Cobot Maker Space launched to explore the future of robots and industry

Thursday, 09 September 2021

A new facility for human-robot interaction research designed to support industry in exploring the use of this technology has been launched at the University of Nottingham.

The new Cobot Maker Space is on Innovation Park on Jubilee campus and is designed to provide a dedicated facility for research and industry collaboration into new innovations in robots and artificial intelligence (AI), and to explore ways to enhance human-robot interaction in a range of real life scenarios - from business and manufacturing to home life with social and rehabilitation robots.

The new facility will enable researchers to create human – robot scenarios with conditions that resemble real production environments. It will also enable research into how people interact with robots and how new human sensing technologies can be used. There is also a public facing space within the Cobot Maker Space to deploy digitally enhanced products and to display new human-robot interaction as publicly accessible demonstrators.

We have a wealth of expertise in human-robot interaction at the university that we already use to help solve problems, improve processes and enhance human experiences across a range of industries – from robots to detect allergens on the factory floor to interactive storytelling and performance. The launch of the Cobot Maker Space will allow this expertise to be bought together and give access to industry partners for a range of exciting collaborative projects.
Professor of Computer Science and academic lead for the Cobot Maker Space, Steve Benford
Robin the service robot

Some of the robots available include Robin, a humanoid style robot with poseable head and arms, with on-board audio and video that can be used for speech and face recognition and Spot, a Boston Dynamics dog-like mobile robot, suitable for use on a variety of indoor and outdoor terrains.

Spot the robot dog

The Cobot Maker Space was officially opened by Dame Jessica Corner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research & Knowledge Exchange, she said: “Research into robot technology and Artificial Intelligence is moving at pace and this new dedicated space will allow the university to continue to lead the way with new innovations and knowledge that can be shared and applied to real-life scenarios.”

The Cobot Maker Space has been developed with a combination of Smart Products Beacon and EPSRC funding and will be integral to delivering the research programmes of its partners – the Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute and the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) Hub.

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More information is available from Professor Steve Benford at the University of Nottingham on

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
Phone: 0115 7486462

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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