Brownies and Guides take on robotic challenge



Brownies and Girl Guides visited the University's Edinburgh Campus to learn how to code and instruct robots during a special event hosted by female students and academics as part of the Year of Robotics 2017.

If we can spark their enthusiasm at an early age then, I believe, we can make a massive difference.

Dr Tessa Berg

The event, which was organised as part of British Science Week, was designed to inspire young people, in particular girls, to consider a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). There continues to be a chronic shortage of women pursuing careers or studying STEM subjects, a shortage that the University is keen to address.

Participants worked in small groups to undertake a robotic challenge with dancing robots. They also met scientists to learn more about current Heriot-Watt research projects, ranging from underwater robots that search for missing ships to tiny robots that could enter the bloodstream and seek out disease.

Dr Tessa Berg, from the Department of Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt, said, “It is crucial that we try to dispel the myths about Computing being for boys before these young women decide upon their future career paths. We know that girls can be just as successful in Computing as boys, if not more so, but they apply to study Computing in much smaller numbers than boys. The gender imbalance is recognised as a problem globally and we have been doing all we can at Heriot-Watt to address this by engaging with girls and introducing them to a world of Computing, Robotics and AI. If we can spark their enthusiasm at an early age then, I believe, we can make a massive difference.”

The event was sponsored by the British Science Association, Total and Baker Hughes, and formed part of Heriot-Watt's Year of Robotics, a year-long programme celebrating and demonstrating Heriot-Watt's pioneering research at the forefront of robotics, AI and human-robotic interaction.