13 September 2011
Scientists at Aberystwyth University have nominated a humanoid robot to carry the Olympic Flame as part of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
The iCub has been nominated by Dr James Law from the Department of Computer Science to mark the centenary in 2012 of the birth of Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science.
A child-like humanoid robot, the iCub is part of a research project at Aberystwyth University into how learning processes in young children can be translated into strategies for learning in robots.
James said: “2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth on Alan Turing, the founder of computer science and a figurehead for the code breaking efforts of WWII. A robot torch bearer would be a fitting tribute to Alan Turing, and an inspiration to future generations of scientists and engineers.
“Alan Turing is widely known for his role in developing computing methods for code breaking in WWII, but this is only a small part of his truly inspiring work. He created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer and laid the foundations for the field of Artificial Intelligence. These achievements led to the computerised era we live in today, and prepared the way for the robotics research being carried out here at Aberystwyth University”, he added.
The iCub was acquired by the Developmental Robotics Group at Aberystwyth as part of the “IM-CLeVeR” (Intrinsically Motivated Cumulative Learning Versatile Robots) project which aims to develop new robot controllers based on ideas inspired by neuroscience and psychology.
Research at Aberystwyth is focused on identifying processes of development in infants and translating them into strategies for learning in robotics.
The project involves 10 partner institutions from across Europe working in fields including robotics, neuroscience, developmental psychology and machine learning.
Funding, €5.9m overall with £760,000 for the Aberystwyth team, has been provided by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme, Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics.
The iCub has been nominated to carry the Olympic flame with Lloyds TSB.