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Glimpse Robotics Future

Glimpse Robotics Future

Monday 08 August 2011

Robot animals, a self-driving car and a super-sensing helmet that could help save firefighters' lives are coming to the city - and the public are being invited to view these futuristic inventions for themselves.

The Towards Automatic Robotics Systems (TAROS) conference will point to a future where automated devices can help in a variety of domestic and professional scenarios.

Jointly organised by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield, it will take place between Wednesday August 31 and Friday September 2, at Sheffield Hallam University's Furnival Building on Arundel Street.

This year's TAROS conference, in its 12th year, will see experts discuss how the 21st century will see sweeping social and economic changes due to the advance of robotic technologies such as animal-like robots, self-driving cars, assistive robots for children and adults with special needs and robots for the farms of the future.

A robotic exhibition takes place in the Furnival Gallery on Thursday 1 September from 3.30pm to 5.30pm to be followed by a public lecture. All are welcome.

The exhibition will feature an array of leading new devices from the robotics industry and from University laboratories including

  • Guardians - firefighting robots developed by Sheffield Hallam University
  • Shrewbot - a unique animal-like that can seek out and identify objects using its artificial whiskers using a new technology that was developed jointly by the Active Touch Laboratory at the University of Sheffield at Bristol Robotics Laboratory.
  • Wildcat - a Land Rover with hi-tech sensor equipment designed to be driven automatically by BAE Systems
  • Grail - a robotic arm designed for use in domestic and catering scenarios
  • The Tactile Helmet - a super-sensing helmet being developed by the University of Sheffield to help firefighters find their way in smoke-filled buildings by detecting walls and obstacles through an extended sense of touch.

Professor Tony Prescott from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology, said: 'In the future, robots will provide help in our homes, schools, hospitals and work places tackling the jobs that are dull, dirty or dangerous that people don’t want to do themselves. As we face up to a future where there are many more older people than younger people, society can also benefit from robot helpers that will help to older people to live active independent lives.'

Jacques Penders, head of Sheffield Hallam's Centre for Automative Robotic Research (CARR), said: 'Present day robotics includes a large variety of devices for very different applications. This public exhibition is an ideal time to witness the variety of research being carried out by a number of institutions, including the two Sheffield universities.

'UK robotics research is incredibly important at the moment and we are proud to be hosting TAROS in the city this year.'

The TAROS Conference will also see the launch of SCentRo, the Sheffield Centre for Robotics, a collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.

For more information on Taros, go to

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