Welcome to Stemiverse Podcast episode 40.

In this episode, Dr Peter Dalmaris talks with Dr Sue Keay.

Dr Sue Keay is recognised as Superstar of STEM by Science & Technology Australia.

Sue is a trained scientist with highly developed business skills. She runs the world's first robotic vision research centre.

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, headquartered in Brisbane, is an ARC Centre of Excellence with more than 100 researchers distributed across Australian and overseas research institutions.

The Center's mission is to create robots that see and understand their environment, so that we can finally reach the tipping point where robots can assume capabilities that have previously only been imagined.

Sue recently developed a successful $1.5m R&D project supported by the Queensland government to explore the vision capabilities of Softbank's social robot, Pepper.

Keen to make sure that women contribute to the development of the technologies of the future, Sue believes that everyone can be a roboticist and that science should be accessible to everyone.

This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 40.


Stemiverse podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to txplore.com to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and electronics.

Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Dr Sue Keay
[03:20] Sue talks about the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision as well as her background in Earth Sciences
[08:37] How did Sue's interest on science begin?
[11:51] Going from being a geochemist to being a leader in robotics
[14:59] Sue's sister is the managing director of Silicon Valley Robotics
[17:39] The early days of robotics compared to the early days of the Internet, and how similarly, 20-30 years from now, robots will be a significant part of our daily lives
[18:58] The barrier for technology is not that high anymore
[20:03] Sue's responsibilities at the Centre for Robotic Vision
[20:44] Two examples of some promising research that goes on at the Centre for Robotic Vision: One regarding orthopedic surgery…
[24:03] ...and one regarding UAVs: Research with CSIRO - Medical Express Challenge
[25:20] Being a 2017 Superstar of STEM by Science & Technology Australia - Female representation in STEM
[27:46] Debunking misconceptions about Robotics: Being active in a social environment, robotics is more than just technology and automation
[28:57] What does a Superstar of STEM do?
[30:02] Examples of the influence a Superstar of STEM can have
[31:29] Other fields besides STEM where women are underrepresented - BHP's goal for gender equality by 2025
[34:36] The causes of women under-representation and possible solutions
[38:29] The Grace Hopper Celebration, produced by AnitaB.org and their success with Harvey Mudd College
[41:48] The Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Program
[43:03] While waiting for the system to change, what can parents do now, what opportunities can they currently find for their daughters to engage in STEM?

[44:39] A word of warning regarding girls' first introduction to STEM programs

[46:43] What advice would Sue give to her 10 year old self?

[49:51] What is a disruptive technology and how does it differ from other types of technology?

[52:43] What skills does it take in order to be a good Leader of a disruptive team?

[53:53] The Social Robotics Program

[56:57] People's response to humanoid robots

[01:00:03] Rapid Fire Questions

[01:00:09] Sue’s Favourite Programming Language

[01:00:51] Influential People according to Sue

[01:02:21] Advice for Educators just starting out: "Despite the proliferation of online resources, the influence of who your teacher is, is still enormous"

[01:05:12] Parting Thoughts, Dos and Don'ts

[01:06:46] Sue's Contact Information: Twitter: @suekeay