Monday, 26 Sep, 2011 Technology

Latest Invention: Robotic Child Nominated for 2012 Olympic Torch Relay


A team of researchers from Wales' Aberystwyth University developed a robotic child that was nominated to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay for London's 2012 Summer Olympics.

The participation of the iCub humanoid machine at the event will represent a tribute to Alan Turing, who is considered to be the father of computer science and AI. The year 2012 will mark his 100th birthday.

Dr James Law, from Aberystwyth's Department of Computer Science, was the on who proposed the use of iCub at the Olympic Torch Relay program.

Researchers wanted to create a robot that would be the size of an average 3.5-year-old child. They outfitted the machine with visual, vestibular, auditory, haptic, proprioceptive and torque sensors. Being able to show different facial expressions, the robot has two VGA cameras, two microphones, gyros and accelerometers mounted to its head.

However, according to New Scientist, the robot does not meet the basic requirements. The rules state that a nominee must be at least 12 years old and be an official resident of the United Kingdom. But it is possible that for this unusual nominee, built under the RobotCub international project, there might be an exception.

The main goal of the humanoid robot is to study the children's learning processes and using them to developed strategies for learning in robotics.

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