In ROBOTS 3D, host and narrator RoboThespian, an android voiced by actor, comedian and filmmaker Simon Pegg ("Star Trek"; "Shaun of the Dead"), takes audiences on a lively tour of the world to meet a dozen of the most remarkable robots in Europe, Japan and the U.S. From Robonaut, the first space robot handyman, to robot butlers and home helper humanoids to eerily human-looking androids to search and rescue robots, the film showcases the latest cutting edge efforts-as well as the challenges-driving roboticists, engineers and scientists around the globe to new breakthroughs.
Directed by Mike Slee ("Flight of the Butterflies"; "Bugs!") and produced by Jini Dürr ("Mysteries of the Unseen World"; "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure"), ROBOTS 3D provides rare access to labs where researchers are putting the robots through their paces, striving to replicate human capabilities such as mobility, locomotion and dexterity, using sensory data and visual perception. Getting a machine to move or think like a human, or to sense, plan and act, is no easy feat. Given the complexities and capabilities of the human brain, hands, feet, and face alone-not to mention the number of muscles and joints--robot researchers certainly have their work cut out for them in developing humanoids that won't just achieve human potential, but could one day surpass it.
"This film will really open people's eyes and make them think about how amazing these machines are, how amazing human beings are, and how complicated it is to make a machine that can do what we do," said director Mike Slee.
"ROBOTS 3D not only gives remarkable insight into what is currently going on in robotics labs around the world and the extraordinary leaps that have been made in the field, but also highlights the complexities of human ability," said producer Jini Dürr.
The 40-minute large format film also explores the latest in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, humanoid cognition and human-robot interaction (HRI), as well as exciting developments in cloud robotics.
ROBOTS 3D also travels to the DARPA Robotics Challenge, the intense two-day competition to test how robots might deal with disasters, staged by the U.S. Government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as a response to Japan's 2011 Fukushima earthquake. The competition tested rival all-purpose rescue robots' abilities to perform tasks including driving, walking on rough terrain, clearing debris, opening doors, using a power tool, and turning a safety valve, all during catastrophic conditions.
An original production from Day's End Pictures for National Geographic Studios, ROBOTS 3D was produced in partnership with Lockheed Martin. Symantec is an educational outreach partner, while both the National 4-H Council, and the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) are promotional partners for the film. Executive producers are Brooke Runnette and Lisa Truitt. Sean Macleod Phillips is director of photography.
"ROBOTS 3D will captivate on every level," said Brooke Runnette, president of National Geographic Studios. "Dazzling visuals and a tremendously entertaining story filled with real scientific adventure and technological innovation are all wrapped up in the eye-popping giant screen package."
MEET THE HUMANOIDS (in order of appearance):