I just participated to the Wired Next Fest 2015, the science and innovation festival organised by the Italian branch of the Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.it).
It has been an exciting experience, where I had the occasion to describe my research and discuss with a wide and interested public. We brought to the festival demonstrations with Kilobot robots, interactive experiments with the public playing a fish school, and I also had the chance to give a keynote talk (see the video on wired.it, in Italian, but see the abstract below).
In the past, I often disregarded the importance of such public outreach activities: if there is no impact factor, it’s no worth investing time… But participating to the WNF-2015 reminded me that impact can be achieved also talking to people and showing the importance and beauty of being a researcher. Probably this will not increase my H-Index or attract new fundings, but at least I had the feeling that my work is appealing and relevant for the society.
“Seen from afar, a bird flock appears as a mutable and fascinating body. A super-organism composed of thousands of birds perfectly coordinated in their movements, and capable of complex collective responses resulting from the cooperation among birds. Starting from insights on the collective intelligence displayed by bird flocks, bee swarms and ant colonies, a new generation of robots is getting ready to leave the research labs and enter our everyday lives. This talk will discuss the state of the art and the perspectives of the swarm robotics research domain.”