Artificial indolence

07 Apr 2009

This week's robot news offers an exciting glimpse into the world of European robots. Sick of having to read about Japanese robots that are more like humans than people are, the RobotCub Consortium of Europe's universities have perfected the iCub, which looks like a three-and-a-half year old toddler. It can crawl, see and use its hands.

Professor Darwin Caldwell, research director at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, admits that: "The Japanese have had 10 years to develop the general control of software. They can walk, get towards running and do very clever dances... Ours sits down and moves its limbs but it doesn't do the really interesting stuff."

As the British versions of iCub age over the next 10 years, we expect UK universities to be able to teach them to bunk off, roll a joint, and eventually to binge drink lager - none of which the Japanese robots have yet mastered.

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