This lecture is part of a series of lectures on “Scientific Truths” organised by Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias in collaboration with the British Council.
Since over 50 years robot experts have promised us sophisticated robots helping us with our chores. However, this promise has not been fulfilled yet. The reason is we build robots the same way as we did 50 years ago. We design them like machines, using electric motors and metal parts. This works fine in factory environments to assemble cars, but our world is much more complex, dynamic and often unpredictable. Even the best available robots are still struggling to walk on complex terrain or to fill the dish washer. On the other hand animals outperform state-of-the-art robots in almost any task. One of the main reasons is that they not only have great brains, but they also have intelligent bodies. A lot of seemingly clever behaviour is not controlled by the brain, but is directly linked to the way animals are "build". Therefore, to make better robots, we have to change the way we design them. We need robots that are not only intelligent in their head, but from head to toe.
Helmut Hauser is a Senior Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Bristol. Before joining the University of Bristol, he was a postdoc at Rolf Pfeifer's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Zurich, where he was the project manager of the EU project LOCOMORPH and where he participated in a number of other projects like OCTOPUS, SMART-E and NCCR Robotics.