Heli-kite flies at the Science Museum
Dr Dave Barnes and the helikite
30 June 2006
Tuesday 30 May, 2006
Heli-kite robot takes to the air at the Science Museum
Finding it difficult to amuse the kids during half term? Scientists at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth have the answer - a robot that looks like a cross between a hot air balloon and a kite! The Heli-kite will be on display at the Science Museum on May 31st and June 1st, as part of the Science Museum's 'Roborama' shows during half-term.
Roborama is an event designed to challenge and stimulate public thinking about the latest developments in robotics. Robotics researchers from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, have teamed up with the Science Museum to produce a fun, entertaining show for families which asks as many questions as it answers. Audiences will learn all about robots, debating what a robot actually is and what we would like to use them for, from the practical - most commonly cleaning or homework - to the inspirational - space travel.
Roborama will be performed twice daily at the Science Museum throughout half-term (May 27 - June 4) at 10.30am and 11.30am in the main theatre. The show lasts for approximately half an hour and is suitable for family groups with children aged 5 or over.
On May 31st and June 1st the show will be extended to include a visit from Dr Dave Barnes, Reader in Space and Planetary Robotics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. Dave will be showcasing the 'helikite' - a robot that looks like a cross between a hot air balloon and a kite. This robot is designed to work in extreme environments such as Mars: it will lift a small set of scientific instruments, measuring atmospheric conditions and using an on-board camera for autonomous navigation of a rover on the surface of the planet.
This event forms the first stage of a nationwide programme entitled 'Robot Thought', coordinated by Dr Karen Bultitude at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Robot Thought involves setting up partnerships between robotics researchers and science centres, producing entertaining and educational science shows for family audiences that reflect the latest robotics research. These shows will be performed throughout the UK during 2006/07. Further information about Robot Thought may be found at http://www.uwe.ac.uk/fas/graphicscience/projects/events/robot_thoughtII.htm .
Other partners include: University of the West of England (Bristol); University of Wales, Aberystwyth; University of Edinburgh; Open University; At-Bristol (Bristol) ; Life Science Centre (Newcastle); Techniquest (Cardiff); Techniquest@NEWI (Wrexham); Thinktank Science Museum (Birmingham); Science Museum, London; W5 (Belfast); and Edinburgh Science Festival.