The exhibit dives back through the centuries to the earliest example of what we might call a robot. This clockwork model of a monk dates to about the year 1560. It was, according to the curators, able to walk across the table, move his lips, raise a crucifix and "beat his chest with contrition."
If the clockwork monk didn't put the fear of god in you, then maybe Robot Jesus will. This statue used clockwork to allow Jesus to "cry" blood (actually pieces of red-painted wood) from wounds on his body. Surely a delightful piece to bring out at Easter.
This life-size silver swan -- known, unsurprisingly, as "the silver swan" -- dates back to around 1773 and uses clockwork to turn various moving parts. Numerous glass spiral tubes rotate and 'sparkle' to give the effect of rippling water, small silver fish jump and dive about and the swan turns its long neck to peck fish from the 'water'.
Mark Twain once viewed and wrote about the same swan.
While it's certain that Kaspar here will haunt my sleep forever, he actually serves a useful purpose. He's designed for children with autism, allowing them to learn to recognise and respond to basic facial expressions.
Babybot, complete with paper lips and tennis balls for eyes, learned hand-eye coordination by picking up and exploring objects around it -- just like a real human baby. Hopefully all weapons are out of reach.
And now we're straight back to creepy again with Telenoid.
Made in Japan, Telenoid is sold as a "communication avatar" which in short means it's a stand-in for your real-life partner. The idea is that if your partner on the other side of the world gives their Telenoid a hug, then your Telenoid will hug you in much the same way.
In doing so, you'll hopefully be tricked into thinking that this squirming, limbless, expressionless thing is in fact your beloved.
World-famous ASIMO is on display too. This little chap is the most advanced humanoid robot, capable of running, jumping, kicking footballs, recognising faces, grasping and using objects and a variety of other things I have little ability to do after a beer.
Similarly, Baxter here is designed for factory or laboratory work. With its two arms, it can work alongside humans laborers who are able to teach Baxter what to do. Presumably, the humans are then no longer needed.