Rob on Newsnight


I got an interesting phone call on Friday afternoon from Hannah, a researcher on Newsnight. They were doing a piece about the Imagine Cup and she wondered if I would like to come down to London and take part in a discussion about the competition. After subtly checking to see if it was a wind up by saying “You’re not a student are you?” I decided that it was all above board and agreed to hop on the train on Monday, a situation only slightly complicated by the fact that it was my wedding anniversary the following Tuesday (Solution: take number on wife with me).

And so at 10:30 tonight I found myself sitting chatting with Dame Evelyn Glennie, someone who I have long admired. Such a great person. The subject for the discussion was the project from winners of the 2012 Imagine Cup, Team Quadsquad, who had created a glove that converts sign language into speech. You can see the video of their finalist presentation here. We were debating the value of the technology, and how/if it could be fitted into the lives of the hearing and speech impaired.  For me the best thing about the night was that we were there at all, and that student teams had produced a device which provided the basis for discussion and development of the technology, something that the Imagine Cup is all about.

The whole thing was over in a trice and then we were ushered back out of the studio where I managed to arrange a blurry photograph. We then headed out into the night, Dame Evelyn to go back home and us to celebrate by having a drink in the wrong hotel. Great fun. I think the show will appear on iPlayer at some point in the future. I think the machine at home has recorded it. At least I hope so…