University of Nottingham: Meet the Robots at the Broadway this Easter

Families are being given the chance to get up close to a range of robots this Easter and find out more about how they work, what they can do and how they can help people.

The Meet the Robots event is part of a range of activities running throughout the Easter holidays at Broadway cinema and will feature robots from the University of Nottingham’s new Cobot Maker Space as well as Lego creations and circus themed technology.

The Boston Dynamics robot dog ‘spot’ will be entertaining visitors and computer scientists will be on hand to explain how the robots work and how they might be used to work alongside and help people with tasks in the future.

There will also be workshops from Makers of Imaginary Worlds who will be displaying their never-ending robot dancer (NED). NED is a robotic contraption that is inspired by the circus. It is inquisitive and excited to play and dance with anyone in its sight. The blue feathers on its arm gently sway and imitate its movements and interaction. NED, the never-ending dancer communicates by imitating and encouraging children to follow and dance.

Researchers from Computer Science will also be running sessions with the Inspire Foundation to help visitors build an interactive LEGO Mindstorms robot. Visitors will learn what robots are, how they work, learn about visual coding and then have the opportunity to build their own robot.

Research being undertaken at the Cobot Maker Space is exploring how humans and robots can interact with each other, so taking them into a public entertainment space like Broadway will be really interesting. It’s also a fun way to introduce people to the idea of interacting with robots and to the idea of robots becoming part of everyday scenarios like going to the cinema.
Professor Steve Benford
The new Cobot Maker Space is on Innovation Park on Jubilee campus and is designed to provide a dedicated facility for research and industry collaboration into new innovations in robots and artificial intelligence (AI) and to explore ways to enhance human-robot interaction in a range of real-life scenarios – from business and manufacturing to home-life with social and rehabilitation robots.

The new facility will enable researchers to create human – robot scenarios with conditions that resemble real production environments. It will also enable research into how people interact with robots and how new human sensing technologies can be used. There is also a public facing space within the Cobot Maker Space to deploy digitally enhanced products and to display new human-robot interaction as publicly accessible demonstrators.

The Boston Dynamics dog are at Broadway on Thursday 7th April and the event is free but places need to be booked in advance. NED is there from the 5th – 11th and is a drop-in event. The LEGO event is on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April and there is a cost of £5 per child (Adults are free).

We’re excited to welcome Cobot Maker Space’s robots and researchers to Broadway this Easter half term. Through Near Now, our studio for arts, design and innovation, we aim to engage our audiences with new technologies and explore how they can be used creatively. Working with Cobot Maker Space, Makers of Imaginary Worlds and Inspire Foundation is a fantastic way to introduce visitors to robots as companions and creative tools for artists.
Lee Nicholls, Creative Producer, Broadway

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