'500-Year History of Robots': Making machines more human

The blockbuster exhibition, Robot Show, is underway at the Science Museum of London. It is drawing numbers of visitors eager to learn more about man's quest to build human-like machines.

The theme of this year's Robot Show is the "500-Year History of Robots." The event officially kicked off on February 8th, and has been attracting large audiences.

According to docent Will Stanley, this exhibition covers over 100 robots from 16th century proto-types to cutting-edge technology fresh from the lab. The robots on display reveal man's astonishing 500-year quest to make machines more human. As they enter the exhibition hall, visitors are first confronted with an animatronic baby with latex skin and slowly moving arms that move up-and-down as it breathes.

The "Star" robot of this exhibition is the Robo Thespian, which has a humanoid appearance and is about the same size as a real person. Robo Thespian is an actor that actively participates in acting and hosting activities.

"Robots often do acting, as the job is very repetitive. And robots are good at doing repetitive jobs," Docent Will Stanley said.

Zeno R25 is a state of the art humanoid robot. It can mimic people's facial expressions.

Hi, this is Yubin from China. Nice to meet you.

Some experts believe that robots will keep their machine-like appearance, like Robo Thespain. While others believe robots will eventually look just like people. The android Kodomoroid is the most life-like android on display. It reads robot-related news bulletins every twenty minutes.

Non- humanoid robots are also in the exhibition, such as the two-armed Swiss robot YuMi, which flies paper airplanes and the US robot, Baxter, which picks things up.

These robots help humans work safely. The event's exhibitors say the show is not only about high-tech robots but also about robot antiques that have been built over the past five hundred years. This miniature figure was created in the 16th century. With its intricate iron parts, rivets and screws, the tiny robot is an example of people's desire to explore their own bodies.

"Silver Swan" is one of the most famous older robots on display. Its life-size clockwork automaton is one of a kind. The Silver Swan's performances have enchanted audience for four centuries. Because it is so fragile, the Silver Swan does not perform every day. Fortunately, we catch the show.

Human beings have always had a sense of unease about being transcended by machines. Exhibitors say they hope shows like the Silver Swan's can ease people's worries.

"The exhibition has lots of robots used, to care for people when they get older, or as companions, or to help people working. I think in the future there will be more these robots. We will get used to having more robots around and working with them and helping humans," Docent Will Stanley said.

London's robot exhibition will continue to run through September this year.

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