Pepper, the world’s first social humanoid robot, will be at this Irish university to greet families this weekend

Pepper, the world’s first social humanoid robot, will be at this Irish university to greet families this weekend


Up to 20,000 people are expected to descend onto UCD’s Belfield campus this weekend for the annual UCD festival.

Pepper, the world’s first social humanoid robot able to recognize faces and basic human emotions, will be at the O’Brien Centre for Science to meet and greet families.

Meanwhile, the Explorium Bed of Nails will be another big draw for children, according to the UCD festival organiser Sheila Morris.

“It’s to show how reducing the pressure exerted by the body on a large area can allow you to lie on a bed of nails; kids can come in and lie on the plinth.”

“With the press of a button, all the nails come up, and you find yourself lying on a bed of nails. It’s great for kids to test their limits and see how brave they can be.”

She added: “Pepper is going to be hanging out with everyone. She is a social humanoid robot… She’s able to recognise faces and human emotions. She’s four feet high, she bounces and talks and she recognises people. She’s going to be out and about on the day.”

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown library has donated free children’s books which will be handed out at the festival, while storyteller Fiona Dowling will regal children with tales in the James Joyce library.

Taiko drumming, an ancient Japanese percussion performance, will take place at the student centre quad.

“It’s an incredible display and we have UCD students and very young taiko drummers joining us for a great display,” says Ms Morris.”It’s a real sight for the eyes and quite a physical performance.”

There will also be CPR demonstrations from paramedics, mini drills by Leinster rugby, GAA drills and tennis coaching.

For history lovers, Roman soldiers in full dress with swords and shields will reenact battles and demonstrate how the roman army were the greatest army of the ancient world.

While the university’s school of engineering will have giant jenga and also showcase 3D printing and virtual reality. In all, there’ll be 58 activities in science, including water rockets.

And for toddlers, there’ll be lego, make and do, and treasure hunts. For more, see

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