‘Robot Revolution’ takes over OMSI

You’ll be amazed as you watch, and interact with, the world’s largest collection of robots in action …

From industrial sorting robots, to more playful machines like this Rubik’s Cube Solver, the new “Robot Revolution” exhibition at OMSI offers two floors of fascinating machines.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

There will likely be a robot in your future; that’s what the experts at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) said, as they opened their newest featured exhibit – “Robot Revolution” in March.

This exhibition is alive with the newest and latest robots from some of the most advanced companies and universities, exploring how robots may change how we work, live, and play together, as companions or as colleagues.

At interactive displays like these, visitors can experience how robots can touch, and grasp objects of all kinds.

At “Robot Revolution”, visitors will find these main sections:

  1. Cooperation: Discover how engineering breakthroughs help create robots that work with humans effectively to enhance our lives.
  2. Intelligence: Interact with robots that can sense, plan, and then act, while comparing and contrasting the ways in which humans and robots learn.
  3. Skills: In this area guests will experience the skills that robots possess that mimic and often surpass human capabilities.
  4. Locomotion: Explore the ways that robots can move, from those that climb, to ones which walk, even one that slithers like a snake.

As its eyes follow visitors moving in front of it, the humanoid “RoboThespian”, the exhibit’s Lead Robot Specialist, Adrian Choi, tells about it. This robot was made by Engineered Arts Ltd. for exploring social interaction, communication, and entertainment.

This exhibit was first conceived in 2012, then created and opened in 2015 in the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry (CMSI), after which it was sent “on tour” around the country – finally ending its travels here in East Portland, explained Senior Project Manager Mark Ewing.

The impetus behind creating “Robot Revolution” was, in addition to showing how robots can work and what they can do, to interest people in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), Ewing told East Portland News.

Of all the exhibits, CNSI Senior Project Manager Mark Ewing says “Soccer Robots” is his favorite.

Of all the electronic/mechanical marvels at the exhibition, watching the “Soccer Robots” play a game is his own personal favorite display, Ewing said. “Watching the robots play a game is fascinating because of its inherent complexity. I also enjoy seeing the guests’ reaction as they play and score goals, and get really involved with the game!”

What he hopes people will take away from their experience viewing, and interacting with, the exhibition, Ewing remarked, is how robotics invites experimenters to into the field – be it due to an interest in mechanical design, or materials development – wiring, electronics, computers – as well as their social interaction.

Paro®, a therapeutic, animatronic baby harp seal, purrs and wiggles when petted by OMSI Featured Hall Assistant Manager Jennifer Powers.

“Robot Revolution” occupies OMSI’s Feature Hall now through Labor Day, September 3. Tickets to this exhibit are at an additional charge over general museum admission.

Learn more at their website: CLICK HERE to open the page about this exhibition.

>> On our Front Page: “Robotis-Mini” takes a bow!

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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