Robot may carry Olympic flame to celebrate Turings 100th birthday

first_imgIn addition to the Olympic rings, the Olympic Torch is one of the most well-known symbols of the Olympic Games. The torch commemorates the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, and each of the Games holds its own Torch Relay to transport the flame from Greece to the host country. Eight thousand “inspirational torchbearers” will carry the flame during the Olympic Torch Relay. However, one man is gunning to make it 7,999 torch-bearing people and one torch-bearing robot.The flame will be lit in Greece and will arrive in the UK on May 18, 2012 to begin the 70-day journey that will culminate at the Opening Ceremonies on July 27. Eight thousand people will be chosen to carry the Olympic Flame during the Torch Relay with the goal that their inspirational stories will “have the power to inspire millions of people watching around the world.”James Law, Computer Scientist at Aberystwyth University, is nominating the iCub robot to be one of the many torchbearers for London 2012.. The iCub was built to learn from real-world activities just like a toddler does.The 100th anniversary of the birth of the founder of computer science, Alan Turing, happens to coincide with the Olympics, and having the iCub as one of the torchbearers would be a “fitting tribute to Alan Turing, and an inspiration to future generations of scientists and engineers,” Law said.According to Law, Turing was not only considered the father of modern computer science, he was also the  “figurehead for the code-breaking efforts of WWII.” He also created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer and helped lay the foundations for the field of artificial intelligence.Law and crew nominated the iCub via Lloyds TSB, a retail bank in the UK that’s one of the the “presenting partners” of the 2012 Olympics. Lloyds TSB has over 800 torch bearer slots available. However, the robot doesn’t seem to meet most of the requirements which say the torchbearer must be at least 12 years old, and needs to be a resident in, and have a registered address within, the UK.The robot was acquired by the Developmental Robotics Group at Aberystwyth as part of the “IM-CLeVeR” (Intrinsically Motivated Cumulative Learning Versatile Robots) project. The goal of the project is to create new robots based on ideas motivated by neuroscience and psychology.Each leg of the journey is just 0.2 miles, so we’re pretty sure the robot would be capable walking or running that distance. As we saw earlier this week, a robot the size of a human hand was embarking on a rigorous mission of completing the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon – a 230-kilmeter-long race that will take the tiny robot 168 hours to complete.The actual torch itself was designed with 8,000 perforated circles to represent the 8,000 torchbearers. It’s made up of an inner and an outer aluminum alloy skin. The alloy was developed for the aerospace and automotive industry, and the torch is being tested in BMW’s climatic testing facility in Munich to make sure it can handle all weather conditions. The alloy is rather light at only 800 grams, which is important since more than half the torchbearers are expected to be as young as 12 years old – or a robot.Nominations for the 2012 torchbearers are still being accepted, but we’re routing for the iCub, and we’ll be sure to let you know once we hear whether the next Olympics will see the first robo-torchbearer.via New Scientist, London 2012last_img

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