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Robots on show

Robots on show
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An exhibition featuring 20 of Europe’s most innovative robots has just opened at London’s Science Museum. Stars of the show include the iCub, a child-like robot developed as part of the EU project RobotCub, (based in Genova, Italy) which is helping researchers understand how the human brain develops.

Heather Mayfield, the deputy director of the Science Museum, said: “Well, these robots are real laboratory robots. This is what scientists and engineers are working on every single day and that’s one of the reasons why we wanted to bring them here. We wanted people to understand what big questions were being asked about robots.”

The team behind the Eccerobot, which is based near Geneva in France, wanted to make their robot as anatomically accurate as possible. Its skeleton is based on human bones, joints and muscles, meaning it moves – more or less – as we do.

Rob Knight, the CEO of Robot Studio said: “We’re trying to copy the internal mechanisms of the human body, rather than just the external forms, which is what pretty much all other robots do. And the reason for that is that we want robots to not just look like us but to move like us, interact with us in a safe way.”

The robot called Nao can be programmed to do just about anything. Designed by Aldebaran Robotics in France, researchers are using him to see how robots learn and see.

But the way robots look is also very important to the people developing them. Julien Gorrias, the artistic manager at Aldebaran Robotics, said: “You have to make the shape of the robot nice, that you want to interact with. If you have something, you know, square, in metal, you don’t want to get an interaction, so we make the robot that people (say) ‘ah, he’s cute, I would like to talk to him’.”

The exhibition at the London Science Museum runs until 4th December, and there will be robot-themed events all month.

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