The ‘world’s most advanced’ humanoid robot has arrived in Scotland to be used as part of a campaign to build public trust in robotics.

The National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt university in Edinburgh has acquired the ‘Ameca’ robot to engage new audiences – including school children – in the use of robots.

The lifelike robot – purchased from Engineered Arts – has realistic facial expressions, and can hold conversations with people in a ‘natural way’.

It is thought to be the first time such a robot has been hosted at a UK facility, with hopes that it ‘break down barriers and build trust between humans and robots’.

Steve Maclaren, chief operating officer at the National Robotarium, said:  “The arrival of Ameca at the National Robotarium marks a significant step forward in our mission to make robotics more accessible and relatable to the people of Scotland, the UK and beyond. Since opening our doors in September 2022, we’ve successfully hosted more than 100 in-person and virtual events and engaged thousands of school-aged children.

“Ameca represents an exciting opportunity to build on that success and take public engagement to the next level. By giving people the chance to interact with this state-of-the-art humanoid robot firsthand, we aim to demystify robotics, foster trust in human-robot interaction, and showcase the remarkable potential of these technologies to improve our daily lives and benefit society as a whole.”

Ameca’s sophisticated features, including embedded microphones, cameras, facial recognition software, and articulated motorised components, enable it to interact with people in a natural and engaging way. By showcasing Ameca’s capabilities through its public outreach and education programmes, the National Robotarium will seek to break down barriers and build trust between humans and robots.

The facility’s dedicated public engagement team will feature Ameca at various events, school visits, and workshops across Scotland and beyond, providing opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to interact directly with the robot and learn about the latest advancements in robotics and AI. 

Researchers will also utilise Ameca to study public perceptions and attitudes towards humanoid robots, gathering valuable insights to inform the development of future technologies that prioritise trust, transparency, and user-friendliness.