Ever thought you’d play tic-tac-toe with a robot? Or watch mini bots play soccer? How about have a droid mimic your every move? You’ll do it all at the Museum of Science and Industry’s new exhibit, Robot Revolution. On through January 3, 2016, it explores how robots are changing how we play, live and work. You’ll eye up — and interact with — cutting-edge bots that have been rarely seen publicly until now. Here’s what you and your kids need to know!


You Can Play Games
Kids that think iPad games are the end-all-be-all should wait until they meet Baxter. This droid actually plays tic-tac-toe with them! So much more fun than challenging a screen, big, red Baxter actually picks up tiles and strategically puts them down. But he’s not all fun and games; Baxter is there to show off real technology designed to help humans in factory settings. He’s been designed for a range of simple, repetitive tasks, and has sensors on his arms that help him repeat and remember movements.

As you make your way through the exhibit, you can also experiment with a variety of advanced robot “grippers” to select and pick up objects. See how the Fanuc delta robot can select and sort items with precision and speed. And go head to head with Yaskwawa/Motoman, a dual-arm robot, in a game of 21.

Robots Make Good Soccer Players
And … goal! Be part of a crowd that goes wild as small box ‘bots cooperate with each other in a soccer game. The “robot world cup,” or Robocup, is actually a thing. Usually, it’s played internationally, with science and engineering teams from across the world. Here, it’s played before your eyes. These athletic fellas are programmed to work together thanks to hardware and software that provides information on positioning, movement and scoring. Doesn’t matter who you root for — the goal is showing off how robots can collaborate and communicate.


The Cutest Robot in the World is Here
Seriously, you won’t be able to get over ROBOTIS-OP. He’s a smidgeon of a bot, just over one foot tall, and mimics your movements. He was designed to see and recognize objects because of a camera in his head. Within his little glass house at the Robot Revolution exhibit, he does things like raise his hands when your kids raise theirs, and follow your face and make “eye” contact using visual tracking software.


Robots Have Feelings
Or, they are programmed to, at least! Laugh, get mad and be surprised with EMYS. The globe-like wonder mimics your facial expressions with its advanced facial-coding technology. It was built to be empathetic and to show companionship, which scientists believe will better humans’ lives. Your kids will love making silly faces at EMYS and watching its disks and eyes bulge out. Or they can press buttons marked with certain emotions (from “happy” to “angry”) and see an exciting roller coaster of feelings!

You’ll Want to Plan Ahead …
Robot Revolution is not included in Museum Entry and requires an additional timed-entry ticket: $11 for adults and seniors, and $9 for kids ages 3-11. You can get tickets online in advance by clicking here. Expect to spend at least an hour in the exhibit and even more, depending on the age of your child.

Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Hyde Park
Online: msichicago.org

Will you take your kids to see this incredible new exhibit? Let us know in the Comments!

— Kelly Aiglon