Online Scams

Harry Brignull has recently published an excellent and accessible book called Deceptive Patterns. In it, he describes the diversity of techniques that web developers have used to nudge and manipulate users into giving information or paying... Read more →

Super Shoes

This autumn, Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa broke the woman’s world marathon record. She took just 2 hours 11 minutes and 53 seconds – which is 2 minutes and 11 seconds less than the record set previously 4... Read more →

Changed Images

AI is being applied to all manner of tasks that humans have always done and which over time are proving to be better than them. One of the first applications was in radiology where machine learning... Read more →

Beyond Human

An interview with Geoff Hinton in the New York Times this week made me stop and think about where AI is heading next. The last few months have been a bit of a roller coaster since... Read more →

Oh Bard!

Sometimes bad timing and misfortune can end up having a massive negative impact on an organisation, as happened recently to Google who were in the process of launching their new AI tool, Bard. Hours before going... Read more →

Numbing numbers

A part of my work involves advising various companies and government bodies about their future technology research strategies. This week, I had the pleasure of visiting the EPSRC headquarters in Swindon for a two-day meeting. Besides... Read more →


A mysterious dark space in a strange shopping mall can be very luring especially when it is only lit up by LED screens in the window. On entering ‘The Circle’ –  Zurich airport’s latest retail space... Read more →

The Metaverse

Why is there so much hype about the Metaverse these days?  It has even taken over from AI as the hottest tech topic. Last week when I asked Matthew Ball, the author of a forthcoming book... Read more →

TikTok Food

TikTok has been around since 2016 and caught on like wildfire amongst young people all round the world, as quickly as Facebook did when it first took off. It is fast and furious, and because of... Read more →

Groundhog Day

Yesterday evening many of us living in England sat down for the nth time to watch a live Press Conference from Number 10 about the latest COVID restrictions, with a sense of déjà vu rather than... Read more →

Post-Pandemic Bliss

I am on my first work trip abroad for 20 months and it is so exciting. The return to ‘in-person’ meetings after what seems like a lifetime of being on Zoom and Teams is sheer bliss... Read more →

The Twisties

Simone Biles introduced the world to the phenomenon of “twisties” this week when she had to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics as she realized her mind and body were out of synch after she had... Read more →

Drone Delivery

Amazon have been trialling drone delivery of parcels to people living in remote and suburban towns for a while now. Since then, flying deliveries have literally taken off. Only last month, a rival start-up company in... Read more →

Study Tubers

As the revision season comes around again and students start to fret about their exams, many turn to joining others in a café and in the library to help them keep on track, keep motivated and... Read more →

Funny Money

One of my friends told me he still had cash in his wallet that he had withdrawn from an ATM a year ago! He works in the city and usually spends it on coffee, snacks, drinks,... Read more →

Step Challenge

There are a myriad of apps available now that are designed to get you to take part and sustain interest in some form of physical exercise – be it walking, running, cycling, yoga, swimming or other. ... Read more →

Wikipedia What?

I was chatting with some friends about where we get our general knowledge from. One reminisced about the rows of hardback, dark blue covered books, called the “Encyclopedia Britannica”, her family had bought from a dodgy... Read more →

Managing Uncertainty

 Last week I went to my local swimming baths for my pre-booked slot alongside about 25 others. On the stroke of 12.00 p.m. we walked at a distance from each other to the poolside already in... Read more →

Dancing Queen

Since the pandemic turned our world inside out most of us have been sat for hours on end each day in front of a display (phone, tablet, laptop or PC) interacting with all manner of virtual... Read more →

Remote Sport

Football has started again in Germany played in front of empty stadiums. It must be so weird for the teams to play without the roar of the crowd cheering them on. Normally, the chanting, banter and... Read more →

Remote Nurturing

Many of my friends have taken to gardening during lockdown, making raised beds and planting whatever seeds they can get their hands on. Just like the craze for baking and bread-making, there is now one for... Read more →

Remote Places

Last week, everyone was experimenting with backdrops for their Teams, Zoom or GoTo meetings – I have seen the Northern Lights, New York, beach resorts, outer space, and various exotic places. Quite a contrast from the... Read more →

Remote Tracking

It is great to see the tech companies coming together to do their bit to help curb coronavirus. Apple and Google have been collaborating on a tracking platform that could help governments worldwide monitor, track and... Read more →

Remote Numbers

The day before the coronavirus lockdown started in the UK, I had a smart meter fitted in my house. After the engineer had finished, he walked me through all the various functions shown on the digital... Read more →

Remote Living

So official lockdown kicked in on Monday for us living in Britain. The rules are a bit more lenient than in some countries, where they have draconian curfew measures in place. Here, we are allowed to... Read more →

Remote Working

It has been a full-on week of remote working since the university instructed us last week to do so because of the escalation of coronavirus. It feels like I have had more videoconferencing meetings than hot... Read more →

Standing Out

Much has been written about the power of a label to make the object it is attached to stand out. Popular techniques used include striking images, bright colours, ironic slogans and unusual designs. The trick is... Read more →

Men First

Sitting on the tube on my way to work a slogan in a new ad on the train caught my eye, “Cheat. Dress Better.” Whatever could it mean? Not being a particularly natty dresser myself I... Read more →

Amazon Go

I had the pleasure of visiting Amazon’s HQ in Seattle last week to give a talk on my research. I also got to experience Amazon Go – the new grocery store they have created which has... Read more →

Digital Faces

The other day, I accidentally touched a part of my address book on my phone screen and it started calling a friend on WhatsApp. I knew it was starting to connect by its distinct soft pulsing... Read more →

Surveillance Madness

Recently, I read a newspaper article about a family who were having dinner in a restaurant when they all received an alert on their phones saying that someone had activated their home security system. They clicked... Read more →

Creepy Data

A couple of weeks ago I gave a seminar at Stanford University entitled ‘Revealing data: creepy or curious’. Much of my research has been driven by a desire to encourage people to be more curious about... Read more →

Plastic Robots

Six months ago, I was all in favour of the arrival of interactive androgynous robots in public places, like shopping malls and airports, that had the potential to be equally appealing and entertaining to kids of... Read more →

Alarming Alert

When I lived in the mid-west in the US, I used to go swimming in the Olympic-sized outdoors pool at the University I was working at. One afternoon, I jumped in and started doing my strokes... Read more →

Smart AI

One of my PhD students has been investigating how environmental sensors can be situated in community gardens to provide new data about light levels. The motivation stems from wanting to help the volunteers who work in... Read more →

Opera Moments

The other day, I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new exhibition “Opera: Passion, Power and Politics”. This latest extravaganza explores the context, history and origins of seven great operas in seven magnificent cities, from... Read more →

Alpha Generation

When does childhood innocence disappear?  Does it get younger for each generation as they get caught up in the all encompassing digital world? The other day I was asked by a writer from Wired UK to... Read more →

Grown-up Robots

When visiting the vast Westfield Emporium in San Francisco last week I came across my first Pepper Robot. It was performing in front of an attentive young man in a cordoned off area next to an... Read more →

Driverless Cars

We hear all the time now about how driverless cars will revolutionize the automobile industry. Billions of dollars, yen and euros are being poured into research labs throughout the world to make this happen. The race... Read more →

Game Changer

A couple of months ago when visiting Cape Town, a friend asked me to take a Fidget cube over for her son. I did not think anything of it at the time other than noticing it... Read more →

Face Age

I have been watching episodes of “Tonight at the London Palladium” on ITV for the last couple of weeks. My interest was whetted when seeing one of my former schoolmates, Bradley Walsh, hosting it. He is... Read more →

Fake News

At what age do children stop believing in Father Christmas? I think I was about five when I saw my mother stealthily entering my bedroom with a stocking stuffed with presents ‘from Santa’ and placing it... Read more →

Super Robots

I visited some friends for dinner last night and in the corner of their living room I spied a Roomba. I asked them if they still used it and they enthused how it was one of... Read more →

Roving Eyes

It is now increasingly common to see bobbies on the beat wearing body cams. Millions of drivers have in recent years bought dash cams for their cars. More cyclists are attaching Go-Pros cams to their helmets.... Read more →

The i360

The latest attraction in Brighton, the i360, opened a few weeks ago to much fanfare and a bit of grumpiness. On the website, British Airways who are behind the project proudly proclaim, “Take a flight to... Read more →

Street Party

Each year my street has a summer party to which everyone in the street and adjoining roads is invited. I have managed to be on holiday for the last few years and have missed it. But... Read more →

All-electric Car

Driving a fully electric car for the first time felt like being in an ultra turbo charged golf buggy. Well, the acceleration and deceleration part of driving. Instead of going vroom vroom when you put your... Read more →

Cognitive Dressing

There is so much hype about AI at the moment; how it is going to transform society in so many ways. The 4th industrial revolution seems to be in our midst. Our lives will be made... Read more →

Super Smellers

Last night the weather suddenly turned into a full on symphony as I made a dash from the train to the taxi rank; all at once rain started lashing, wind howling, lightning sheeting, thunder cracking, reaching... Read more →

Pigeon Carriers

I came across an article in the news about using pigeons to monitor air pollution levels in London. 12 carrier pigeons have each been strapped with a backpack full of sensor technologies that can detect nitrogen... Read more →