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Robotic toddler nominated to carry Olympic torch in 2012


September 23, 2011

Scientists have nominated the iCub child-like humanoid robot to participate in the Olympic...

Scientists have nominated the iCub child-like humanoid robot to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay for the London's 2012 Summer Olympics

Research on artificial intelligence and robotics is growing at a rapid pace, but are we ready to see a robot bearing the Olympic torch in 2012? Scientists at Wales' Aberystwyth University are convinced that this should happen, and have nominated the iCub child-like humanoid robot to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay for London's 2012 Summer Olympics. It's intended to be a tribute to computing pioneer Alan Turing, as 2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.

iCub was nominated by Dr James Law, from Aberystwyth's Department of Computer Science. According to Dr Law, such a tribute to Turing's achievements is meant to inspire future generations of engineers and scientists. Born in London on June 23, 1912, Alan Turing is often referred to as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. He is widely known for his contribution to breaking the code of the German Enigma cipher machine during WWII, through designing a code-breaking electromechanical device called "the bombe."

Other achievements include designing the first stored-program computer, as well as the influential "Turing test" which is a way of assessing a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior. "These achievements led to the computerized era we live in today," says Dr Law.

The robot has been nominated through an Olympic Torch Relay program sponsored by Lloyds TSB, but as New Scientist reports, it appears that iCub does not meet the basic requirements. It is indicated that a nominee must be at least 12 years old and live in the United Kingdom. The robot is certainly younger than 12 and while being a UK resident, it's actually ... not alive, after all.

Perhaps, however, they might decide to bend the rules for the unusual nominee.

Aimed at investigating children's learning processes and translating them into strategies for learning in robotics, iCub was developed under the RobotCub international project. The robot's dimensions are meant to resemble those of a 3.5 year-old child. It is 1 meter (3.28 ft) tall, with 53 degrees-of-freedom, and is equipped with visual, vestibular, auditory, haptic, proprioceptive and torque sensors. Capable of displaying facial expressions, its head has two VGA cameras, two microphones, gyros and accelerometers.

Source: Aberystwyth University


ugh. something makes me think this is going to go very badly one way or another for someone or another.

Facebook User
23rd September, 2011 @ 11:35 am PDT

Just send "him" to the Robolympics/Robogames and leave the Olympics to actual humans.

25th September, 2011 @ 07:14 pm PDT

Gadgeteer, that is so yesterday! They plan on obtaining full rights and eventualy competingin "OUR" Olympiads! Just remember that "separate" is not "equal" in the eyes of the law.

Touring Test? Are they serious? I know hundreds of fellow homininds who fail it on a daily basis!!!

Walt Stawicki
26th September, 2011 @ 01:04 pm PDT

I love robotics competitions, but it seems a shame to let the torch go to this, when a human could really enjoy their moment. Also, seeing as we don't allow "doping" in the Olympics, it seems like we shouldn't be encouraging n-p junctions to carry the torch.

Charles Bosse
27th September, 2011 @ 06:39 pm PDT
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