'World's most advanced' humanoid robot arrives at the National Robotarium

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Ameca, said to be the 'world's most advanced' humanoid robot, is set to make robotics more accessible thanks to a groundbreaking initiative by the National Robotarium.

Credit: National Robotarium

The National Robotarium, the UK’s centre for robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) based at Heriot-Watt University in partnership with The University of Edinburgh, has purchased Ameca from Engineered Arts, making it the first facility in the UK to host the cutting-edge humanoid robot and intends to use it to help build greater public trust in both robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).

The acquisition is a key part of the facility's extensive public engagement efforts, aimed at demystifying complex technologies and encouraging a greater understanding of the potential benefits of robotics and AI in society.

Ameca's sophisticated features, including embedded microphones, cameras, facial recognition software, and articulated motorised components, enable it to interact with people in a natural and engaging way. By showcasing Ameca's capabilities through its public outreach and education programmes, the National Robotarium said that it was looking to break down barriers and build trust between humans and robots.

The facility’s dedicated public engagement team will feature Ameca at various events, school visits, and workshops across Scotland and beyond, providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to interact directly with the robot and learn about the latest advancements in robotics and AI.

Researchers will also utilise Ameca to study public perceptions and attitudes towards humanoid robots, gathering valuable insights to inform the development of future technologies that prioritise trust, transparency, and user-friendliness.

According to Steve Maclaren, Chief Operating Officer at the National Robotarium, “The arrival of Ameca marks a significant step forward in our mission to make robotics more accessible and relatable to the people of Scotland, the UK and beyond. Since opening our doors in September 2022, we’ve successfully hosted more than 100 in-person and virtual events and engaged thousands of school-aged children.

“Ameca represents an exciting opportunity to build on that success and take public engagement to the next level. By giving people the chance to interact with this state-of-the-art humanoid robot firsthand, we aim to demystify robotics, foster trust in human-robot interaction, and showcase the remarkable potential of these technologies to improve our daily lives and benefit society as a whole.”

Will Jackson, the founder and CEO of Engineered Arts, said, “We are incredibly proud to have Ameca join the many preeminent robots at The National Robotarium. Meeting an AI-embodied humanoid robot is a unique experience that very few people have witnessed, and we are very excited to be able to share what can be a profound moment with a wider audience.”

The National Robotarium is part of the Data-Driven Innovation initiative, supported by £21 million from the UK Government and £1.4 million from the Scottish Government. The initiative aims to turn Edinburgh into the data capital of Europe and is part of the wider £1.5 billion Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal.