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One side of the university that only a few students get to see is the activity inside the Ritterman building. In that building, in one lab, there is a very special project that has been going on at Middlesex for the last three years. Pepper is a robot that can recognise facial expressions and focuses on building relationships with people by using its ability to detect emotions.

Although Pepper is out of service till the academic year begins, let’s have a quick recap of what she has achieved so far.

In 2017, the Psychology department and the Science and Technology faculty collaborated, which saw Pepper running a mindfulness class. This was open to any student who had applied to Middlesex University through clearing, informing them how they can remain calm through the process in a novel way. Possibly Pepper’s largest achievement to date was giving evidence on AI at the House of Commons last year. They spoke about how it can improve lives, most notably for education. Pepper gave an account of how she has worked with primary school children and helped them learn mathematics, as well as how she can be used to comfort elderly people.

Pepper also travels with her team to different events such as New Scientist Live and WorldSkills in Birmingham to represent Middlesex. Here Pepper dances, hugs and can even be tickled. At certain events you could also see Pepper on campus, such as the STEM Festival, where anyone can approach them.

There is much more to come though as we go into the next academic year. I will be keeping track of Pepper and her monthly activities to let you know where you can find her and what she is up to.