A new robot that enjoys being cuddled and stroked is now on display at London's Science Museum.
The 'Heart Robot' was designed by David McGoran at the University of the West of England and is being touted as a prototype for future 'emotional machines' that could be deployed in hospitals to give medical treatment to humans.
The Heart Robot features a beating heart which rises when the machine is shaken and slows down when treated gently, as well as fluttering eyes that respond to touch.
While McGoran is currently a research in the Department of Robotics at UWE, he informed TechRadar that his background was in "puppetry and dance, so it's been a lot of fun working on this project."
The Heart Robot project has been funded by the EPSRC, " the whole point trying to bring people in to the kinds of research that is looking at social and emotional robotics," McGoran informs us.
Wall-E points way forward
"The new robot toy from Wall-E is a good example of this too, it's a toy and also it's a very expressive robot," says McGoran.
"Robots are traditionally seen as these cold, hard, steel automatons. In actual fact, we are showing that robots are actually becoming quite cuddly, cute and infant-like… responding to us in similar ways to pets."
For more on The Heart Robot project head over to the Science Museum, or check out the Heartrobot.org.uk site.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth interview with McGoran on The Heart Robot project in the coming weeks.