Robot Revolution Exhibit Review

Robots Everywhere

14610888_1191069294347789_6366885750343605331_nI had the opportunity recently to visit the Robot Revolution exhibition at the Franklin Institute here in Philadelphia.

For those who are not from Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute (named after Benjamin Franklin) is the premier science museum in the city. This blog post will describe my experience and review the exhibition.

First, let’s agree that robots are a staple of science fiction.

From Isaac Asimov‘s Robot series to Phillip K. Dick‘s androids, to Star Wars‘ many droids, or Doctor Who‘s K-9, robots have always featured prominently in science fiction.

Humanity keeps searching for artificial intelligence to use as labor. The idea is to make life easier and for them to perform in dangerous situations.

Of course, there is that whole debate about robots taking our jobs. But I won’t go into that today.

Where this exhibit succeeds is in expanding our definitions of what is a robot. Not to mention, showing us how robots are everywhere. And how they can be helpful and amusing.

It also succeeds in demonstrating robots are not our future, but our present.

What I Learned

I enjoyed my short time at the exhibit. There seemed to be something for everyone. From cute little robots that can do push-ups and breakdance, to even a soccer match among robots.

There was a robot that can play tic tac toe with you; another one who can deal cards and play 21 with you; and one robot that could solve a Rubik’s cube. There were also several interactive exhibits.


As stated above, there were several examples of robots that don’t quite look like robots.

Perhaps due to Hollywood’s influence, when we think of robots, we think of artificial creatures who resemble us. We correlate robots with humanoids. To see up close intelligent machines that were not humanoid looking or bipedal (although there were plenty of those) was mind-boggling and interesting.

There were, in addition, an exoskeleton to help people walk; a robotic teddy resembling a seal to comfort children in hospitals; an exhibit about Google‘s self-driving cars (Google being the main sponsor of the exhibition) and even a machine that could go over steps.

Not quite C3PO or R2D2 in there.

My Review

14572914_1191067674347951_1233345659517187363_nAs I mentioned above, I had a great time, but I also found the exhibition lacking. It felt too short. Perhaps I was expecting to see more robots.

What they have in display is astonishing, eye-opening and amazing. My personal favorite was this robotic face that can display human emotions at the touch of a button. But, at the same time, I found it the most disturbing exhibit.

In another topic, I wished the merchandise store had better merchandise. The drones they have for sale looked great but pricey. Nevertheless, a part of me felt they could have done so much more.

However you feel about robots, I recommend a visit to this exhibition. You would learn something and perhaps leave with a smile or two and a sense of wonder.

The rest of the museum is awesome and deserves to spend an afternoon. If you are in the Philadelphia area or plan on visiting, the exhibit runs until April 2nd, 2017.

If you are a writer or a fan of speculative fiction, it’s hard not to feel inspired after visiting. I will rate it a solid 7.5/10.

Have you seen this or another robot exhibition? How was your experience?

2 Responses

  1. Roy Wells says:

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have an android body? What about mind uploading? I do not believe that mind uploading will offer immortality or life extension because it will not actually be you. While it is a way to live on, you would just be able to see a new version of yourself from your old body. Even as an android, I imagine you may have difficulties. For instance, food and alcohol would not be the same. I have written a fictional story about a person who has uploaded his mind into a perfect android body. You would think he would be living in a dream. But he will find that his past will come back to haunt him. My story is called A New Self by Roy Wells. You can borrow the book for free if you have a Kindle and Amazon Prime. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Albizu73 says:

      Thanks for the recommendation. I will check your story. I can’t imagine what it would be to have an android body, but we are slowly moving towards becoming part machines.

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February 2023