Heart robot just wants to be loved

Staff Writer on

The Science Museum in London is playing host to a pair of Emotibots, robots designed to react to the environment in a more human and emotive fashion.

The star of the show is the Heart Robot, a flexible plastic puppet with robotic features which reacts to being scared or cuddled.

Heart was created by Bristol Robotics Laboratory and features sensors in its eyes that can detect objects, allowing it to react to people moving or touching it.

Its polymorph plastic body allows the robot to move fluidly, and it also features a 'beating' heart and 'breathing' belly.

Heart's companion is the six-legged IC Hexapod robot which can track faces and follow people's movements around it. If a person holds its gaze long enough it will take a picture, which it then uploads to its website.

The Science Museum event coincides with the release of the new Pixar film Wall-E starring a lonely robot looking for love on a deserted planet, and reopens the debate about whether robots could one day become emotionally intelligent.

"Everyone's falling for the 'lonely' Wall-E, but the idea of robots having emotions or a personality may no longer just be the talk of science fiction," said Holly Cave, contemporary science content developer at the Science Museum.

"This event will give people a glimpse into what our future may look like and how 'emotional robots' could enhance human life."

The exhibition is free and runs from 29 to 31 July in the museum's Antenna gallery.
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