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Future Tech: 

This open-source robot can see, hear and touch like a real boy

icub-humanoid-robot-1

You may not be able to find a personal robot in every home just yet, but there’s still no shortage of companies building them. We’ve already met Pepper, Jibo and Kuratas, and now there’s iCub – a humanoid helper that can move around more or less like a real 4-year-old child. Depending on which movies you watched as a kid, this is either very exciting, or very, very creepy.

The robot is being developed by the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, equipped with 53 motors that help it to move its head, arms, hands, waist, and legs. It can do a lot more than move about, though – capable of recognising vocal commands and interacting with objects and tools.

Importantly, iCub can also learn from its experiences, and its open-source platform means that there’s no shortage of scientists and researchers queuing up to help it do so. Developers from across the globe are able to download a simulator and develop their own apps, helping the robot to perform a variety of new skills, from using new objects, to tackling puzzles and maintaining its balance – even if you throw a bowling ball at it. Check out the below video if you want to see somebody doing exactly that.

At the moment, iCub is an experiment to be prodded and poked by developers to see what it’s capable of, but it could have commercial uses in the future. For instance, it could be used in schools to assist with learning or trained a range of tasks to assist the elderly.

If you’re not too unsettled by he idea of a humanoid robot-child that can walk, talk and even learn from human behaviour, then take a look at the iCub website or follow its progress on Facebook.

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