Support our Nation today - please donate here

Robotic pet dragon to make public bow in Aber

08 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Dr Patricia Shaw and the yet-to-be-named robotic dragon outside the new Smart Home Lab where robots are being tested for how they might be able to help older people live independently for longer.

A new robotic pet dragon, designed as part of a study into how robots might help older people live independently for longer, will make its first public appearance on Saturday 15 June.

The dragon will feature at Aberystwyth University’s BeachLab event which takes place at Aberystwyth Bandstand.

Decked out in bright red and featuring big green eyes and a flashing tail, the as yet unnamed dragon lives in the University’s new Smart Home Lab, along with a host of other robots of all shapes, sizes and uses.

Also on show will be a smart wheelchair, flying drones which are being developed to assist with communication following natural disasters, low-cost robots used to monitor changes to the Welsh coastline and even a trick-performing dog.

Current and former members of the University’s after school robotics club and undergraduate robotics society will also be showing their creations, including a crevice climbing robot developed by Rowen King who is currently studying at Sheffield University.

Robot drivers

And, for those who would like to learn the basics of how to build a robot, staff will be on hand to offer advice and guidance, and there will be a maze for budding young robot drivers.

BeachLab, which runs from 10am until 4pm, also marks the beginning of a week-long programme of events to celebrate all things robotic.

On Monday 17 June, Dr Patricia Shaw, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science, will be discussing technology for independent living at Aberystwyth Science Cafe at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Open to all, the event starts at 7:30pm.

On Tuesday 18, Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 June the University will host the Robot Olympics.

Team competitions

In collaboration with Ceredigion County Council, over 300 pupils from Ceredigion Schools will be taking part in team competitions involving building and adapting robots.

Dr Shaw is the coordinator for the week’s programme: “We’re delighted to be hosting BeachLab once more at the Bandstand which has proven to be such a popular event over the years.

“Robots are becoming an increasingly important part of our day to day lives and so it is great to be able to demonstrate some of the research taking place at the University, and the potential benefits this work could bring.”

The robot dragon at home on the sofa in the Smart Home Lab

Based at the Smart Home Lab, a recently completed bungalow on the Penglais campus, Dr Shaw is working with robots that are designed to help older people live independently.

The robotic dragon is one of a series of companion and assistant robots that are being tested which interact with people.

Able to move its eyes, ears and light up its tail, the dragon can also monitor an older person’s movement providing valuable data for planning care, and also prompt a person to move or interact with it.

Visitors to BeachLab will also have the opportunity to suggest a name for the dragon.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.