Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bucheon's Robo-Park

Last week I went on a field trip with my school to the Robo-Park in Bucheon, just outside Seoul. It was pretty small and only took a couple of hours to explore, but our students seemed to have a great time. After all, what little kid doesn't love robots?

We started the tour by watching a 3D movie about robots and space exploration.
Japan isn't the only country in Asia with a decades-long history of robot production.
The first robots we saw were some Hyundai football makers.

By winning a fifty-way rock-paper-scissors contest, this lucky student got to have her portrait drawn by a robot.
The robot reminded me of the automaton in the film, Hugo.
Clare-teacher petting a robo-dog. 


This is HUBO, a two-legged walking humanoid created by Profesor Oh Jun-Ho. He is capable of forward-walking with a stride of 0-32cm and a maximum speed of 1.25 km/h, can side-step from left to right, make several gestures with independent movement of his ten fingers, move his eyeballs independently, and sense external force through the motion sensors on his wrists. He can also enact dialogues using voice recognition and vocal synthesising.
The kids watch a mini-theatre show performed entirely by robots. 

Then they try their hand at robo-football.

Robo-wrestling, controlled via PS3 gamepads.
This field trip was a fun, if brief, foray into the world of Korean robotics, something I knew little about beforehand. Interestingly enough, apparently there's another robot museum on the other side of Seoul, which I may consider visiting sometime.

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