Robot Linda will mingle with visitors at the Natural History Museum

Members of the public will have the opportunity to meet Linda the robot at a week-long celebration of university research at the Natural History Museum in London.

Linda is a specialist mobile robot currently being programmed to act intelligently in real-world environments, with the ultimate aim of being able to support security guards or staff in care homes.

She is one of six robots involved in the £7.2 million collaborative STRANDS project aimed at creating mobile robots that are able to operate independently, based on an understanding of 3D space and how this space changes over time.

Linda, who is based at the University of Lincoln, UK, and named after the city’s Roman roots as Lindum Colonia, will be mingling with visitors to the Museum from 9th to 13th June in the ‘Robots on Patrol’ exhibit.

The event is part of Universities Week 2014 which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.

It will be an opportunity for the research team to showcase the robot, which has already learned to map a building and run for 30 days autonomously.

Funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme (FP7), the research project involves six academic partners, a security company and an Austrian care home provider, where the technology will be tested.

The robots will eventually be deployed to run for an extended time so they have the chance to develop an understanding of how the world should appear and be able to identify deviations from their normal environment.

Dr Marc Hanheide, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, will be on hand throughout the week to explain Linda’s capabilities.

He said: “The aim is to show members of the public how this sort of technology could help us in our everyday lives, assisting humans in basic activities allowing them to concentrate on more important aspects of their work.

“It’s not just about providing a care home or security robot. We are trying to enable robots to learn from their long-term experience and their perception of how the environment unfolds in time. It will have many possible applications and taking Linda to the Natural History Museum is a fantastic opportunity for people to see how robots like this will, one day, be able to aid and assist humans in a variety of roles.”

The exhibit is just one of a number being hosted by the Natural History Museum as part of Universities Week 2014.
Linda was also one of the star attractions at the high-profile Longitude Prize 2014 launch at New Broadcasting House in London.

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