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National Geographic’s Robots 3D film to open at Science Museum’s IMAX® Theatre

Once the stuff of science fiction, robots are now truly capable of taking on our dirty work, from fighting fires and disarming bombs to clearing tables and doing the laundry.

In a UK exclusive at the Science Museum’s IMAX 3D Theatre from 23 May, Robots 3D showcases cutting-edge robotics from around the world, immersing the audience in the phenomenal capabilities of a dozen ‘superstar’ robots in a giant-screen film experience.

Narrated by ‘RoboThespian’, an android voiced by actor and comedian Simon Pegg, the National Geographic film explores the immense challenges of mimicking human behaviour. It also reveals how cutting edge designers and engineers are collaborating on a new generation of humanoid robots that work like us, play like us, learn, and even look like us.

Pegg takes audiences on a lively tour of remarkable robots, from NASA’s space handyman Robonaut and Herb the Butler in the U.S. to ASIMO in Japan*. Directed by Mike Slee (Flight of the Butterflies; Bugs!) and produced by Jini Dürr (Mysteries of the Unseen World; Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure), Robots 3D provides rare access to labs where researchers are putting the robots through their paces, striving to replicate human capabilities such as mobility, locomotion and dexterity, using sensory data and visual perception—getting a machine to move or think like a human is no easy feat.

'This film will really open people’s eyes and make them think about how amazing these machines are, how amazing human beings are and how complicated it is to make a machine that can do what we do,' said director Mike Slee.

The 40-minute large-format film also explores the latest in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, humanoid cognition and human-robot interaction (HRI) as well as exciting developments in cloud robotics. Robots 3D addresses the many technological and philosophical questions with clarity and humour, suggesting a future in which man and machine can forge a sophisticated relationship.

Alistair Otto, Science Museum Commercial Experiences Manager says:

'We’re extremely pleased to be the first theatre in the UK to show Robots 3D. It’s an amazing, captivating film full of scientific adventure and technological innovation. Shot in 3D, the giant screen film takes you on a robotic journey and gives you a fascinating and exciting look into how far machines can go to look and act like us and how humanoids are already changing our world.'

Robots 3D is suitable for children aged 8+. Ticket prices £11 adult, £10 concessions, £27 family of 3, £30 family of 4. For booking information visit www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/imax

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Notes to editors

Meet the robots

Among the humanoids Robots 3D introduces to audiences are:

  • “HRP-2”: Designed to study locomotion, watch this bi-pedal bot crawl and walk
  • “ASIMO”: Honda’s famed humanoid can jump and run up to 5 m.p.h
  • “ATLAS”: This 6-foot, 330-pound search and rescue robot navigates rough terrain
  • “COMAN”: Just try to knock down this small headless wonder with the flexible joints!
  • “HERB THE BUTLER”: We may never have to clear the table or do dishes again!
  • “ROBONAUT”: NASA’s space handyman “Robonaut” helps astronauts aboard the International Space Station
  • “CHIMP”: This humanoid “sees” by using laser light and sending out pulses that bounce back, like a bat uses echolocation
  • “JUSTIN”: You will definitely want this robot on your team! He has 90% accuracy rate for catching balls!
  • “iCUB”: This adorable robot is designed to look like a child and to learn like one
  • “PR-2”: This robot could tie shoes (if it had any!) and fold laundry because of its incredible ability to recognize shapes and manipulate soft and flexible materials
  • ANDROIDS: The human face has over 40 muscles to express emotions like fear, anger, surprise, happiness—and these androids seem capable of these emotions, too
  • “NAO”: This small humanoid used for education is a huge favourite with the kids everywhere

About the Science Museum’s IMAX Theatre

The IMAX Theatre at the Science Museum is a one-screen 400 seated cinema offering a daily programme of educational films, most of which are in IMAX 3D. The IMAX screen is one of the largest in the UK, at a height of four double-decker buses and the square footage of 64 parked taxis. It also has 10 times the image quality, resolution and sound of normal cinemas. The Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe.

About National Geographic Studios

National Geographic Studios is the video and film production division of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, whose mission is to inspire, illuminate and teach. From television series and specials to giant screen, from mobile video to digital news and educational content, National Geographic Studios’ productions embody the Society’s long-standing reputation for stunning visuals and captivating storytelling. National Geographic Studios has received nearly 150 Emmy Awards and almost 1,000 other industry accolades, including recognition from the Peabody Awards, DuPont Columbia Awards, multiple film and museum industry awards and the highest honors from natural history film festivals. National Geographic Studios also produces and distributes giant screen and digital 3D films for the museum cinema industry. Brooke Runnette is president of National Geographic Studios.