Most scientists say robots will change how we work, learn and live in the future. This question, and several others will be explored from 23 to 29 November during European Robotics Week, which this year will be hosted by the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a collaboration between the University of West England and the University of Bristol.
According to the University of Bristol, European Robotics Week aims to connect the robotics community to members of the general public and engage young people in educational and fun activities. On Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th, several free events will be held in Bristol.
Over those two days, leading UK and European experts will take part in a public debate on the role of robots in society.
European Robotics Week 2015 will host over 400 events focusing on robots and society. (Image: robohub.org)
Lots of fun activities for children
Members of the public will be able to participate in a full-day workshop on translating latest research in robots to market, while children will have the chance to visit the science centre – At-Bristol – to help scientists build ultra-tiny 100 nanoparticle robots to ‘treat cancer’.
European Robotics Week will be launched with Robots & Society Night on 24th November at 7 pm. Dr. Paul Bremner, who works at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, will give a live demonstration of a Nao robot, a 58-cm tall, autonomous, programmable humanoid robot created by Aldebaran Robotics, a French robotics company (see video at the end of this article). This will be followed by a debate about the about the role of robots in society with experts from the UK and Europe.
Turning your ideas into marketable products
Robots: From Imagination to Market, held on 25th November, aims to bridge the gap between state-of-the art research in academia and robotic start-ups.
The event will begin with an introduction to robots in science fiction, and then move onto the latest cutting-edge research. People will have the opportunity to listen to experts, engineers involved in up-and-rising start-ups, and leaders of successful companies.
The event includes a tour of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, an overview of ethical and legal concerns, and a panel discussion on how to go from ideas to market.
Help build 100 tiny robots at the Robot Buildathon.
The two-day long robotics event will conclude on 25th November with a Robot Buildathon (6 to 8 pm), where children aged 5 to 15 years can help scientists build 100 robots to treat artificial cancer cells. They will also interact with students, teachers and researchers at four robot stations.
The four robot stations will showcase 200 coin-sized robots, TiddlyBot and Thymio robots they can program, and the latest robots from the Robogals team, plus students from Digimakers, which is a collaboration between the Chartered Institute for IT and the University of Bristol.
Robogals is an organisation run by students that aims to engage schoolgirls in engineering topics from a young age. (Image: bristol.robogals.org.uk)
Director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Professor Chris Melhuish, said:
“We are delighted that Bristol is hosting European Robotics Week. BRL leads the way in Europe, bridging the gap between industry and the latest research in robotics, exemplified by our extensive research and development programmes, Robotics Innovation Facility (RIF), Technology Business Incubator, and UWE’s co-located University Enterprise Zone, which specialises in robotics, medtech and related high tech areas.”
“BRL is committed to research that has a positive impact on society, industry and the economy, and the European Robotics Week is an opportunity for us to share latest thinking, develop further links between research academia and industry, and enable the UK to compete more effectively.”
European Robotics Week has been organised by euRobotics AISBL, a non-for-profit association founded in 2012, aimed at providing the European robotics community a legal entity to engage in a contract with the European Commission.
The event brings together hundreds of European robotics events. Over the last five years, 200,000 robot enthusiasts of all ages have attended European Robotics Week.
Video – Nao robot demonstration
Founder and CEO of Aldebaran Robotics Bruno Maisonnier demos the latest version of the Nao humanoid robot.