The BBC is hoping to find a way to make robots that can feel human touch without using artificial intelligence.
It has unveiled the world’s first robot that uses its own internal sensor network to sense the hand movements of its owner.
It is a prototype, which will be used in trials in the UK, and it is built using an advanced computer vision system.
The robot is powered by a battery and an onboard computer, which makes it possible to operate the machine at will, while the sensor network keeps track of how the user moves the robot.
The project has taken a long time, with the first prototype working for less than three weeks before it was withdrawn from the market.
“We want to use our sensor network and our computer vision algorithms to improve the robot and give it the flexibility it needs to be used safely,” said Paul McEwan, a professor of computer vision at Imperial College London.
He said the technology would also allow for greater control of the robot, and could be used to build robots that are able to help people with specific disabilities.
“The sensor network in the prototype is the first to be able to pick up the vibration of the human’s hand, which is very important for people with sensory impairments,” he said.
The prototype was made from a “very flexible polymer”, and it can move independently of the user’s hand.
The technology could allow people with certain conditions to use the robot more safely, Mr McEwans added.
“They could be sitting at a desk, a chair, or even in the living room with their partner.
It can take the robot to the dining room, for example, and they can use it to assist them in eating.”
The robot can also perform manual actions, such as changing a thermostat or adjusting the brightness of a light bulb.
The BBC says it is working with manufacturers of humanoid robots to bring the technology to market.
It said the first commercial production robot will be ready for testing in the near future.
The development was led by the Universities of Surrey and Surrey NanoSystems and was funded by the Research Council for Innovation.