UWE leads first robot festival in Manchester this weekend

Issue date: 22 October 2009

Robots Walking with robots, 24 to 27 October 2009 various venues around Manchester

Robotics experts from the University of the West of England are working with top robotics experts from around the UK to put on the first ever UK Robot Festival. The Robot Festival 'Walking with Robots' is being held during the Manchester Science Festival this weekend 24 to 27 October 2009 at various venues around the city.

Events planned for the four-day festival include a pub guide to robots and a robot football championship where you can make your own robot and play it against other robot footballers on Saturday 24 October. There will also be the chance to join in a discussion about robots in Sci-Fi movies on Sunday 25 October.

UWE has coordinated the UK Robot Festival in collaboration with experts from the University of Edinburgh, the Open University, Aberystwyth University, the University of Bristol, University of Leeds, University of Sheffield, University of Hertfordshire, University of Sussex, University of Essex, University of Cambridge, University of Reading and Staffordshire University.

Professor Alan Winfield, roboticist and director of the Science Communication Unit at UWE said, “We are delighted to be teaming up with the Manchester Science Festival to put on 'Walking with robots' this weekend. We have some great events lined up that we hope will inspire people to discover more and to consider the impact of robotics now and in the future.

“Public engagement work is very important for those of us doing robotics research. With research pushing at the boundaries we need to find out what people think and to share new developments widely. The 'Walking with robots; what are the questions?' event on Tuesday 27 October will give an excellent chance for people to discuss their concerns about what we are all up to. Questions like 'What would you like robots to do for you in the future?' and 'What will happen when robots can think for themselves?' will we hope provoke an interesting debate.”

Walking with Robots festival co-ordinator Laura Drane said, “Walking with Robots is an interactive and fun showcase for robotics in the UK. Some of the best minds in the field are coming to Manchester to demonstrate how robots could one day impact on every aspect of our lives, from helping with the housework to fighting fires or just making a great toy.”

The festival is the culmination of a three year public engagement project funded by EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), which has also seen roboticists and their robot friends visit the Houses of Parliament and appear on Blue Peter.


Editors notes:

To find out more go to www.manchestersciencefestival.com

For more current stories relating to robotics see;

UWE scientists design first robot using mould

Robots will change the world, but how?

Researchers unveil whiskered robot rat

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