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Manchester welcomes the robots

The androids are coming to town for a pint, a kickabout, and a bit of Shakespeare

Published on October 15th 2009.

Manchester welcomes the robots

Of all the visitors that the city has played host to over the last few weeks, this lot look like they could be our favourites. From 24-27 October, the robots will be coming to Manchester for the UK's first ever robot festival. They'll be joined by some of the country's top roboticists for four days of robot-themed activities, including a pub guide to robots, a robot football championship and a discussion about love and robots in films.

You can make your own robo-footballer and play it in a free team tournament with other hard-wired team mates.

Called Walking with Robots, the robot festival will coincide with Manchester Science Festival and will include a free Robo-mania exhibition at MOSI, with automata stars including Bridget the Mars Rover, RoboThespian and a sweet-toothed computer with a penchant for peardrops.

Events to look out for include the pub guide to robots, which will prove that robots and beer do mix. This free, adult-only tour around the Robo-mania exhibition at MOSI offers a chance to chat with the roboticists, a short pub guide to robots from top UK roboticist Owen Holland, a five-round robot-themed pub quiz with a major robot prize, and a free beer for every punter. It'll take place from 6.30pm-8pm on Saturday 24 October at MOSI.

Also on Saturday 24 October, you can bring your old electronic junk and toys to the Madlab on Edge Street in the Northern Quarter for a robot hack day. Experts will help you take them apart and put them back together again as robots. You can work on your own or team up with others – there will be prizes at the end of the day for the best entries. This is happening from 10am-4pm. Booking is essential via www.madlab.org.uk

Later on at Madlab, you can make your own robo-footballer and play it in a free team tournament with other hard-wired team mates. Learn how to give your robot attacking or defending skills, and adapt it over several rounds to win your team the highest goal difference. Again, you need to book via www.madlab.org.uk.

Then on Sunday 25 October, head to TV21 on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter for Robot Scenes, from 7pm-8.15pm. It will use clips from films including Metropolis, Blade Runner and AI to promote discussion about topics including human-robot relationships, dystopian futures and love. This free event is led by Noel Sharkey (AI professor/media commentator) Cambridge anthropologist Kathleen Richardson and roboticist Claire Rocks. Meet from 6pm for food and to chat to the roboticists.

For full details go to www.manchestersciencefestival.com

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

lucky-chrisOctober 15th 2009.

TV21 isn't really a posh anything.... unless you're comparing it to Fab Café... so I suppose you're right in a weird way...

robogirlOctober 15th 2009.

No Metal Mickey alas, but there's a space robot called Bridget. Will she do?

tofurobotOctober 15th 2009.

Go robots go!

JulioOctober 15th 2009.

Looking forward to this - something different to do for the weekend.

robotricityOctober 15th 2009.

I've not heard of madlab. What is it? Is it a new bar?

robo mumOctober 15th 2009.

Great! My kids are gonna love this!!!

leonoidOctober 15th 2009.

great idea. will metal mickey be there?

DigOctober 15th 2009.

If anybody hasn't seen Honda's robot, Asimo, I would recommend checking it out on the Honda website. The most advanced robot there is.

ShandroidOctober 15th 2009.

Robots, films and beer? Heaven. Is tV21 like a posh Fab Cafe?

tofurobotOctober 15th 2009.

Go robots go!

OOctober 15th 2009.

TV21 was, as far as I can remember, the bar that started the trend for knobheads from the Printworks to walk round the corner and drink blue wickeds in the Northern Quarter. That and Walrus. Oddly and if I remember correctly, quite inexplicably, they used to have a life size model of The Predator in the window!? Enough said?

AsaOctober 15th 2009.

Mmm, beer and robots – a winning combination. Looking forward to getting me some robots built, although might have to wait until the soldering iron cools down before starting on the beer...

laurahdOctober 15th 2009.

Anything that involves free beer and robots on a Sat eve has got to be alright! :-)

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