Sunday, 30 Dec, 2012 Technology

Latest Invention: Roboy - Revolutionary Robot Toddler to Be Built in 9 Months


A team of researchers from the University of Zurich's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab) is currently working on a robot toddler dubbed "Roboy".

With the help of technology known as "soft robotics" researchers managed to come up with humanoid robot that's 1.2 meter (3 ft, 11 in) tall. Their goal is to make robots that as many people as possible could feel comfortable with during their daily lives.

Currently the machine resembles a cyborg skeleton, but in the near future it could look like a charming child.

Scientists and engineers also have the goal of making the Roboy in 9 months. The work started last June as a project in which 15 partners and over 40 engineers and researchers took part.

All of them are offering expertise and funds via sponsorship and crowdfunding that features auctioning space for logos on the Roboy, hiring the machine out for business functions when finished.

Built from plastic, Roboy's design is based on the human musculoskeletal system. However, there's more that just aesthetics to it. For example, traditional motors in joints were replaced by motor assemblies that pull elastic cables. Thus the system and the way it functions resemble human's muscles and tendons.

According to the researchers this will make it possible for the robot to move "almost as elegantly as a human."

At the moment this is just a research project in which scientists and engineers are using new technologies and looking toward scalable production with the help of CAD and 3D printing. This will make to possible to start full production of robots within just days of development.

Researchers say that such robots could be used to help the elderly carry on with their lives independently.

There's a Facebook contest on the way, in which users vote for their favorite face that Roboy is going to wear.

The next step will involve covering the robot with soft skin. Then the team plans a public presentation of their robot child. The official presentation is expected to take place at the Robots on Tour" exhibition on March 9. The event will mark AI Lab's 25th anniversary.

Check out the video below to see the Roboy in action.

[via Roboy, AI Lab]

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