Stuart Turner

A mid thirties white man with glasses and a beard

Hello, my name is Stuart Turner and I’m the founder of Robots and Cake!.

Back in 2004 I was a Comp Sci (AI) undergraduate. I began losing function in my arms and legs, which later I learned was due to cervical spina bifida with tethered spinal cord syndrome and chiari malformation.

I had to leave uni in my last year as I lost the ability to type and use a mouse and had no realistic alternatives in those days. I’m now quadriplegic, but over the intervening years I developed a pretty decent voice operated system, using Dragon Dictate for Mac, Keystrokes, Tracker Pro, Alfred and a whole hotchpotch of things, and I’m coding again, without my hands.

As a natural tinkerer, I’ve got myself involved in loads of beta testing over the years and now consult as an accessibility software tester, both in OSPs and professionally. Some of my favourite projects I’ve beta tested on are: Apple iOS7, Apple iOS8, Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple OS X 10.10 Yosemite and AO3, (there’s a lot of As in this list!). I launched Robots and Cake in 2014 after testing on the EMPOWER interface. In 2014 I also completed and moved into an accessible smarthome, built by Brocklyn Designs and joint funded with the NHS. In 2015 I gave a talk on the design approach to and development of this house at Wuthering Bytes Conference and in 2016 launched a new project and site called Inventability, as a resource for others who want to apply similar approaches.

I am a strong advocate for thinking about how to re-purpose and hack mainstream products to be usable for people with profound disabilities. I collaborate with lots of different groups MindRDR app ake pictures using Google Glass, the Neurosky MindWave Mobile Headset and the power of my brain. Check it out over here.

One of my favourite robot experiences so far has been helping Professor Chad Jenkins at Brown University test a user interface for the Robot Operating System, a general-purpose Operating System for a whole variety of different robots. This meant that I was able to fly a Parrot AR Drone using my head movements, right index finger, a web browser and all from over 3000 miles away. This all came about after making friends with Henry Evans from the Robots for Humanity project.

I talk about all of these things regularly. You can find many of my talks on Youtube. I’d highlight Wired 2014 London Conference, where I remotely flew a drone live on stage, and Google Firestarters 20 2016 (will be online soon) as of particular interest.

If I can help you with anything, feel free to email me.

This Was the Size of My Universe.