Robot Actors Prepare to Go Mobile
A fleet of stationary robotic entertainers, currently ensconced at science centers around the globe, will be taking its first steps in the future. The RoboThespian is a life-sized, programmable, multi-lingual humanoid robot that can be used for “entertainment and communication.” It will soon be upgraded to a model that can walk and run, in addition to interacting with people and answering questions.
UK-based Engineered Arts Limited created the robot to tackle “ethical, environmental and social issues.” Currently, RoboThespians are in place at science centers in 14 countries. Max Q, the model at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, answers questions about the Hubble Telescope and how astronauts live in space.
The next version will be able to walk, run and jump, and its creators are leveraging Maplesoft’s MapleSim in the design and modeling of the updated robot. The company is using the software to design a biologically analogous humanoid leg, and to study its stability. The MapleSim model will help the company verify the relationship between the actuators in the leg under pressure, their contraction, and equivalent joint angles.
“The next generation RoboThespian has a full-sized dynamic humanoid design which presents complex challenges,” said Will Jackson, director, Engineered Arts Limited. “With it, we will take robotic engineering to levels of complexity and performance not seen before.”
You can see a RoboThespian at CeBIT 2012 below, delivering a memorable interpretation of a disturbing monologue from Jaws: