‘World’s most advanced robot’ to be exhibited in Scotland

A humanoid robot described as the most advanced in the world will be showcased in Scotland.

The National Robotarium, the UK’s centre for robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) based at Heriot-Watt University in partnership with The University of Edinburgh, has purchased the robot, named Ameca, from Engineered Arts.

Ameca is described as able “to interact with people in a natural and engaging way”, and facial expressions include “playful” and “pondering”.

Ameca, the humanoid robot, has a range of facial expressions along with embedded microphones and cameras (National Robotarium/PA)

The acquisition is a bid to “demystify complex technologies and foster a greater understanding of the potential benefits of robotics”, and AI.

The robot has embedded microphones, cameras, facial recognition software and articulated motorised components.

The National Robotarium hopes to break down barriers and build trust between humans and robots by exhibiting Ameca in schools and workshops to provide opportunities for people of all ages to interact directly with the robot and learn about the latest advancements in robotics and AI.

The robotarium aims to introduce Ameca as part of its public engagement initiatives by summer.

The facility is supported by £21 million from the UK Government and £1.4 million from the Scottish Government in a bid to turn Edinburgh into the data capital of Europe.

Researchers will also use Ameca to study public perceptions and attitudes towards humanoid robots, gathering valuable insights to inform the development of future technologies that prioritise trust, transparency and user-friendliness.

Steve Maclaren, chief operating officer at the National Robotarium, said: “The arrival of Ameca at the National Robotarium marks a significant step forward in our mission to make robotics more accessible and relatable to the people of Scotland, the UK and beyond.

“Since opening our doors in September 2022, we’ve successfully hosted more than 100 in-person and virtual events and engaged thousands of school-aged children.

“Ameca represents an exciting opportunity to build on that success and take public engagement to the next level.

“By giving people the chance to interact with this state-of-the-art humanoid robot first hand, we aim to demystify robotics, foster trust in human-robot interaction, and showcase the remarkable potential of these technologies to improve our daily lives and benefit society as a whole.”

Will Jackson, founder and chief executive of Engineered Arts Ltd, said: “We are incredibly proud to have Ameca join the many preeminent robots at The National Robotarium.

“Meeting an AI-embodied humanoid robot is a unique experience that very few people have witnessed and we are very excited to be able to share what can be a profound moment with a wider audience.”