Humanoid Robotics - It's Just Child's Play!

Article excerpt

THIS is iCub, a sophisticated European robot, on its first outing in the UK yesterday.

It is capable of human-like eye and head motion, leg movement, object recognition and a grasping movement, according to scientists.

Its physique is modelled on a three-and-a-half-year-old child and, like many youngsters, likes to make a noise - even playing the drums.

The aim of the five-year pounds 7.5m project is to develop a highly dextrous humanoid child robot. Scientists want to give it the ability to crawl on all fours and sit up, to handle objects with precision and to have head and eye movements that echo those of humans.

Currently in development in Italy, the iCub made its debut in Britain at the University of Manchester at the Symposium on Humanoid Robotics: the Robot Cub Project.

Professor John Gray, visiting professor in the Control Systems Centre at the University of Manchester, said: "It's a tremendous coup to have the iCub here in Manchester - this is the first time it has been seen publicly in the UK.

"One of the great things about the iCub is it is an open systems platform. Users and developers in all disciplines, from psychology, through to cognitive neuroscience, to developmental robotics, can use it and customise it freely. …