iCub at play catches judges’ eye

04 April 2017

An image of a humanoid robot learning how to play from a young child has again caught the eye of the judging panel behind the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) science photography competition.

‘iCub and Eve’ depicts four year old Eve and the iCub robot sitting at a table full of colourful toys.

Soon enough, they both turn them into meaningful stacks. Finishing earlier than iCub, Eve celebrates her achievement by putting a big smile on her face.

Taken by Sandy Spence and inspired by the research work of Dr Patricia Shaw and colleagues at the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University, the image has been awarded third prize in the ‘People and Skills’ category.

It is also the third image in a series to be taken by the group to have triumphed in the EPSRC science photography competition.

In 2015 ‘The Greatest Discovery’ which showed the iCub humanoid robot ‘listening’ to the unborn child of mother to be Ayesha Jones, won the competition’s ‘People’ prize.

This was followed in 2016 by ‘iCub and the tutor’, which featured Ayesha’s one year old daughter Caiya sitting at a table and playing with the iCub robot. It also took the top award in the ‘People’ category.

In 2015 the Intelligent Robotics Group at Aberystwyth University was awarded £560,000 by the EPSRC for a three year research project that sees the group working with developmental psychologists to help robots learn more about the physics of objects and how to use objects as tools.

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