Rebuilding the UK’s first robot
When researchers at London’s Science Museum were putting together an exhibition they came across the remarkable story of a robot called Eric.
Records showed that, back in the 1920s, Eric weighed just over 45 kg and had an armour-plated chest, legs and arms’ made of aluminum. He had light bulbs for eyes and 35,000 volts of electricity caused blue sparks to fly from his teeth!
The researchers tracked down the relatives of Eric’s original creators who helped them gather enough original imagery to bring him back to life.
“We stumbled across Eric’s remarkable story whilst researching for our upcoming Robots exhibition and had a dream to rebuild him,” they said.
Eric was built at a time when robots were beginning to capture the public’s imagination. He featured in a play and wowed the audiences across the globe. Then Eric disappeared.
Was he lost, destroyed or recycled for spare parts? No one knows. But the Science Museum was determined to bring Eric back to life. A campaign was launched to raise £50,000 to build a copy of Eric.
Artist builder Giles Walker agreed to help build and improve the robot Eric. Instead of all the old gear, Eric’s wires and motors have been updated. He is made out of aluminum and can move his head and arms, and can speak a number of phrases.
Last month he was the star of a major exhibition at the Science Museum, which explored the remarkable 500-year story of humanoid robotics. As part of a 5-year tour, Eric will also visit Manchester in the UK and a number of international museums.
Libby and Millie
Heighington Millfield Primary Academy