Public outreach

Communicating the challenges faced by the nuclear industry and robotic solutions able to solve them

Why is Outreach Important?

Nuclear power provides 20% of the UK’s energy and is fundamental to our current energy security. Conversations with the general public about nuclear often have an uneasy air. Nuclear is generally considered a necessary source of electricity, which carries potential risk and future consequence. Similarly, whilst robotics and AI can be hugely beneficial, there are many unknowns and reasonable public concerns. We think it is important to have more conversations about nuclear energy, as well as the robotic and AI technologies that we are developing and how they could change the future working environment.

Manchester Science Festival (MSF)

Outreach Glovebox

How Do We Do It?

To communicate the nuclear challenges we are trying to address with RAI technology we have developed a number of games. One is a glovebox task, coinciding with our remote handling working group. Participants are asked to complete a simple task within a glovebox, under a time pressure. This simple task is made far harder using industrial gloves. The game leads to conversation around the future of gloveboxes and the technology that can improve the safety and comfort of people handling hazardous materials, as well as some competition!

We have a similar task based around remote inspection. Particularly popular with younger children, participants have to feel around an “unknown room” and map what they think is in there. They can then design what an inspection robot might need.

We regularly join forces with the Dalton Nuclear Institute to have joint stands at Science Festivals, including Bluedot. Dalton has activities related to radiation and geological disposal facilities. These work really well alongside our nuclear challenge games, robot maze and small manipulators to try. At the core of our joint stand we use a conversation pillar that evolves through the events as visitors contribute questions, answers, drawings or vote on relevant polls. We also take beanbag seating to encouraged people to stay and talk to researchers about anything robotics, AI or nuclear. Our priority is to listen and engage people, not lecture them on science.

Bluedot Festival 2019

The Lovell Telescope
Robot Maze Challenge
Conversation Board
The RAIN Team
The Leaderboard

Some events we have participated in

Women in STEM Day

February 2020

UK Robotics Showcase

June 2019

First LEGO League

February 2019