We’re not planning to sit you down with a soldering iron, but we will introduce you to the basics of robot design through a series of simulations that will have you test driving an Eric – our very own University of Reading mobile robot. We’ll start by looking at some of the earliest, real and fictional robots ever invented: from musical automata in 13th century Iraq to Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical lion; from the early 20th century science fiction of “Metropolis” and Asimov to the first Mars lander in 1996. Using a combination of videos, animations, screencasts, articles, discussions and quizzes, you’ll explore the internals of mobile robots. You’ll find out about the individual components of robot anatomy (the mechanics, electronics and computer “brain”) and how they relate to one another and to the sensors - the parts that enable the machine to perceive its surroundings. Through our weekly video feature, “Meet the Robots at Reading,” you’ll find out more about our collection: from machines built by our students from scratch; to Baxter (the first of a new generation of smarter, more adaptive interactive industrial robots); to one or two special guests, who you may recognise from elsewhere.