Throughout history, artists and scientists have sought to understand what it means to be human and create machines in our own image. Soon, an important member of the the remarkable 500-year history of humanoid robots could be brought back to life. London's Science Museum has launched its first Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise funds to rebuild Eric – the UK's first robot. The Science Museum hopes a lost robot named Eric will be part of the exhibition (pictured here before it disappeared). It was the UK's first humanoid and toured the world wowing audiences The forthcoming show at London's Science Museum will include a collection of more than 100 robots from a 16th-century mechanical monk to robots from science fiction and modern-day research lab.
An army of robots has invaded London's Science Museum on a mission to teach humans their 500-year-old history. Opening on Wednesday, the new exhibition explores humanity's centuries old quest to re-imagine people as moving, talking and thinking machines. More than 100 robots are on display, ranging from a 16th century automaton monk to characters from science fiction films and research lab creations. London's Science Museum is hosting an exhibition to teach visitors about the rise of the robots over the last 500 years. Pictured is a Telenoid communication android from Japan on display.
London's Science Museum has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the rebuilding of one of the first robots. Eric, as it was called, was originally built in 1928, and was the UK's first humanoid robot, impressing audiences with his movement and speech. He travelled the globe as a showcase for futuristic technology - but disappeared in the 1930s. Now, the museum is trying to raise 35,000 to rebuild him and has received more than 6,000 in four days. Eric was created by British duo Captain William H Richards and Alan Reffell.
When science fiction critics Eric S. Rabkin and Robert E. Scholes argued in the 1970s that "no one would go through the trouble of building and maintaining a robot to hand wash clothes or pick up the telephone receiver," they were apparently unaware that Japanese researchers had already made a long-term commitment to develop humanoid robots that could do exactly that. The goal was to care for the elderly in the 21st century. To this end, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, industrial giants Honda, Mitsubishi, and Toyota, as well as university research labs around the world, began demonstrating humanoid prototypes. More recently, the desire to operate in disaster sites like Fukushima has motivated even more researchers to explore humanoid designs. But the dream of humanoid robots goes back much further than the 1970s.
Eric, one of the world's first robots, made his public debut in 1928. Before there was Star Wars' C-3PO and the robot who famously warned of "Danger, Will Robinson!" on TV's Lost in Space, there was Eric -- one of the world's first real robots. He was built in 1928, less than a decade after the word "robot" was first used. He wowed audiences in Britain, where he was created, and elsewhere in Europe and the United States. Now, a team from the Science Museum of London is planning to rebuild him, using original archival materials.