Exhibit: A brief history of Korean robots

Exhibit: A brief history of Korean robots

Humanoids and babybots go on display at the Seoul Museum of History
Centaur, Korea's first humanoid, was developed in 1998 and has four legs and the intelligence of a child. A very robotic child.

Meet Mero the android, or “the job terminator,” as Time magazine called it in an article about the50 best inventions of 2010.

The one-year-old robot was initially developed as an “English-teaching robot” for Korean schools, with the potential to run foreign English teachers out of business.

Seoul Museum of HistoryMero made it on to Time magazine's "best inventions" list along with a lifeguard robot and sarcasm-detecting software.


One of the 12 robots on display in a mini-exhibition at the Seoul Museum of History, Mero is 65 centimeters tall, weighs 4 kilos and counts “care-giving for the elderly” and “telling jokes” among its many estimable qualifications.

Held in conjunction with the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, the Seoul Museum of History exhibit runs until January 15.

The exhibit places special focus on care-giving humanoids, ranging from Silbot, “Friend of Grandparents,” to the apron-clad Small Wonder-esque (remember that TV show about the robot daughter?) Mahru-M.

Like Mero, Engkey was developed to teach English.
Of the robots on display, the Robokin has the best chance of making it into sci-fi horror movie.

Developed as an apparel displaying mannequin with movie star looks (one is modeled after film star Lee Jun-ki, another after actress Han Chae-ah, although the resemblance is minimal at best), Robokin looks more like a Madame Tussaud wax figure but can mimic your behavior after motion-capture processing.

Admission is free.

Seoul Museum of History, 2-1 Sinmun-ro 1 ga, Jongro-ku (종로구 신문로1가 2-1); +82 2 724 0114; www.museum.seoul.kr

Open Tuesday–Friday 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (November–February 9 a.m-6 p.m.) Closed Monday.

Silbot can play "Alzheimer-delaying games" with the elderly.

Mahru-M can clean and carry out simple chores, and "gets smarter over time" with constant updates via external networks.

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