Science Museum throws Robotville parade

Science Museum throws Robotville parade

Summary: Drawn from projects around Europe, the 20 robots on show at the museum have been created to help with research into human-machine interaction, covering work with autistic children

TOPICS: After Hours

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  • Dora robot map

    When put in a new location, Dora has no information about its surroundings. It uses lasers placed at shin height, plus an Xbox Kinect unit and dual cameras at head height, to draw a map of her surroundings. The method is known as simultaneous localisation and mapping (Slam).

    "For the show, we've had to programme invisible walls, otherwise Dora would just keep wandering off exploring her surroundings," Hawes said.

    The image above shows what Dora has learned since arriving at the London Science Museum. Initially, the map was blank. As the robot has explored the area, it has marked out things such as walls and doors.

    The red dots in the image are an outline of a person stood in front of Dora, while the circular pie-chart-like markers make it easier for Dora to navigate her way back to a specific point. 

    Photo credit: Ben Woods

  • Ecce Robot

    Ecce (Embodied Cognition in a Compliantly Engineered Robot) is a robot based around human anatomy, but rather than taking just the skeletal structure and building normal robotic internals it mirrors our anatomy closely.  The ultimate aim is to be the first truly anthropomimetic robot and to find out more about how the human brain works.

    The current version is the second in the project, which includes the University of Sussex among its collaborators, and there is an Ecce 3 on the way. That is expected in early 2012

    Ecce 2 contains around 80 actuators, one for each 'muscle', and each actuator is made up of a screwdriver motor, gearbox, spindle, a piece of 'kiteline' used as a tendon and an elastic shock cord.

    Photo credit: Ben Woods 

  • Nao programmable robot

    Nao, developed by French company Aldebaran Robotics originally in 2004, rose to fame in 2007 when it replaced Sony's robot dog — Aibo — as the robot used in the Robot Soccer World Cup.

    It is a programmable 57cm tall robot made up largely of actuators, electric motors and a host of sensors, including two cameras, four microphones, a sonar distance sensor, two infrared emitters and receivers, nine tactile sensors and eight pressure sensors. It also has dual CPUs, voice synthesiser and speakers.

    It is designed to be programmable to carry out many different tasks, not all of them as serious as others. It was dancing to a Michael Jackson song when the picture above was taken.

    Photo credit: Ben Woods

Topic: After Hours

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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