Kevin was born in Coventry, UK and left school to join British Telecom, at the age of 16. At 22 he took his first degree at Aston University, followed by a PhD and a research post at Imperial College, London. He subsequently held positions at Oxford, Newcastle and Warwick universities before being offered the Chair at Reading, at the age of 33.
He has been awarded higher doctorates (DScs) both by Imperial College and the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague. He was presented with The Future of Health technology Award from MIT (USA), was made an Honorary Member of the Academy of Sciences, St.Petersburg and received The IEE Achievement Medal in 2004. In 2000 Kevin presented the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, entitled “The Rise of The Robots”.
Kevin has carried out a series of pioneering experiments involving the neuro-surgical implantation of a device into the median nerves of his left arm in order to link his nervous system directly to a computer in order to assess the latest technology for use with the disabled. He has been successful with the first extra-sensory (ultrasonic) input for a human and with the first purely electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans. His research has been discussed by the US White House Presidential Council on BioEthics, The European Commission FTP and has led to him being widely referenced and featured in academic circles as well as appearing as cover stories in several magazines – e.g. Wired (USA), The Week (India).
His work is now used as material in several advanced Level Physics courses in the UK and in many University courses including Harvard, Stanford, MIT & Tokyo. His implants are on display in the Science Museums in London and Naples. As a result, Kevin regularly gives invited Keynote presentations around the world at top international conferences.
Kevin’s research involves robotics and he is responsible (with Jim Wyatt) for Cybot, a robot exported around the world as part of a magazine “Real Robots” – this has resulted in royalties totalling over £1M for Reading University. Robots designed and constructed by Kevin’s group (Ian Kelly, Ben Hutt) are on permanent interactive display in the Science Museums in London, Birmingham and Linz.
Kevin is currently working closely with Dr Daniela Cerqui, a social and cultural anthropologist to address the main social, ethical, philosophical and anthropological issues related to his research into robotics and cyborgs.
Kevin regularly makes international presentations for the UK Foreign Office and the British Council, e.g.2004/5 India, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Spain, Czech Rep., USA and Hong Kong.
His presentations include The 1998 Robert Boyle Memorial Lecture at Oxford University, The 2000 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, The 2001 Higginson Lecture at Durham University, The 2003 Royal Academy of Engineering/Royal Society of Edinburgh Joint lecture in Edinburgh, The 2003 IEEE (UK) Annual Lecture in London, The 2004 Woolmer Lecture at York University, the Robert Hooke Lecture (Westminster) in 2005, the 2005 Einstein Lecture in Potsdam, Germany and the 2006 IMechE Mechatronics Prestige Lecture in London.
Kevin was a member of the 2001 HEFCE (unit 29) panel on Electrical & Electronic Engineering, is Deputy Chairman for the same panel in the 2007/8 exercise and is a member of the EPSRC Peer College. He has produced over 400 publications on his research including more than 90 refereed journal articles and 25 books. Kevin received the EPSRC Millenium Award (2000) for his schools robot league project and is the youngest ever Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute. Kevin’s research has featured in many TV and film documentaries, e.g. in 2004/5 - Inventions that changed the world (BBC2), Future Scope (RAI 1) and in The Making of I Robot (Twentieth Century Fox/Channel 5). He has appeared 3 times on Tomorrow’s World, 5 times in Time magazine, twice in Newsweek and was selected by Channel 4 as one of the Top 6 UK Scientists for their 2001 series “Living Science”. In 2002 he was chosen by the IEE as one of the top 10 UK Electrical Engineers. Kevin also appeared as one of 30 “great minds on the future” in the THES/Oxford University book – Predictions – with J.K.Galbraith, Umberto Eco and James Watson.
Kevin’s research is frequently referred to by other authors – recent examples being in books by Robert Winston, Peter Cochrane, Jeremy Clarkson and Susan Greenfield. Kevin’s research has also been selected by National Geographic International for a 1 hour documentary, entitled “I,Human” to be screened in 2006 – this will be broadcast in 143 countries and translated into 23 different languages.