3D Printed Robots Will Become Hospital and Museum Workers in Lincolnshire, UK, According to Doctor

Share this Article

bust image robotYou would think that, given the prevalence of robots with humanoid form in popular culture–particularly in literature and film–we humans prefer that our robots resemble us. That’s probably not the case, however, suggests Dr. John Murray of the University of Lincoln in Lincolnshire, UK.  Dr. Murray, who specializes in robotics, has found through ongoing research that people may not actually be particularly comfortable with robots that are overtly lifelike. He is spearheading an ongoing robotics project that uses three 3D printed robots to figure out why, in real life, we actually seem to have an aversion to anthropomorphic robots.

“I want to know what people want in a robot,” explains Dr. Murray, who is a researcher and teacher in the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln in eastern England. In addition to robotics and human-robot interaction he also specializes in aerial surveillance and unmanned aerial devices (UAVs), and 3D printing.

With his three robots, Marc, Erwin, and Tammie as mechanical guinea pigs if you will, Dr. Murray is exploring how people engage with robots. He wants to know why, despite our apparent fascination with humanoid robots, the more like a human a robot is, the more disturbing people find it. Dr. Murray asks volunteers to engage with Marc, Erwin, and Tammie by conversing with them, playing games, and interacting in other ways. “When you think of robots on TV and in films,” said Murray, “they tend to operate flawlessly–like the Terminator. He achieves his mission every time.”

Gael Langevin with InMoov.

Gael Langevin with InMoov.

The University of Lincoln’s robots were produced using an open-source design from InMoov, a project of French model maker and sculptor, Gael Langevin. InMoov, explains Langevin, is “the first life size humanoid robot you can 3D print and animate.” His robot can be produced using any 3D printer with a build volume of at least 12 x 12 x 12cm. He conceived of InMoov as a development platform for makers and hobbyists but also for use by universities and labs. Langevin designed InMoov using the open source software, Blender, and the robot is powered by more open source InMoov-5signasoftware, MyRobotLab.

Dr. Murray’s InMoov robots have cameras in their eyes as well as microphones in their bodies. Additionally, they have contact sensors that detect their distance from people and, we assume, other objects. All three robots were individually programmed so they function differently from one another and thus in their interactions with people. Specifically, said Dr. Murray, “…We wanted to create a robot that’s forgetful and more human-like to see how people relate to it.” The idea is that humans might be more amenable to androids–anthropomorphic robots–if the machines not only had human capabilities, but also human imperfections. For instance, volunteers who interacted with the robots would introduce themselves and then, on subsequent visits, the robot would have forgotten an individual volunteer’s name.

Dr. Murray hopes to eventually deploy the robots in, for instance, hospitals and museums in Lincolnshire, where they could be useful in supplementing if not substituting for human labor. Sophisticated robots are being used in medicine, but none are humanoid–they don’t need to be. In the case of performing services for humans like aiding busy hospital staff or guiding visitors through museums, it seems like a robot with human-like idiosyncrasies might make people more comfortable in such interactions. In this early stage, Marc, Erwin, and Tammie, the InMoov robots of Lincolnshire, are sort of ambassadors for a possible android horde. We hope Dr. Murray is teaching them manners.

What are your thoughts about having 3D printed humanoid robots in places like Museums and hospitals?  Let us know your thoughts in the 3D Printed Imoov Robot forum thread on 3dpb.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

NASA Funds 3D Printing Projects for Upcoming Era of Space Exploration

3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup, July 7, 2020



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D printed automobiles

3D Printed Food


You May Also Like

NIST Grants $1.4 Million to America Makes for 3D Printed PPE

As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world and changed life as we know it in many ways—along with opening up many questions for the future—makers, researchers, and medical inventors...

Featured

French Army Deploys Massive Military Print Farm for Spare Parts

The French Army has recently partnered with HAVA3D, a prominent distributor and integrator of additive manufacturing solutions based out of Le Mans, France, to deploy one of the largest 3D...

Featured

The Value Proposition of 3D Printed Airplane Parts, via Stratasys Aerospace

In the wee hours of the morning of July 2, I attended the last segment of the Stratasys Aerospace Webinar Series, “Value Proposition of AM to Airlines,” enjoying a presentation...

SLA 3D Printing: Formlabs Offers Six New Resins for the Form 3, Form 3B & Form 2

Centered around the miracles of 3D printing, Formlabs tends to have the magic touch—whether individual users or companies are seeking new products like an SLA printer or choosing from a...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.