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Marketing Manager Nancy Hopkins shares her top five robots featured in the Robots exhibition, ahead of its opening on 19 October

Robots baby, part of the latest exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

1. Animatronic baby

A social media star in the making, this mechanical human baby has split opinion on our Facebook page. Some think it’s amazing, others have dubbed it ‘weird’ and ‘sinister’ which has led to the unfortunate nickname of ‘creepy baby robot’ in the office.

Animatronic baby was commissioned for the exhibition and is now part of the Science Museum Group’s new human robotics collection.

Whatever you think of this little critter, there’s no arguing that it’s unbelievably impressive. The attention to detail is phenomenal and the lifelike sneezes, breathing and waving of arms and legs showcases the cutting edge technology that’s at the forefront of robotics.

Greeting you as you first enter the exhibition, creepy baby robot sets the tone for an exhibition packed with wonder and excitement.

2. Wager cup

Fashioned from silver and brass with a clockwork mechanism, the wager cup was the 17th century equivalent of playing beer pong with your pals.

Dating from around 1680, the wager cup features a lady holding a goblet of wine above her head, while a hidden automaton mechanism under her skirt propels her down a table. Whoever she stopped in front of would have to drink the wine.


Ornametal "turning rose" lathe
Ornamental turning ‘rose-engine’ lathe, unsigned, German, 1750-1888. Watchmaker’s lathe. Hand and Machine Tools.

3. Ornamental turning ‘rose-engine’ lathe

The lathe adds some serious bling to the exhibition and shows that style doesn’t always have to be compromised when creating a functional object.

This 400 piece object is incredibly intricate and was used by watchmakers. It was made in Germany around 1740 and used between 1750–1888. That’s a whole lotta watches.

Restored especially for the Robots exhibition, the lathe will be on display in its complete form for you to enjoy.

The restoration was only possible thanks to The Charles Hayward Foundation, The Worshipful Company of Turners, The Worshipful Company of Ironmongers and all generous individual donors.

4. Eric

Built in 1928 and known as the Ryan Gosling of his time* Eric was the UK’s first robot and travelled the world, amazing crowds in the UK and the USA.

Eric then disappeared, seemingly forever. Nobody knew where he had gone or what had happened to him. The dream was over.

But not for Ben Russell, Robots Curator at the Science Museum. Ben and his team were determined to bring Eric back to life for the Robots exhibition and in May 2016, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds.

Thanks to the backing of 861 generous individuals enough money was raised to work with artist and robot builder Giles Walker to recreate Eric.

Eric’s appearance was kept as close to the original as possible, and he has now been saved for the nation as part of our permanent collection.

If you want to find out a little bit more about Eric before you visit, here’s a lovely video narrated by Ben Russell.

*He wasn’t, I made that up. But you get the idea.

A humanoid newsreader robot from Japan

5. Kodomoroid

Kodomoroid is the most life-like robot in our exhibition and hails from Japan. A newsreader by trade, Kodomoroid was designed for Miraikan, the Japanese National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

When Kodomoroid was first showcased in 2014, she was one of the most realistic androids in the world. This is her first extended appearance outside Japan.

She’s one of the working robots in our exhibition and every 20 minutes, she will share two news stories that relate to robots.

Fact fans will be pleased to know that her name comes from ‘kodomo’ meaning ‘child’ in Japanese, and ‘android,’ which means ‘android’ in English.

Robots is at the Museum of Science and Industry from 19 October to 15 April. Click here to find our more and book tickets.  

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