Myon will see you at K 2010. The humanoid robot designed to study the science of walking features an outer skin made of Makrolon polycarbonate from Bayer MaterialScience AG; its automaton is the result of a research program between Germany's Neurorobotics Research Laboratory at Humboldt University in Berlin and Cologne-based design studio Frackenpohl Poulheim.
Myon, at just over 4 feet tall, is the height and size of a typical 8-year-old child.
We wanted Myon to project a friendly, positive persona, said Frackenpohl collaborator André Poulheim, one of the robot's designers. Robots can seem a bit threatening if, say, their shoulders are made too broad, he said in a July 26 news release issued by Leverkusen, Germany-based BMS.
Myon's skin protects inside electronics plus creates the robot's aesthetic outer shell. Bayer MaterialScience will present the technology involved in producing the outer skin at K 2010, set for Oct. 27-Nov. 3 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The robot's body parts can be removed and reattached while retaining full functionality, which is a first in the field, the release said.
The robot's aesthetic design and degree of mobility presented particular challenges when it came to selecting materials, said Lorenz Kramer, who is responsible for robotics at BMS. The material must not impede the overall functionality and it must be suitable for the creation of specific shapes.
During tests the glass-fiber-reinforced, flame-retardant Makrolon 9425, and the glossy, transparent Makrolon ET3113 proved the best materials for the job.
Kramer said demographics is one factor driving the development of humanoid robots: particularly the trend towards rapidly aging populations, he said.
Mobile service robots can, for example, be used to look after the elderly in hospitals and care homes. There are already examples of this in Japan, Kramer said.