Pneuborn Infant Robots

Pneuborn-7II and Pneuborn-13, two infant-sized robots, are to be presented by Osaka University’s Hosoda Lab at ICRA 2011. Their pneumatic muscles are made of soft flexible materials, letting them gently interact with their environment.


(Pneuborn infant robot)

Measuring the size of a 7 month old infant, Pneuborn-7II was built to study the relationship between motor development and embodiment. It is 80cm (31″) tall, weighs 5.4kg (11.9 lbs), and has 26 degrees of freedom actuated by 19 pneumatic muscles. Notably, the robot’s spine has three pitch and yaw joints that allow it to rotate, flex, and extend. It is fully autonomous, containing a micro controller, battery, air valves, and an air source (compressed C02 cartridge bottle). During long experiments, air can be provided through an external compressor.

The researchers implemented a learning algorithm based on central pattern generators with an optimization method, which was able to generate successful crawling forward motions.

I can't think of any sf stories about infants robots, but a young boy - yes.

Update 11-Feb-2017 And then I did! See the baby robot from Brother Robot by Henry Slesar in 1958. End update.

In Supertoys Last All Summer Long, a 1967 story by Brian Aldiss, a childless couple adopts a young robot boy while waiting for government permission to have a child.

...When she had come down from the nursery, Monica had de-opaqued the windows, so that they now revealed the vista of garden beyond. Artificial sunlight was growing long and golden across the lawn - and David and Teddy were staring through the window at them.
Seeing their faces, Henry and his wife grew serious.
"What do we do about them?" Henry asked.
"Teddy's no trouble. He works well."
"Is David malfunctioning?"
"His verbal communication-center is still giving trouble. I think he'll have to go back to the factory again."
"Okay. We'll see how he does before the baby's born.

From Hosada Labs via Plastic Pals

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