An imitation of life and man

 Humanoid robots will be living in our homes and taking care of us sooner than we think.

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In a building used for decades as a repository for the tax returns of millions of Italians, a small group of scientists from around the world is seeking the holy grail in robotics – the humanoid robot that is at the same time affordable, durable, unthreatening, cute and, most crucially, useful. But this ten-year-old open source project has a reach that goes much beyond the Italian Institute of Technology, a research facility in the beguiling and gritty port city of Genoa where the robot, called the iCub, is being developed. A multitude of universities and laboratories in Europe and beyond are using the iCub for research on artificial intelligence. The shiny white humanoid is just over one meter tall, has big eyes, an enigmatic almost imperceptible smile and a decidedly unthreatening appearance, a deliberate choice by its creators who ultimately want the robot to be a companion in the home that can live alongside children and adults.

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