AI and robotics scientists spark inspiration at major school STEM fair

Visitors to the DriverLeics exhibit at the Bright Sparks STEM fair, including Zavi (left).

Young people across the county and beyond took a walk through an exciting future of robots and artificial intelligence as Team DriverLeics attended the largest school-based STEM Fair Bright Sparks at Leicester Grammar School, accompanied by their robot dog.  

Leicester Grammar School hosted the Bright Sparks STEM Fair 2024 on 15 June, recognised as the largest school-based STEM Fair in the country, which usually draws thousands of visitors from throughout the county and beyond. Featuring over 70 exhibitors from local businesses, universities, and STEM organisations, the fair was a vibrant hub of scientific exploration.

Among the invited exhibitors was the DriverLeics team, comprised of academics from the University of Leicester College of Science and Engineering. Dr Daniel Z. Hao, Dr Genovefa Kefalidou, Dr Neslihan Suzen, Dr Kehinde Aruleba, Dr Tao Zhang, postgraduate research student Roin Deng, and undergraduate computer science student Abdulqader Dhafer presented their work at the Bright Sparks STEM Fair last Saturday. 


The highlight of their exhibit was a special demonstration of a robotic dog. This impressive piece of engineering is equipped with cutting-edge computer vision, enabling it to navigate and interact with its surroundings just like a real pet. Their exhibit also featured autonomous vehicles, with the scientists demonstrating how they use similar computer vision technology to safely and efficiently drive without human intervention. These innovations represent the future of robotics and artificial intelligence, inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists. 

Based in the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, the DriverLeics team comprises academics and students devoted to AI and Robotics research, competition, and outreach activities. The team has participated in numerous prestigious events in the past, such as the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2019 and 2020 (online).

Dr Hao, DriverLeics team lead, said: “The team was excited to be invited back to the event this year to showcase the latest research in AI and Robotics at Leicester. As citizens of change, it is important for researchers to communicate with our community about our work and how it can shape our future. This year, the robot dog show attracted the most interest at the fair, and it is very exciting to see how naturally children interact with the latest robotic technologies.” 

Visitors Zavi, Zaroo, and Mohammad really enjoyed the DriverLeics stand. Zavi (8 years old) was amazed to see the interactive robot dog and the self-driving cars and wants to do space robotics in future.