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There are robots galore in our lives already -- a new OMSI exhibit introduces you to many of them

DAVID F. ASHTON - Paro, a therapeutic, animatronic baby harp seal, purrs and wiggles when petted by OMSI Featured Hall Assistant Manager Jennifer Powers. There will likely be a robot in your future, if there aren't a lot already; that's what the experts at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) said, as they opened their newest featured exhibit – billed as the world's largest collection of robots in action – "Robot Revolution", on March 17.

This exhibition is alive with the newest and latest robots from some of the most advanced companies and universities, exploring how robots may change how we work, live, and play together, as companions or as colleagues.

At "Robot Revolution", visitors will find four main sections:

$ Cooperation: Discover how engineering breakthroughs help create robots that work with humans effectively to enhance our lives.

$ Intelligence: Interact with robots that can sense, plan, and then act, while comparing and contrasting the ways in which humans and robots learn.

$ Skills: In this area guests will experience the skills that robots possess that mimic and often surpass human capabilities.

$ Locomotion: Explore the ways that robots can move, from those that climb, to ones which walk; even one that slithers like a snake.

This exhibit was first conceived in 2012, then created and opened in 2015 in the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry (CMSI) -- after which it was sent on tour around the country, to end its travels here in Portland. So explained Senior Project Manager Mark Ewing.

The impetus behind creating "Robot Revolution" was, in addition to showing how robots can work and what they can do, especially to interest people in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), Ewing told THE BEE.

Of all the electronic/mechanical marvels at the exhibition, watching the "Soccer Robots" play a game has been his own personal favorite, Ewing said. "Watching the robots play a game is fascinating because of its inherent complexity. I also enjoy seeing the guests' reaction as they play and score goals, and get really involved with the game!"

What he hopes people will take away from their experience at the exhibition, Ewing remarked, is how robotics invites experimenters into the field, be it because of an interest in mechanical design, or materials development, wiring, electronics, computers, or perhaps the robots' social interaction.

"Robot Revolution" occupies OMSI's Feature Hall now through Labor Day, September 3. Tickets to this exhibit are at an additional charge over general museum admission.

Learn more at their website – omsi.edu/robots

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