STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Heavy hitters Google.org and the Boeing Company are among the people who have brought “Robot Revolution” to the Franklin Institute.
It’s a special exhibit developed by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, with additional funding provided by RACO Industrial, The David Bohnett Foundation, The Kaplan Foundation and United Airlines.
Oooh, does it have a self-driving car?
There is a self-driving Google Car simulator that takes you on a virtual drive, where you can learn how autonomous vehicles operate using LiDAR sensors.
The 40 robots in “Robot Revolution” specialize in everything from surgical assistance to search and rescue missions. You can interact with, or operate, more than half of them. You’ll meet Baxter — a tic-tac-toe-playing ’bot; PARO — a therapeutic, comforting baby seal robot that reacts to your touch; and RHex — a new, six-legged, all-terrain crawling robot developed by the University of Pennsylvania. Roomba could be the future of house cleaning. Yume Robo can climb up and down a ladder. The EKSO GT robotic skeleton
is a wearable apparatus that gives mobility to those who have problems with walking or are paralyzed.
The exhibit’s four sections are dedicated to robotic smarts, skills, cooperation and locomotion.
You can cheer on soccer-playing ’bots; see if you can outwit a robot in a game of 21/blackjack; program a robotic arm; experience a live drone show called “Drone Zone”; watch specialists adjusting sensors, wires and batteries on the robots in the RobotGarage; and see how fast a robot can solve a Rubik’s Cube.
Upcoming special themed Robot Revolution Days are “Gaming and Robots” Nov. 5, “Sci-Fi and Robots Movies” Dec. 3, “Circuitry and Robots” Jan. 14, “Tech and Safety” Feb. 11 and “Robot Zoo” March 11.
Meanwhile, the Tuttleman IMAX Theater has “Robots 3D,” narrated by Simon Pegg, which introduces the most advanced humanoid robots in Europe, Japan and the U.S.
When is this open?
Right now. Daytime hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Note that the last admission Sundays through Wednesdays is at 3:30 p.m.). Daytime tickets, which include general museum admission, are $29.95, $24.95 for children 3-11.
Evening hours, which do not include general admission to the rest of the Franklin Institute, are 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with the last admission at 7 p.m. Cost is $19.95, $14.95 for children 3-11.
Groups of 15 or more can purchase tickets at a discount rate by calling (215) 448-1200, option 3.
Can I get tickets before I go?
Yes, visit www.fi.edu or call (215) 448-1200.
It’s been a while since I was at the Franklin Institute. Where is it?
222 N. 20th St., Philadelphia. There’s a parking garage at 271 N. 21st St.
Is this a limited-time engagement?
“Robot Revolution” is only here through April 2. Note the Franklin Institute is closed Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1.