds of different educational uses. Pepper is able to detect emotions, has 20 motors and is covered in sensors so it can move around without any collisions. Its smaller companion, NAO, is able to mimic human poses, speak to people in 20 different languages and even help students learn programming.
Our students were especially pleased when Pepper began to detect their faces, follow them around the room and finally show them the full extent of its movements by dancing to some music.
David Barker, Head of Faculty for Engineering and Construction, is enthusiastic about creating opportunities for students to experience new technology. He said:
“Visits like this are a lot of fun for the students, but they also inspire them to think about the wide range of fields they could pursue within Engineering. We’re seeing robotics and artificial intelligence becoming more prominent in the commercial world now, so any chance we have to introduce students to those who work with new technologies is going to help excite and teach our students about the kind of work they could go on to specialise in.”