Pint of Spiders… With Robots

The end of May saw the arrival of the 3-day Pint of Science festival, which I was proud to present at this year! For those of you who don’t know it, each Pint of Science event features a couple of scientists talking about their awesome research, usually in a pub function room, to the general public. Tickets are super cheap and it’s after work so people are keen for a pint while hearing about and seeing some interesting science – making it incredibly accessible to everyone!

This year it was in 21 cities across the UK, and in 12 countries across the globe. I was part of the London events, in the Tech Me Out section. My talk was first up on the first night – and it was sold out, so no pressure…

For me, it was the first time I’d spoken about my research in depth to a completely general public audience – so preparing it was a new challenge! It was also the longest talk I’ve given to date, at around 25 minutes. As I was in the Tech section, I decided to begin with the cool robot stuff! Showing loads of videos of robots running around really calmed my nerves, and the audience seemed to like it too. Videos are always great in a talk!

I then showed lots of robot fail videos to highlight the fact that although today’s robots are great, they’re not always that great…


Then that got me into talking about how we can learn from the way animals move, and especially spiders – and onto my work (which is detailed in a previous post).

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Pint of Science. The audience were great, and asked lots of interesting questions at the end, which is always a good sign! There was beer, there was science, there was a super interesting speaker after me talking about using tech to improve athletic performance – what more could you want?!

Lucy Orr of Ars Tecnhica did a nice write-up of my talk (thank you!) and some nice people tweeted some nice stuff:

All in all, it was a brilliant experience, and one I can highly recommend to all researchers and scientists out there. A relaxed atmosphere, a great team of volunteers (big thanks to Agata Nyga, Fabio Tommasini & Francesca Solmi of UCL for organising the event I spoke at!) and science in a pub. Perfect.

Also a big thanks to Mendeley, who sponsored the Tech Me Out event. They gave us some cool free stuff and they featured a summary of my talk on their blog.


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