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).
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House o' bots
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.
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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.
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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.
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Coll is one of several biomimetic concept bots in the Marine Theater. It has crablike pincers and is designed to collect seabed minerals 19,000 feet below the waves.
DSME says that deep-sea reserves of copper, manganese, nickel, and cobalt could last an estimated 10,000 years.
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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.
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Bend it like a bot
DARwin-OP bots go toe-to-toe in a soccer match at the robot pavilion. The little humanoids are manufactured by South Korea's Robotis and developed in collaboration with U.S. universities.
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Onlookers record a dance performance by a variety of small humanoid kit robots at the 2012 Yeosu Expo.
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Nao or never?
Aldebaran Robotics' Nao humanoid robot has some quiet time in the robot pavilion's Zone One, which has a few bots from various countries.
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Catch of the day
One highlight of the robot pavilion is a school of robot fish. Apparently developed by DSME, the seven silvery fish swim in a very lifelike fashion and shoot light beams from their snouts to navigate.
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Humanoids among us
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.
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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.