Fireside Chat

Isabelle Ormerod (Women in Robotics) in conversation with Science Fiction writer, Justina Robson.

Justina Robson is the award-winning author of several novels, novellas and short stories. Most of her books and stories are Science Fiction, dealing in particular with AI, transhumanism, genetic engineering, nanotech and human evolution. They focus on the adaptation of human beings to new technology. She also sometimes writes Fantasy, and sometimes SF & F in combination with other genres. A graduate of the commercial SF writers’ workshop “Clarion West” in the USA (1996) she has gone on to teach at the Arvon Foundation in the UK. In 2005 she was a judge for the Arthur C Clarke Award on behalf of the Science Fiction Foundation. In 2011 she was the Guest of Honour at the World Science Fiction Convention in Perth, Australia. In addition to her original works she also wrote Transformers: The Covenant of Primus, the official history of the Transformers in the Prime Continuum,in 2013. She continues to study topics of interest and write at her home in Yorkshire, where she lives with her husband, children and pets. See her bibliography for a wide range of works.

Isabelle Ormerod is a PhD candidate with the FARSCOPE centre for doctoral training, hosted jointly by the University of Bristol, the University of West England and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. She graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2020, after which she worked in medical product design. Being close to how design decisions were made and witnessing how ergonomic designs were envisioned, she wanted to explore how we can prioritise ergonomics as a design driver. This is envisioned by examining how people interact with products and equipment, therefore determining more appropriate designs for dexterity-limited users. Currently, her research is centred around optical emitters and sensors to explore muscle activation within the hands and forearms. Isabelle is also part of the Women in Robotics Leadership Team, an organisation committed to creating a safe and empowering community of those who identify as women, non-binary or transgender and those allied in the support and promotion of a diverse and inclusive environment within robotics.