Your granny’s new best friend could be a robot called Pepper

Semi-humanoid robots may soon be deployed in care homes across the country to help keep our elderly company. This is following results of an international trial which found that robots helped to improve the pensioners’ mental health and combat loneliness. 

These robots, named ‘Pepper’, can manage basic conversations, play music, teach languages, and offer useful other services such as medication reminders. Their technology has been developed so that they can learn over time, meaning they are able to learn people’s interests and personalise conversations. 

The trial ran in care homes in the UK and Japan. The results showed improvements in the mental health of patients who spent up to 18 hours with these robots and found that they helped with loneliness as well. 

Middlesex University has been involved in this project since 2017 when they joined with several other organisations to launch CARESSES. The aim of this collective was to produce the first culturally competent robot, meaning that it could respond to people in a sensitive manner and adapt to learn culturally appropriate behaviour. 

Before these recent results, Pepper was best known for its appearance in the House of Commons where it became the first robot to give evidence. On 16 October 2018, one of Middlesex’s resident Pepper robots responded to questions about the future of the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence in education. 

But could robots really do as good a job as carers? Well, the answer is no. 

“Socially assistive, intelligent robots for older people could relieve some pressures in hospitals and care homes.” Said Irena Papadopoulos, Professor of Transcultural Health & Nursing at Middlesex University, who leads the development of the cultural components for Pepper. “No one is talking about replacing humans – the evaluation demonstrates that we are a long way from doing that – but it also reveals that robots could support existing care systems.” 

At a time where many care home residents are suffering from increased mental health issues and loneliness and dealing with strict regulations on family visits, the results of this trial show that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. Deployment of Pepper robots in care homes would cost only £1,000 more than a care worker’s annual salary and would provide our care industry with a more risk-free way of comforting these elderly residents who are unable to see family members as often as they used to, if at all. 

Although nothing has yet been announced about how the associated bodies will respond to the results of this trial, it is clear to see that the future of the care industry needs to change quickly in order to adapt to this ‘new normal’. We cannot allow what happened in March to happen again, and we know now that care home residents must be prioritised and cared for in a much safer way during the second wave of this virus. Maybe now we have found our answer – don’t visit your granny for Christmas, send her a robot instead. 

Author: Natalie Rose

Learning to sketch and budget in a day: the best learning tool you’ve never heard of.

Tucked into a small corner on the ‘My Study’ page (on myUnihub), lost among menus is a link, innocuously named ‘Online software tutorials’ that grants access to 1000’s of hours of free educational content. 

Don’t feel bad if you’re just finding this out now. It took me 3 years and a friend telling me about it 5 times before I ‘discovered it’. 

This is all brought to you by ‘LinkedIn Learning’ – an online skill sharing platform, much like Udemy or Skillshare. 

So, what can you expect after spending some time on the site? 

Upon your first time creating an account you’ll be asked to select a few of your favourite topics. This is so the sites algorithm can better recommend courses it thinks you’ll be interested in. However, you’ll still have access to everything through the menus. 

The courses mostly fall under 3 main categories. 

  • Business courses: Containing courses covering – marketing, customer service, accounting, leadership, and anything else related to networking or running a business. 
  • Creative courses: Everything from sketching, to motion graphics and audiovisual production. 
  • Technology courses: Here you can learn a variety of programming languages for coding and web design. With even courses covering iOS and Android app development. 

Length of the courses vary wildly, ranging from 10 minutes to 60 plus hours; with most falling between the 1 to 4 hour range. The positive of this being that there are plenty courses that cover subjects at varying levels of intensity. The negative being there are many courses that differ just as wildly in quality. So keep in mind it may take a bit of time to filter through to get to the good ones – but they do exist. 

As for course recommendations, that’s going to be completely dependent on your interests. I worked through 2 courses this week and skimmed through a 3rd during my research for this review. Firstly, for pleasure, I explored my artistic side with Amy Wynne taking her sketching course ‘Drawing Foundations: Figure’, which I found greatly enjoyable. 

Secondly, I took the courses ‘Freelancing Tips’ with Jay Clouse, and ‘Communication Tips’ with Tatiama Kolovou and Brenda Baily. Being self-employed and developing a business myself I thought these 2 courses would be a treasure trove of information. However, they didn’t prove as rewarding as the first. 

And therein lies the problem. Much of the information is surface level. In fact anyone with even a little experience in the relevant area will struggle to find much use for those related courses. But in no way am I concluding that it’s all a waste of time, quite the opposite actually. 

LinkedIn Learning is a great resource for the young entrepreneur looking to pick up skills to DIY everything themselves. Or for the curious mind searching for its next creative outlet. 

I originally wanted to conclude by lauding the site as a great resource for improving your employability and brightening your future career path. Instead I’ll be more honest. If you’re going into it to pad your CV and make yourself more attractive to employers – you’re going to be disappointed. 

But if you go looking for self-development – perhaps in the way of something creative, or to gain a clearer understanding of something that’s eluded you – then you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. 

To access LinkedIn Learning first navigate to the ‘My Study’ page on myUnihub. The link titled ‘Online learning tutorials’ should be listed under the ‘Software tab’. If you experience and trouble with this don’t hesitate to contact UniHelp at:  

So, go on; what will you learn first? 

Op-ed article written by: Panayiotis Panteli

Tips and Tricks for the Life of a Student

Tips and Tricks for the Life of a Student 

Student life can be kind of stressful to say the least. Many questions come to mind once you come to campus like: How do I save money and not starve myself? How can I move from point A to point B in London, without bankrupting myself? How can I find a job in such a big city? 

Here we’ve gathered several tips on what you can do to save money and hopefully to make alleviate some of your financial struggles at university. Enjoy ? 


Finding a job was always one of the hardest parts in the life of a student, especially now with the quarantine coupled with the recession. Middlesex and the Student Union are well aware of that. This is why you have access to MDX Works (office is in the Quad, on the left-hand side). They are open every Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, currently they are only hosting drop-in sessions remotely on 02084116161. If you want to get feedback on your application documents, including CVs, cover letters, application forms or similar, MDX Works will provide suggestions to help you make improvements and stand out from other applicants. 

If you are searching for a work experience placement, internship, or graduate job it’s better to book a one-to-one session, which are currently hosted online. You can contact either with the phone mentioned above or on MDX Works also provides you with online resources you can use to better your CV and Cover Letters and much more on There you can register and have on your fingertips the ability to access job offers for professionals and beginners. Unitemps is also an University organisation that has job offers in and around the community. Learn more and register on

The Student Union also offers jobs for designers, photographers and other students on

Student Discounts 

If you are looking to save some money from buying student supplies, clothes, phone bills and everything from Abode products to dog food, but feel overwhelmed from the countless offers you can use TOTUM. As students you can register onto the app and have free and you get discounts on all of these types of products and much more. You can register with your student account for their digital service and see for yourselves. 

Support Services 

We all see how the uncertainty in these times affects us and the people closes to us. Here we would like to mention several services that could help your wellbeing and with the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing right now. 

Counselling services are provided by the university. You can either request a onetime 1-2-1 meeting about issues you are struggling with or you can access therapeutic support from a Mental Health Adviser or a Counsellor for several meetings.  You shouldn’t blame yourselves if you have trouble coping with the new environment, it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. You can find more information on how to book an appointment on This year all meeting shall be online. 

If you have any issues regarding your welfare you can contact the Student Welfare Advice team on 020 8411 3008 and For international students, you can also contact the International Student Advice team on or on 020 84114507

Op-Ed Article Writter: Nik

Person standing in front of a very tall Buddhist statue

Studying in China: An unforseen tale of joy and despair

Scrolling through the deepest memories of the Eastern World.

After two years of intense and beloved study, that moment arrived, the Study Year Abroad.  

I said to myself: “The story will change, at least for a while, a few days, months or maybe a whole year, that red colour which will illuminate this intermittent experience, will be the same which will set my heart on fire.” And in that thought, I understood that travelling makes you discover the essence of life, it makes you understand that your freedom begins when that of another person ends. Every journey you live it three times: when you dream it, when you live it and when you remember it because travelling to discover new countries leads you to find the continent in yourself. 

During my time in China, I have experienced things I thought, in my life, I would never have. I remember an afternoon, walking on the Chinese Wall, shortly after finding a spot from where to capture unforgettable moments, and my partner approached me with a trivial question, inviting me to think about that magical place with an incredible view. I replied with happiness, stating we were on one of the Seven Wonders of the World. At that moment I looked down and saw a ring. That day I got engaged, that day was the Eighth Wonder of the World. 

During the winter vacations, a was travelling across multiple provinces and cities, to discover China’s culture, traditions, local foods and all those places, those things hidden by the thousands of tourists wandering in these eastern lands. But then, all of a sudden, things changed. And there I was, in the city of 西安 Xi’an, in Shaanxi Province, after having left Taiyuan, in Shanxi Province, approximately 7 hours by car away. I just had a Rou Jia Mo (肉夹馍), “meat in a bun”, for breakfast, and in the meantime, I was scrolling a few articles from the local newspaper. They were stating a severe flue was sickening people in one of the near provinces I intended to visit. I kept scrolling and refreshing the real-time news, and articles kept coming. The flue had a name, and details of the infection, and soon it became a virus.  

After having visited the Terracotta Army with a big smile on my face, a call came in. The Chinese University advised me not to visit crowded places, markets, supermarkets where meat made products and eggs are displayed. The University also told me the virus had already reached Beijing. The city was running out of protective masks, all of which quickly sold out. 

So I asked myself: wherein China can I ever find an empty place? Thousands of people everywhere, people who travel with dead chickens in empty paint buckets, those who sleep on the ground, those who spit and those who sniff. It is normal for them, maybe not for us. Different cultures, traditions and behaviours. Which places do not sell meat made products and eggs? When I ordered a vegetarian dish, it always came with a few pieces of meat, because as the Chinese chefs say: it ‘gives flavour’.  

Reluctantly I felt compelled to finish the trip earlier than expected. I picked up my phone and contacted my University in England to ask if I could continue my studies in Europe. Unfortunately at that stage, they refused: “The national health system has not yet reported enough cases to call students back”. 

I saw the situation degenerate in a few hours. I was about to take a train to go to Chengdu, the city of the Pandas when I was told to avoid contact with live animals. In the last ten minutes, I changed the ticket. Then I sat down waiting for the train back to Beijing, and I thought: “It is easy for the plans to change, but it is not easy for us to change what we have planned for so long”. The anxiety went up. Fear, together with sadness, anger, and joy, are fundamental emotions of living beings: it warns us of dangers and pushes us to survival. Sometimes these emotions push us to do something unimaginable, in other times they lead us to take the most obvious path. And in my case, it was the one to go back home.  

While I was on the train back to my University Campus, I bought two flight tickets for the day after. Beijing – Dubai, Dubai – Catania. In the airport, I have been subjected to thorough checks, from fever to stains of blood in the masks. At that time, the “coronavirus medical test” was just a theory. After 15 hours, I was back in Italy. 

At the beginning of February, the virus reached Europe already. The number of cases was not that high, and people were able to travel with no conditions. So, I decided to move to Lithuania with my partner. A few weeks there passed by, and half of the European countries were in lockdown, my studies cut off. But then the days and months went through, the online classes broadcasting from China started. And in those feelings of distance, I found that red colour I loved, coming from the Lithuanian summer sunset, giving me a sense of warm comfort and the bad feelings slowly fade away. Is it this a usual Study Year Abroad? An exceptional, unthought experience, which made real memories unforgettable.

Author: Simone Figura
Bagde saying "Join a Society" next to other badges with societies names on it

MDX University’s Societies

All work and no play, definitely makes Jack a dull boy. Therefore, joining a society might be a good option for you during your time at Middlesex! Societies bring people together to follow their passions aside from their studies. You can join in on fun activities they have whilst creating an amusing and enthusiastic atmosphere in our University. Societies are considered to be known as a student associations, which are operated by students at the University and are composed typically only of students and alumni. 

If you find that it might resonate with you, what are you waiting for? Indulge yourself in having a wonderful experience at MDX! You can give it a go during your spare time, it is a great way to meet new people and discover new things you might like. 

To join any of the societies available is quite simple. Go to this link: and find the one that you fancy the most!

Here is the list of societies you can currently join: 

3D Game Art Society 

Afghan Society 

African-Caribbean Society (ACS) 

AhlulBayt Islamic Society (AbSoc) 

Albanian Society 

Amnesty International Society Middlesex University 

Anime and Manga Society 

Arab Society 

Believers Loveworld (BLW) Society 

Burlesque Society 

Chess Society 

Chinese Christian Club Society (CCC) 

Christian Union Society 

Complementary And Alternative Medicine Academic Society (C.A.M.A.S.) 

Creative Technology Society  

Criminology And Sociology Academic Society 

Czech And Slovak Society 

Debating Society 

Dutch And Flemish Society 


Entrepreneurship Society 

Erasmus And Exchange Community 

Film Society 

First Love MDX 

Gig-Going Society 

Harry Potter Society 

Healthy Eating and Well-Being Society 

Heartfulness Meditation Society 

Hellenic/ Cypriot Society 

H.E.R.O Society 

Hive Potential Society 

Indian Society 

Iraqi Society 

Islamic Society (ISoc) 

Jewish Society (JSoc) 

Journalism Society 

Kharis On Campus 

Kpop & Culture Society 

Latin American Society 

League Of Legends Society 

Lithuanian Society 

Malayali Society 

Marketing Society 

Maths and Coding Society 

Mdx Bollywood Society 

MDX – CSSA Society 

MDX Dance Society 

MDX First Aid Society 


MDX Game Society 

MDX Malaysian Society 

MDXSU Activists 

MDXSU Black Students 

MDXSU Commuter Students 

MDXSU Disabled Students 

MDXSU Healthcare Community 

MDXSU International Students 

MDXSU LGBT Students 

MDXSU Mature Students 

MDXSU Parent And Carer Students 

MDXSU Postgrad Students 

MDXSU Women Students 

MDX Taiwanese Society  

MDX Tamil Society 

MDX Turkish Society 

Medical Society 

Middlesex Horse Riding Club 

Middlesex Raise And Give (RAG) 

Middlesex University Hack Team 

Middlesex University Law Society 

Modest Fashion 

Musical Theatre Society 

Natural Sciences Academic Society 

Painting Society 

Pakistan Society (PakSoc) 

Palestine Society 

Pinoy Society (Filipino) 

Polish Society 

Portuguese Society 

Psychology Society 

Public Health Society 

Rock Society 

Salem Campus Fellowship 

Salsa Society 

Science Fiction And Fantasy Society 

SHAREDIN (Student Healthcare Academics Race Equality Diversity Inclusivity Network) 

Singers And Musicians Society 

Somali Society 

Student Media (Radio, News, TV) 

Student Media TV 

Surf Society 

Sustainability & Plastic Reduction Society 

The Echo 

The European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) 

The MDX Glee Club 

OP-ED Article written by: @lilmissbarreto 22/09/2020