My New Robot Companion at Bletchley Park

HARR1 in the Bletchley Park mansion library
HARR1 in the Bletchley Park mansion library

November 9th and 10th, 2013

As an additional event to the Intuition and Ingenuity exhibition taking place at Hut 12 in Bletchley Park, HARR1 (Humanoid Art Research Robot 1) was exhibited alongside research robots from the University of Hertfordshire in the Bletchley Park mansion library.

Visitors were invited to “meet” the robots and the researchers and learn about the various projects currently being undertaken at UoH.

They also encountered HARR1, the ongoing art project by UoH artists in residence Alex May and Anna Dumitriu, who are visiting research fellows with the computer science department.

During the Second World War, Bletchley Park was the site of the United Kingdom’s main decryption establishment, the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), where ciphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted, most importantly the ciphers generated by the German Enigma and Lorenz machines.

My New Robot Companion: HARR1 at Watermans

HARR1 - My Robot Companion

The latest incarnation of the “My New Robot Companion” project is now on show at Watermans in Kew, London until the 23rd of October.

Normally, robots do not move unless they are performing a task, HARR1 (Humanoid Art Research Robot 1) is designed to fidget and move almost continuously, more like humans do.

Also HARR1 exhibits boredom.  If you move around in front of HARR1, it will look at you, but if you stop moving, it will get bored and go back to aimlessly looking around the room.

“My New Robot Companion” is an ongoing collaboration between Alex May and Anna Dumitriu as part of their artistic residency with the computer science department of the University of Hertfordshire, that explores our relationship with robotics, specifically robots in the home.  It was funded by the University of Hertfordshire and Arts Council England.