2016-2019 Northumbria Uni PhD. 2011-2015 Greenwich Uni BSc. 2009-2011 Wilson’s Hospital School
BSc (Honours) Mathematics 1st Class, Leaving Certificate (Higher): A1 (Biology), A1 (Russian), A2 (Physics).
IEEE, Sage, IBM - the full story here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dereshev/
PhD Student Full Time
Northumbria University at Newcastle
A researcher, and a fitness enthusiast, I've studied in 3 different countries, and now give robots to people to see what works in home robotics and what doesn't.
With language and culture barriers to overcome, I have been an international student in-and-out since the age of 12. My primary and secondary education were in the Siberian prairies of Russia, whilst my high school days were spent in Ireland. I’ve moved to the UK for the university and am now completing some exciting PhD work.
Life beyond school proved both unexpected and exhilarating for me. I am looking forward to answering the questions and participating in the chats with people in the hope of clarifying some of the things I wish I knew back 10 years ago!
Here are some quick quirky facts about me you might be interested in:
> I’ve met with the then-president of Ireland when she visited my school.
> Being ambidextrous, I can use both of my hands equally well.
> I’ve spent a few weeks with the shamans of the Altai Mountains.
> I’ve finished music school with distinction and play guitar from time to time.
> I’m bilingual (English and Russian) and aspire to learn German and Japanese in the future.
Experimenting with smart speakers and companion robots
At the moment, I am writing up 2 years worth of experiments into a thesis to receive a PhD and become “Dr. Dmitry”. So far, I’ve tested smart speakers (Amazon Echo), recorded what people thought of companion robots (Jibo, Buddy, and Pepper), and collected some interviews from people who lived with companion robots for years!
As a researcher, I’d usually read around to learn about some specific aspect of robotics I am curious about, see that there’s a lot we don’t know, and try to come up with an experiment to figure out some answers (or a way to ask better questions).
Then you collect the info you need (for me that involves giving robots to people for several months, and visiting them from time to time to take interviews).
After that it’s the analysis – for me that’s looking through the interviews, summarizing what people said and did with the robots, and comparing that to what we already know, and to the question/problem I started with.
Finally, the world needs to know your results, so I’d write up what I figured out, how I did it, and what kind of people participated in my experiments, and publish that.
It’s funny how the more we know, the more we realize we don’t know, so there’s always more things to figure out, more experiments to set up, more robots to test, and more exciting stuff to read and watch from people working on similar things all over the world!
My Typical Day
Right now it's reading up on the latest and greatest in robotics, and writing up my thesis.
There’s 1 exam after 3 years worth of studies, and you need 2 things to pass: a ~200 pages write up of all of the experiments you did, why you did them, and what you found out (that’s the thesis); and an oral examination, where you spend 2-3 hours defending your work in front of 2 very knowledgeable people, who are very keen to test you (that’s the viva). There’s a good video explaining this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7ihcJk2sKY
The good side is: you are the one who both sets the question and writes up the answer, so the game is rigged in your favour, so to speak.
The challenge is: there is no set curriculum, there are no set answers, and it’s impossible to know if you are fully prepared. So, a big part of your defence is to know your field of work really well, to be able to critique others’ work and your own, and to justify every decision you made along the way.
It’s a fantastic thing if you feel like you really need to know more than the school books tell you (that’s how I was throughout my school and university), but you gotta be courageous to step on this path, for you need to be able to defend and argue your case well.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Kind | Smart | Inquisitive
Who is your favourite singer or band?
MoozE, Michael McCann
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Having a hike, rafting (falling off the raft and having a regular swim too), performing in a rock gig, and playing a night-time scavenger hunt – all in one day, which also coincided with my 18th birthday!
What did you want to be after you left school?
Mathematician or Auditor
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Once. I was careful not to get caught all the other times :)
What was your favourite subject at school?
Chemistry and English (nothing to do with the subjects – the teachers were good, that’s all).
What's the best thing you've done as an engineer?
Published some of my work on emerging social robots!
What or who inspired you to become an engineer?
I love getting to the bottom of things, work behind the scenes, and share my knowledge with the world. Research seems a perfect opportunity to do all of those things.
If you weren't an engineer, what would you be?
Intelligence Analyst - someone working with information and/or numbers and digging up useful insights from them.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. To know all that is knowable. 2. To achieve full mastery over mind and body. 3. To live a life I'd wish to relive a 1000 times more.
Tell us a joke.
Humour is not my strong suit :)
Presenting your work is an important part of research. Here’s me presenting my findings to the Open Lab community at Newcastle University.
When you teach others about robotics, hardware and smart materials – you start with the basics that work quickly. This Arduino was programmed by Architecture students to emit light whenever a button is pressed. This was later used in their artistic installation.
Collaboration is at the essence of research, so we often participate in each other’s projects. Here is my contribution to what ended up being an exhibition in Liverpool.