Robot Revolution at Chicago’s MSI

robot revContinuing this fall at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is a revolutionary educational exhibit for kids. “Robot Revolution” shows off robotics in their element and allows children to interact with them to the fullest extent. The exhibit debuted May 21st of this spring, but will be open throughout this season and through the holidays until it closes January 3rd, 2016.

Robot Revolution focuses on the integration of robotics into everyday life, and conveying that concept to youth. Robots are often associated with highly technological and scientific endeavors, and primarily used for industrial settings, but as the MSI’s website states, “In Robot Revolution, you’ll discover the ways in which robots can contribute to our lives, now and in the very near future.”

The exhibit is divided into four main sections: Cooperation, Smarts, Skills, and Locomotion.

“Cooperation” emphasizes human synergy and teamwork with robots. It demonstrates to the kids how robots are now more capable of understanding humans and adapting to our movements and habits. There is a surgical training simulation that allows participants to see what it’s like to perform a robotic surgery, a robot exoskeleton that augments physical strength and can be used by someone who has been paralyzed, and a live robot soccer game. Reactive robots PARO and EMYS are there to be interacted with and can mimic human faces and movements.

robot tic tac toe

Guests face off against Baxter in a game of tic-tac-toe.

“Smarts” is the section where visitors get to test out some robot IQs…and help them do it. This includes the Google Self-Driving Car, equipped with a LiDAR unit capable of reading surroundings on a city street, IBM’s Watson, a robot that has won Jeopardy! and now assists doctors with medical research, and Baxter, who will challenge you to a game of tic-tac-toe. (How many cool things can you fit in one room?)

“Skills” features robots that take human capability to the next level. Gripper robots organize items at top speed. A Bionic Handling Assistant flaunts a vast range of motion unlike anything we humans can do. And the Yasakawa Robotic21 System faces off against the kids in a game of cards.

Save the ‘awesomest’ for last? In “Locomotion”, you can experience how robots explore areas that humans can’t reach, and move in ways that we can’t. This includes a balancing robot that has to adapt to changes around its feet, a snake-bot that can sliver through tiny areas such as pipelines, the Recon Scout Throwbot XT used by military and police to survey potentially dangerous areas before sending in troops, and the TOPY OSCAR, an Optical Stair Climbing Advanced Robot that resembles a miniature tractor and can handle steep inclines.


What a blast. Tickets, available online or at the museum, are $9 for kids (ages 3-11) and $11 for adults and seniors. Get your nerd on this fall!


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