Kate Devlin

Senior Lecturer
Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Kate Devlin

News: Sex Tech Hack II will be held at Goldsmiths in November 2017.

Kate Devlin is an academic and a writer. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London. A former archaeologist, Kate went on to do a PhD in computer science and now researches into how society interacts with and reacts to technological change and what we can learn from that in forecasting new and emerging tech. She works in the fields of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and is currently focusing on cognition, sex, gender and sexuality - the subject of her popular TEDx talk, Sex Robots, in March 2017, which amassed 24,000 views within its first 24 hours online. In 2016 she ran Europe's first sex tech hackathon. Her popular science book, “Turned On: The Science of the Sex Robot” will be published by Bloomsbury in 2018. She is passionate about public engagement to the point of doing stand-up on occasion. Kate is a campaigner for mental health awareness and for gender equality and is involved in national initiatives to improve opportunities for women in tech.

My research is interdisciplinary, under the Goldsmiths' umbrella of Cognition, Computation and Culture, and I have published in all three of these areas. I apply knowledge of perception and the human visual system to assess how people perceive the world around them. This has led to projects in areas such as sensorimotor theory, colour and light perception, interaction design and accessibility - and sex robots. For my work on sex technology and intimacy, please visit futureintimacy.com.

I write for Bloomsbury Publishing's Sigma imprint and my book "Turned On: The Science of the Sex Robot" will be published in 2018. (My other book, "The Brightness of Things" is on hold until I finish "Turned On".) I also write regularly for The Amorist.

Following my undergraduate degree in Archaeology from Queen's University, Belfast, I spent a couple of years working in a wide range of muddy trenches on rescue excavations in Ireland. Back to Queen's to undertake an MSc in Computer Science and Applications. A bit more digging, a short time as a programmer, a PhD in the Computer Science department at the University of Bristol, a post-doc in the Arch and Anth department, then a move to Goldsmiths.

I also focus on digital cultural heritage, especially representations of past environments. My work has involved travelling internationally to carry out data capture, such as laser scanning of archaeological sites and artefacts - usually those under threat of destruction.

I am currently supervising Tolga Arslan's PhD on colour and cognition, and Janet Gibbs' PhD on Sensory augmentation for gaming: a sensorimotor approach. I also supervised Karsten Seipp's PhD in interaction design on mobile devices, and Monica Moreno's MSc on Artificial Sexuality.

As a feminist, I strive towards highlighting the role of women in computer science and addressing sexism and the gender imbalance in the computing industry.

In 2013 I was one of 60 experts selected out of over 2000 applicants for training as an expert contributor and presenter at the BBC. I have taken part in BBC television and radio training at the BBC Academy and am part of the BBC's Expert Women database.


Feedback and consultation hours: Book a slot at https://katedevlin.youcanbook.me/

In academic year 2016-2017 I am teaching the following:

2014/15 TALIC Fellowship: Investigating good practice in learning and teaching for students with chronic mental health conditions.
2007/08 CELT Fellowship: Teaching Web 2.0 by doing Web 2.0

I am also a strong advocate for the legitimate use of biscuits as a teaching aid.

Within Goldsmiths

  • Member of the College Council (elected academic representative)
  • Member of the Goldsmiths Press editorial board
  • Chair of the departmental Athena SWAN self-assessment team and member of the College's Athena SWAN self-assessment team.
  • Departmental Equality and Diversity officer
  • UCU branch Equality and Diversity rep and UCU caseworker


  • Member of the EPSRC Associate Peer Review College
  • Member of the EPSRC ICT working group on equality and diversity
  • Committee member of The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), the largest Artificial Intelligence Society in the United Kingdom.
  • Member of the steering committee for the newly-founded European Society for Cognitive Systems (arising from EUCog: European Network for the Advancement of Artificial Cognitive Systems, Interaction and Robotics)
  • Member of the TeenTechCity steering committee.
  • Member of the Scholarship Committee for the British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG)
  • Member of the advisory board of the London Charter

Reviewer for:

  • EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust, CHI, Journal of Archaeological Science, IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Digital Humanities (2009-present), Eurographics, Computers & Graphics, SIGGRAPH, IEEE Computer Graphics and Application, Electronic Visualisation & the Arts (EVA).

Research outreach and public engagement


2016 2015 and earlier

My articles on Women in Computing

My articles on mental health