Though it's been criticized for being dull and disorganized, the 2012 Yeosu Expo in South Korea is drawing as many as 112,000 people a day who line up at pavilions selling visions of the future. At the Robot Pavilion, which draws lines of two to three hours despite temperatures near 100 degrees, visitors are greeted by EveR-4, a humanoid robot created by the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (Kitech).
Sponsored by one of the world's largest shipbuilders, the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) robot pavilion presents more than 70 bots, some of which are sea-related in line with the 2012 Yeosu Expo's theme of "The Living Ocean and Coast."
The show feels like a precursor of South Korea's much-heralded Robotland theme park, scheduled to open in 2016 near Seoul.
Billed as an "edutainment robot," EveR-4 is the latest generation in a series of humanoids from Kitech that go back to 2005. Its 30 face actuators allow a wide range of expressions, while its 47 joints give it graceful upper-body movement. It can manage basic conversations in Korean.
Navi is more of a fantasy prop than a robot, but this 21-foot, one-ton colossus can move its hands, arms, shoulders, and head. It's on display in the DSME Marine Theater room showcasing deep-sea mining technologies.
Engineering Arts' RoboThespian joined the fun at the 2012 Expo in Yeosu, orating in Korean about robots while looking decidedly devilish. The cyber-performer has been doing gigs of late in Taiwan, London, the Netherlands, and elsewhere.
Virginia Tech's CHARLI (aka Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence) greets kids in the robot pavilion. The 5-foot droid was first unveiled two years ago and billed as the first full-size autonomous humanoid robot in the U.S.
Developed by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology's Center for Intelligent Robotics, Mero is a talking head designed to instruct and entertain. It can recognize people's faces and expressions via its camera, and respond appropriately with its own expressive face. It's been proposed as an English-teaching aid, elder care device, and entertainment droid.