Farmer Wu Yulu’s homemade robots at RockBund Art Museum

Farmer Wu Yulu’s homemade robots at RockBund Art Museum

A Chinese farmer finds himself in the spotlight after inventing a series of scrap robots, now on display at RockBund Art Museum

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Although there might not be the most impressive technology on display at the Shanghai 2010 Expo, it makes what’s on show just off the Expo site even more eye catching.

Malcom Moore of the Daily Telegraph recently went to RockBund Art Museum to interview Wu Yulu, a Chinese farmer and inventor of home-made robots.

Wu Yulu attempted to make his first robot when he was 11 years old, although it wasn’t until the 1970 when we got a job in a farm machinery factory that his hobby really took off. He turned used sewing machine parts and some steel wire into his first real robot.

"Until now, I don't know the theory of physics, but I knew that electricity can drive motors and power can be transferred to the robot's hands and legs with levers and wires," Wu said of this robot to China Daily.

After much experimentation, Wu Yulu built his first functional, moving robot in 1982.

Not just for show, as you’ll see in the video, all of Wu Yulu’s robots have a purpose from bowing to serving water and lighting cigarettes. At the RockBund show curated by Cai Guoqiang, Wu Yulu was inundated with fans.

“I never expected to become famous,” he said to the Telegraph. “I never pictured myself playing with my robots in a large museum in Shanghai, surrounded by so many people. Making my robots is just a hobby -- I don’t think it will end up being a big business, with mass production and marketing. It is just a personal thing.”