ROBOTS 3D New Giant Screen Film from National Geographic Looks at the World’s Most Awe-Inspiring Humanoid Robots

HOUSTON, TX- Millions of astonishing robots exist today, and innovators are taking robotics to the next level with the new generation of these awe-inspiring machines - humanoid robots. They can work like us, play like us, learn and even look human. ROBOTS 3D , a new giant-screen film opening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science's Wortham Giant Screen Theatre Oct. 1, gives movie-goers an inside look at how hard it is to mimic human motions, as well as what it means to be humanoid.

In ROBOTS 3D, Simon Pegg (Star Trek; Shaun of the Dead ) voices host and narrator RoboThespian, an android who takes the audience on an exciting tour of the world to meet a dozen of the most remarkable robots in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The film showcases cutting-edge technology and the challenges engineers, scientists, and drivers face around the globe to accomplish these breakthroughs. See search-and-rescue robots, robot assistants, eerie life-like androids and Robonaut, the first robot handyman designed for space.

"This film gives audiences a fascinating and exciting look at what makes us human, how far machines must really go to look and act like us, and how humanoids are already changing our world," said Charlotte Brohi, VP of Film Program and Distribution at HMNS. "Addressing technological and philosophical questions with clarity and humor, ROBOTS 3D provides a glimpse into a future in which man and machine forge an increasingly sophisticated relationship."

Directed by Mike Slee ( Flight of the Butterflies; Bugs! ) and produced by Jini Dürr ( Mysteries of the Unseen World; Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure ), ROBOTS 3D provides rare access to labs where researchers push robotics to the limit, striving to replicate human locomotion, flexibility and dexterity using sensory data and visual perception. It's no easy feat getting a machine to move or think like a human and to sense, plan and act. Given the complexities and capabilities of the human brain, hands, feet and face alone - not to mention numerous muscles and joints - robot researchers have their work cut out for them in developing humanoids that will not only achieve human potential, but could one day surpass it.

The 40-minute, large-format film also explores the latest in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, humanoid cognition and human-robot interaction (HRI), and examines exciting developments in cloud robotics. Plus, get an inside look at the DARPA Robotics Challenge, an intense two-day competition that tests how robots might deal with disasters. Staged by the U.S. Government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as a response to Japan's 2011 Fukushima earthquake, the competition tests the abilities of rival all-purpose rescue robots to perform tasks like driving, walking on rough terrain, clearing debris, opening doors, using power tools, and turning safety valves, all during catastrophic conditions.


With RoboThespian as a guide, the film highlights the featured aptitudes of each robot. Among the humanoids are (in order of appearance):

    • HRP-2: Watch this bi-pedal bot crawl and walk, designed to study locomotion.
    • ASIMO: Honda's famed humanoid can jump and run up to 5 mph.
    • ATLAS: This 6-foot, 330-pound search-and-rescue robot navigates rough terrain.
    • COMAN: Just try to knock down this small headless wonder with the flexible joints.
    • HERB THE BUTLER: We may never have to clear the table or do dishes again.
    • ROBONAUT: NASA's space handyman helps astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
    • CHIMP: This humanoid "sees" by using laser light and sending out pulses that bounce back, like a bat uses echolocation.
    • JUSTIN: You will definitely want this robot on your team! He boasts a 90 percent accuracy rate for catching balls!
    • iCUB: This adorable robot is designed to look like a child and to learn like one.
    • PR-2: This robot could tie shoes (if it had any!) and fold laundry because of its incredible ability to recognize shapes and manipulate soft and flexible materials.
    • ANDROIDS: The human face has over 40 muscles to express emotions like fear, anger, surprise, happiness-and these androids seem capable of these emotions, too.
    • NAO: This small humanoid used for education is a huge favorite with the kids everywhere.

For tickets and more information on ROBOTS 3D , visit or call (713) 639-4629.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science-one of the nation's most heavily attended museums-is a centerpiece of the Houston Museum District. With four floors of permanent exhibit halls, and the Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Burke Baker Planetarium and George Observatory and as host to world-class and ever-changing touring exhibitions, the Museum has something to delight every age group. With such diverse and extraordinary offerings, a trip to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, located at 5555 Hermann Park Drive in the heart of the Museum District, is always an adventure.

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