iCub Robot

James Law, a computer scientist from the University of Aberystwyth, Wales, has taken a break from the norm and instead of nominating a human being to carry the London 2012 Olympic torch has chosen a robot.

The robot, the iCub robot has been nominated by Dr James Law as a way of marking the centenary year of the birth of Alan Turing - the father of modern computer science, the University of Aberystwyth confirmed.

"2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth on Alan Turing, the founder of computer science and a figurehead for the code breaking efforts of WWII. A robot torch bearer would be a fitting tribute to Alan Turing, and an inspiration to future generations of scientists and engineers," Dr Law said.

"Alan Turing is widely known for his role in developing computing methods for code breaking in WWII, but this is only a small part of his truly inspiring work. He created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer and laid the foundations for the field of Artificial Intelligence. These achievements led to the computerised era we live in today, and prepared the way for the robotics research being carried out here at Aberystwyth University", he added.

The iCub robot is smaller in size to a three and a half year old child and has tendon driven joints. The robot is able to play archery, make facial expressions and grasp small objects reports New Scientist.

The iCub has been nominated through a scheme sponsored by Lloyds TSB which has over 800 torrch bearer slots available. However, the robot does not meet requirements as it does not reside in the UK nor is it technically alive. The requirements state that the bearer must be over 12 years old and must live in the UK.