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Photos: One day, will these robots be a familiar sight in your home or office?

The mechanical creations at Robotville that move, react and look like people...
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1 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

The mechanical creations at Robotville that move, react and look like people...

Robots of all shapes and sizes gathered for an exhibition at the Science Museum in London this week.

The Museum's Robotville exhibition showcased the robots that could one day find their way into homes and offices - from domestic helpers to bots that can mimic the faces of people around them.

Pictured above is iCub, a child-sized robot that is able to interact with the world around it.

iCub learns about itself and the outside world by playing with people. The robot can 'see' through cameras in its head and 'feel' through electrostatic sensors on its hands. By processing what it sees and feels, it is able to carry out a range of human-like motions, such as crawling, sitting up and reaching for a ball as seen here.

The robot was made by the Italian Institute of Technology and is designed to investigate how people interact with humanoid robots.

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2 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

This is Embodied Cognition in a Compliantly Engineered robot, or Ecce robot, which has been designed to have a human-like upper body.

Researchers use the robot to test hypotheses about human motion and compare the motion of the machine with that of humans.

The robot is designed to mimic human behaviour at many different levels, from the way muscles control movement of the limbs to how the human brain interacts with muscles. It is able to carry out a range of human-like actions, from picking up a ball to a handshake.

Ecce is a cyclops - the single camera in the eyeball-like structure in its head has a 90 degree field of vision - but future versions will have binocular vision. Future versions of the robot will also be able to reproduce human movement more accurately.

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3 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

The technology found inside this robot, known as Dora the Explorer, could one day help build a robot assistant for the workplace.

Dora is able to find its way around a home or office and work out what room it is in without having to be programmed to recognise its environment.

The robot is able to navigate its way around a room by using laser scanning to create a map of its dimensions and obstacles such as furniture.

It can also use its cameras to spot objects within the room and software to identify what those objects are.

Once it has identified nearby objects, it will try to infer what room it is in - for example, if it identifies a kettle it might guess it's in the kitchen.

The idea of Dora is to create a robot that can operate within a property without having to be previously programmed with knowledge of the building's layout in advance.

Dora has been developed by a team from the computer science lab at the University of Birmingham in collaboration with several other universities worldwide.

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4 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

These Dexmart robotic hands have been developed as part of a project to enable robots to handle objects as comptently as a human being.

The project's aim is to allow robots to handle any object, ranging from delicately pinching a pea between forefinger and thumb to lifting a heavy case.

To help achieve the project's goal the hand is fitted with with sensors that tell it how hard it is grasping an object and motors that allow it to move fingers independently.

The eventual goal of the project is for robots to be able to know how to interact with unfamiliar objects in the world around them just like people do.

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5 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

Robots are generally cold-hearted machines - but not Flash.

The robot developed by a a team from the Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland has a head made up of three moveable discs and ball shaped eyes that can express a variety of emotions.

The robot can mimic human expressions, such as smiles and frowns, by moving the discs in its head.

The team are exploring how the ability for robots to express emotions can help it interact with people.

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6 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

This is Nao, an autonomous, programmable humanoid robot, developed by the French company Aldebaran Robotics.

The robot can be programmed to do or say a wide variety of things and is being used by teams of researchers across the world to investigate how robots learn and see.

The Nao on show at the Science Museum had been programmed to dance to a number of different tracks.

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7 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

This is Charly, a robot designed to explore how a robot's appearance alters the way people react to it.

This version of Charly - the robot has several different heads - has a face that mirrors the appearance of people close to it. The head is a screen that displays a 'face' which morphs to look similar to the face of the person standing close to them. As people approach the robot it tells them "I like your face" or "I love you".

By providing a recognisable face for people to communicate with, the researchers hope to provide the person interacting with the robot with a sense of familiarity.

Charly is the latest humanoid robot built by the Adaptive Systems Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire as part of the LIving with Robots and intEractive Companions, an EU-funded project.

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8 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

Concept is another robot designed to see how people react to robots with human-like faces.

Concept is able to see people around it and can interact with people by changing the expression on its face.

The robot was devised by a team of researchers from the University of Plymouth.

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9 of 9 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Robots

This Ladybird robot can be trained to follow a trail of light on the ground but after a while it forgets and has to be taught to follow the light all over again.

The Robotville exhibition will run at the Science Museum until 4 Decemeber.

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