C2ST Speakeasy: Robot Revolution with Anna Brill & Kathleen McCarthy

The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) recently opened a one-of-its-kind temporary exhibit, Robot Revolution. This unprecedented exhibit features more than 40 robots from all over the world. Want to hear more about what it took to assemble this collection, which includes robots from Japan, China, Germany, and France, or what it takes to keep all of these machines up and running, and interacting with the public? Join two of the women who work behind-the-scenes at MSI’s Robot Revolution for a night of fun with Chicago Council on Science and Technology at Geek Bar Beta’s SCIENCE! Tuesday.

Hear from the director of collections, who spent five years finding this great collection of robots, and one of the specialists who spends her days tinkering with the robots in the public-facing “robot garage,” where museum visitors can watch her and her colleagues work, fixing robots and making as many as 250 battery changes per day.


Anna Brill is one of the three robot specialists working at the Robot Revolution exhibit. She handles all of the day-to-day tasks associated with the exhibit–from keeping robots running properly to chatting with curious young museum guests. She is currently taking a gap year from her studies at the University of Pennsylvania where she is pursuing her bachelor and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. Her fascination with robots began when she joined a FIRST Robotics Competition team in high school and continued with the robotics research she was involved in while at Penn. Through her research at the Kod*lab, a subsidiary of the Penn Engineering GRASP Lab, she has studied the behavior of six-legged robots on low-friction surfaces. She recently published a paper on her work with a leaping, tailed, bipedal robot.

Kathleen McCarthy is the director of collections and head curator at the Museum of Science and Industry. McCarthy is responsible for the care of MSI’s 35,000 artifacts, as well as the research and development of content for exhibits. During the development of Robot Revolution, McCarthy spent several weeks in Japan visiting the top robotics companies. Throughout the four-year run of the Robot Revolution traveling exhibition, McCarthy will ensure the robots are updated to showcase the latest breakthroughs in robotics technologies. Prior to joining MSI, McCarthy was the registrar for the Haifa Faisal Collection of Saudi Arabian Artifacts. She has also worked for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Krannert Art Museum, and taught glassblowing at the Toledo Museum of Art. McCarthy earned her MFA in Sculpture from the University of Illinois, during which she studied art history in Cairo. The recipient of a fellowship award from the Illinois Arts Council, her sculptures have been exhibited across the U.S. and Japan.

DETAILS: Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 7:00pm to 9:00pm. Geek Bar Beta Chicago, 1941 W.North Ave., Chicago, IL60622. Attendance is free, but registration is strongly encouraged. Seating is first come, first serve, and registration does not guarantee a seat. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/c2st-speakeasy-with-anna-brill-and-kathleen-mccarthy-tickets-18541142055

This program is presented in partnership with Geek Bar Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry.

Geek Bar Beta is open to all, including those 21-and-under, if accompanied by an adult, before 9 pm, or if a special events such as this runs later. Please refer to Geek Bar’s age policyfor details. C2ST Speakeasy is held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.

For more information, contact Andrea Poet at apoet@c2st.orgor 312-567-5795.

ABOUT C2ST: Chicago Council on Science and Technology is a not-for-profit organization that brings researchers and scientists out of the lab, directly to you. We work with national laboratories, leading academic institutions and museums to educate the public on issues of critical scientific importance. In an age when barely one in four voting adults meet a basic level of scientific literacy, we aim to reignite an excitement and passion for science and technology, and remind Chicagoans of the quality and quantity of R&D that takes place in their backyard.

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