Win Science Museum ROBOTS exhibition tickets

We’re giving blog subscribers four free tickets to the Science Museum’s latest exhibition ROBOTS, which runs from February to September 2017

ROBOTS takes you on an incredible journey spanning five centuries, illustrated with robotic artefacts from around the globe, from a 16th century mechanised monk to the very latest in robotic technology straight from the lab, and some of film’s most iconic robotic creations.

Focusing on why they exist rather than on how they work, this blockbuster exhibition explores the ways robots mirror humanity and the insights they offer into our ambitions, desires and position in a rapidly changing world.

We are especially excited about the exhibition, as it includes Robotic Skin by Dr Perla Maiolino, one of our research and teaching fellows. Tickets are £15 (£13 concessions) – or free to the four lucky winners!

How to enter the competition

  • Click here to enter your name and email address.
    This will enter you into the competion, and sign you up to receive new blogposts by email. You can unsubscribe at any time. If you are already a subscriber to, please enter your name and email address.

Closing date: 11pm Sunday 5 March 2017. We’ll pick four new subscribers at random, and email them on Monday 6 March 2017 with details of how to claim their free ticket.

Report from Goldsmiths’ Sex Tech Hackathon


Back in December 2016, student society Hacksmiths teamed up with Goldsmiths’ Dr Kate Devlin to run the first ever Sex Tech Hackathon.  In this blog post, Creative Computing student Kevin Lewis reports what happened.

Kevin Lewis

Kevin Lewis

Hackathons are invention marathons – where attendees build creative solutions to a challenge set by organisers. One of our tutors, Dr Kate Devlin, wanted to run a hackathon around her area of research – artificial sexuality and the ethics of artificial intelligence – and we couldn’t wait to jump in and help.

Running creative events is not new to Hacksmiths (Goldsmiths’ student-run tech society). Every year we run several large hackathons, but this felt different. We had an exceptional group of attendees from a much wider range of backgrounds than ever before at something we’ve run, and with it came a range of experiences and viewpoints which made the projects at Sex Tech Hack all unique and valuable in their own ways.

Bop It

One team converted children’s toy ‘Bop It’ into a remote control for smart sex toys

For two days we had over 50 talented developers, designers and industry experts join us in St James Hatcham to build innovative new sex technology.

Only in Goldsmiths would you assemble a group of individuals so awesome that they create a combined 14 projects which are so different from one another.

From our very own Dr Sarah Wiseman building a physical computing project to improve communication between partners around kinks, to a group of students with a 3D-printed fist whose vibration intensity changes based on historical data from multinational finance company Goldman Sachs.

No, really, we saw it all – generative erotica, beat-controlled vibrators and a cryptocurrency based on ‘pleasing’ the network. We had quite a few prizes, but the overall best was awarded by our panel of judges to Lovepad – a soft robot specifically designed for non-binary users. The hackers mixed their own silicon in the church over the weekend and it was the more weird and wonderful thing we could have had.

We’ll be running this event again towards the end of 2017 – we want to make it even bigger and better than last time (not that size matters in the slightest). If you want to register for updates, head over to

Science Showoff cabaret returns this March


What happens if you fill a pub with clever and lovely people then invite loads of amazing Goldsmiths scientists to entertain them?

Join us on Wednesday 15 March for a chaotic science cabaret in the Amersham Arms, featuring a line-up of Goldsmiths experts who will delve into the weird and wonderful side of computer science and psychology.

Expect laughs, serial killers, Brad Pitt, a high-tech smart glove, facts that sound totally made up but aren’t, and loads of terrible PowerPoints. Compered by comedian Steve Cross. The line-up:

  • Mark d’Inverno (Computing): Why machines can never be creative – the history and future of creativity
  • Hadeel Ayoub (Computing): Let’s have a talk… glove to glove
  • Sarah Wiseman (Computing): People are weird: Why we shouldn’t experiment on students
  • Caoimhe McAnena (Psychology): The psychology of the Croydon Cat Killer
  • Ashok Jansari (Psychology): What’s the difference between Brad Pitt and a Super-cop?
  • Robert Chapman (Psychology): Why science reporting isn’t funny

When: 6:30pm for 7pm start, Wednesday 15 March 2017
Where: Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, SE14 6TY
Tickets: £6 (£5 for Goldsmiths staff/students). Buy online

Part of British Science Week. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to CARA, the Centre for At-Risk Academics.

Artist Memo Akten inspires Computational Arts students

Blogpost by Theo Papatheodorou, programme leader of MA/MFA in Computational Arts.

MA/MFA in Computational Arts students got a real treat on 23 January when renowned computational artist Memo Akten visited the MA to run a crit session and discuss his work and process.

When Memo first came in, he discussed his role in the openFrameworks community. The students in the Workshops in Creative Coding class on the MA are using openFrameworks to make interactive audiovisual applications using computer vision, machine learning, networking protocols, sensors and a lot more. Memo’s contribution to openFrameworks is great and it was really enjoyable listening him talk about his involvement.

We then went through 15 of the best end-of-term project assignments and Memo gave feedback, ideas and critiqued the work for the benefit of the students.

The highlight of the session came later when Memo gave a talk about his work. It wasn’t a typical talk listing his contributions and achievements (among other things the Golden Nica at Ars Electronica). He hopped between selected projects highlighting a common thread: how ideas are formed, how he picks tools, collaborators and how he (occasionally) pitches ideas to clients.

Some nuggets of wisdom from his talk:

  • On learning new technologies: Give yourself a project and a deadline. Working with tight deadlines enhances the creative process, increases the motivation and facilitates learning.
  • On forming new ideas: He often hacks away on a small thing late at night. This small thing might be just an experiment, a proof-of-concept or a study of a topic that fascinates him. For example, he started investigating and playing with the theme of harmonic motion. The work that started as a humble Processing sketch became an audiovisual installation, a 360-immersive projection, a live performance using 16 percussionists and ultimately a light show outside the Blenheim Palace. See the video below for its manifestation outside the palace.
  • On pitching ideas: Keep a (somewhat) organised file with your ideas. If you do develop something, blog about it, make a how-to video, share your code and your idea with the world. When you’re approached for a commission look over the stack of ideas and scale one up for a project. Don’t get too attached to your ideas. Be ready to throw away one that is not so fresh any more.

Memo is currently completing his PhD in A.I. and machine learning for expressive human-machine interaction at Goldsmiths.

This post was originally published on Goldsmiths’ Computational Arts blog.


New fabrication spaces open at Goldsmiths Computing


Goldsmiths Computing has gained four new spaces this week, with the opening of two fabrication workshops, a specialist teaching room and a staff office.

Situated inside St James Hatcham Building (popularly known as ‘the church’), these new spaces comprise:

  • G11: a specialist teaching room with suspended powerpoints and workbenches
  • G12: the ‘tidy’ workshop with a dozen 3D printers and an Epilog laser cutter
  • G13: the ‘messy’ workshop for wood-working, drilling, sewing and carving, with a ShopBot CNC mill.

These new spaces place Goldsmiths Computing in the forefront of creative computing, allowing students and staff to design and build physical objects that incorporate digital technology.

The as-yet-unnamed facility builds on the concept of the maker space, hacker space or fablab; this is a social space where students from across the department will meet, socialise and collaborate. It joins our suite of superb facilities that include a motion capture lab, digital studios, games lab and computing labs.

Goldsmiths hosts Global Game Jam 2017


For the second year running, we’re inviting students from Goldsmiths and
beyond to participate in a marathon computer game creation event.

Global Game Jam is an international event, taking place in dozens of locations around the world. Over 48 caffeine-fueled hours, participants will develop, programme, test and present a whole bunch of new games.

Starts: 4.30pm Friday 20 Jan 2017
Ends: 7pm Sunday 22 Jan 2017
Venue: Launch event at RHB 300, then moving to Hatcham St James (the church), New Cross SE14 6AD. Map
Tickets: Free. Book online here

At the Goldsmiths event, students from first year to PhD will collaborate in teams, enrich their skills and build their professional portfolios to show off to potential employers. It’s not only for Computing students, but also those studying Design, Music, Creative Writing – or anything else. We welcome students from outside Goldsmiths, as well as members of the London games development community.

Global Game Jam is the world’s largest game jam. The weekend makes a global creative buzz in games development – be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.

GGJ is not a competition: it’s known for helping foster new friendships, increase confidence and opportunities within the community. It is an intellectual challenge, where people are invited to explore new technology tools, try new roles and test their skills.

Everyone gathers on Friday late afternoon and watches a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers. The secret theme is announced (last year’s was “ritual”) and teams worldwide are then challenged to make games based on that theme, with games to be completed by Sunday afternoon.

Our participation in Global Game Jam marks Goldsmiths as a university that is central to the world of creative, innovative, international games development. The event is organised by Goldsmiths Computing and the student tech society Hacksmiths.

First prize for BrightSign smart glove at Seoul hackathon


A Goldsmiths Computing student’s ‘sign language glove’ has taken first prize in an exclusive South Korean hackathon attended by hand-picked students from some of the world’s best universities.

PhD Arts & Computational Technologies candidate Hadeel Ayoub, third-year BSc Creative Computing student Leon Fedden, and 2016 MSci Creative Computing graduate Jakub Fiala took part in the IBM Watson A.I. Hackathon in Seoul earlier this month. Organised by the Art Centre Nabi, the hackathon focused on pioneering technology for use in social care.

Hadeel, an MA Computational Arts graduate who is now studying for her PhD, has spent the past year working on the second version of her BrightSign glove, which turns hand motions into text and speech. In addition to the new developments in the glove’s technology, she has also consulted with Rose Sinclair from Goldsmiths’ Department of Design on the best textiles to use for the product.

During the three day hackathon, the Goldsmiths team built, programmed and trained the BrightSign glove on site. On the final day they presented the project at a public event with a judging panel including the director of IBM Watson.

The BrightSign glove contains an on-board, battery-powered single board computer, flex sensors and an accelerometer. Used in combination with a range of gestural and semantic analysis tools, users can generate and control reliable speech through a dictionary of hand gestures.

The first version of the design made international headlines in 2015, with Hadeel explaining the glove’s potential to improve communication between people with different disabilities.

The Goldsmiths team, supervised by the Department of Computing’s Dr Rebecca Fiebrink and Dr Mick Grierson, were up against stiff competition from Seoul National University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and New York University, among others.


Adapted from a Goldsmiths News article by Sarah Cox