Every year for my dad’s birthday we go on a family day trip. Last year we went to the Crime Museum – which was morbidly fascinating, so this year we wanted to go somewhere equally interesting. The Science Museum has just opened the doors to it’s Robot exhibition, which we thought would be right up my dad’s street! So last weekend we district-lined it to Kensington to visit all things Robot and we were not disappointed.
The exhibition started off with some retro robots from famous movies dating from the 1950s up to more recent films like the Terminator. They had cabinets full of robot memorabilia such as the iconic ‘Rock ’em Sock ’em robots’ (which I instantly recognised from a Simpsons episode!), as well as TV and movie posters about robots which included some of my favourites; Futurama, Ex Machina, Wall-E and Big Hero 6. There was one robot I liked in particular who had been named ‘George’ and even had his own Science Museum I.D badge around his neck!
There was a great range of different style robots and robots used for different purposes. They even had someone walking around with a robot dog and cat, which I found out were mostly used to give the elderly the companionship of a pet without the responsibilities a real animal brings. I found it odd how a few of the robots had lips – although this did mean I totally connected with one robot in particular; ‘Inkha’ who was created to be a ‘sassy receptionist’ at Kings College London from 2003-2015! What a babe! I also giggled at the fact they had decided to put some snazzy black sneakers on one robot’s stumpy wooden feet…
There were three robots in particular that scared the life out of me… one looked like a real woman – which appeared so life like I started to be suspicious that everyone around me was actually some kind of cyborg. Another resembled some kind of child amputee, with a stump arms and legs. Disturbingly this robot was created as a therapy doll, and it’s ‘blank expression allowed for the handler’s emotions to be reflected on to it’. Ugh no thanks. The most creepy of the robots was definitely the one we aptly nicknamed ‘Michael Myers’, which was designed to be played and interacted with by autistic children. Seriously?! That thing was a creature of nightmares!
The abilities some of these robots had really were impressive. I really enjoyed ‘Pepper’ who is a ‘humanoid companion’ created to communicate with humans through his voice, touch and the expression of his emotions. Although cute, Pepper actually kept staring at me at one point which was a bit weird – but I’d rather him stare than any of the satan-inspired robots I’d just encountered…
Our visit ended on a rather disturbing vibe as my brother convinced me that a boy in the room was actually a robot in the exhibition. To be fair he was for some reason dressed all in red and standing still staring into space! After looking at this boy for longer than I should have, he then simply left the room with his parents. Ugh, why do I fall for these things?!
An obligatory visit to the gift shop completed our experience at the Science Museum. They had a wall filled floor to ceiling with beautiful robot prints, as well as fun retro style robot toys. The robot exhibition is on until September, which is plenty of time to go and have a mooch around. Check it out and buy your tickets here.