In Scotland, we’re thinking of the innovative ways in which emergent robotics technology can be used to benefit society.

Read on to learn about Scotland’s involvement in tech, our collaboration with global leaders in robotics and how robots can be a human’s best friend! 

Meet M.A.R.T.I.N.A. the robot ‘dog’ 

An essential facility for robotics development in Scotland is the National Robotarium, a world-leading centre for robotics and AI (artificial intelligence).  

A unique partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, the National Robotarium is a fantastic facility that brings together a team of engineers to address global challenges across a range of industries such as agriculture, construction, energy, health and social care. 

Experts at the National Robotarium are using a clever robot ‘dog’ called M.A.R.T.I.N.A, developed by American robotics design company Boston Dynamics, to research how robots can better support humans in hazardous environments. 

M.A.R.T.I.N.A. is part of Boston Dynamics’ exciting ‘Spot’ range of robots. The robot was named by pupils from a primary school near Edinburgh and stands for Mechanical, Artificial, Remote, Technological, Intelligent, Ninja, with the final A representing its robotic arm.  

The National Robotarium has engaged with thousands of young people through events, workshops, and virtual lessons to help inspire the next generation about the many positive benefits of robotics and AI.  

By seeing robots like M.A.R.T.I.N.A. in real life, the facility hopes to encourage young people to consider a career in robotics, computer science and engineering.  

Feeling inspired? Watch our video below to see M.A.R.T.I.N.A. in action! 

Can robots be a human’s best friend?  

CEO of the National Robotarium, Stewart Miller, says: “There is still some hesitancy to embrace robotics on a grander scale.” However, he highlights that robots can also have many benefits for society and are not something to be feared.

Miller says: “The National Robotarium can demonstrate many great examples of robotics technologies that can positively impact people’s lives, work and health.” 

The National Robotarium is using the ‘Spot’ robot to research how robots can support humans in hazardous environments like offshore energy inspection and disaster recovery.  M.A.R.T.I.N.A. the robot can climb over rubble, walk down stairs and cope with hazards.

Researchers at the National Robotarium are exploring ways that companies can embrace these robotic solutions to help us improve efficiency, keep us safe and cut costs.  

Ben Glasgow | The National Robotarium

The ‘Spot’ robot was even used during the construction of the National Robotarium. It carried out efficient 3D mapping of the construction site and completed the job, which usually takes several days, in just 30 minutes! 

The robot has the potential to help construction companies speed up their processes, detect hazards and improve quality control in the industry. 

Collaborating with Boston Dynamics  

The collaboration between the National Robotarium and Boston Dynamics has been key to successful innovation. 

Stewart Miller says: “The relationship between the National Robotarium and Boston Dynamics stems back to before the facility opened, starting with the purchase of the Spot robot dogs as a testbed for data scanning and mapping, and quadruped research.” 

“Since then, the collaboration has flourished, with an ongoing dialogue on new Spot applications and customisations, and advancements in the use of quadrupeds for inspiring the next generation of roboticists,” Miller adds. 

A culture of innovation  

Scotland has a rich history of innovation and invention. Today, our universities are working on ground-breaking research in AI and robotics and collaborating with world-leading companies to further technological innovation.

We’re also focusing on showcasing how robots can be a human’s best friend by inspiring the next generation. Our determination to advance research and innovation in robotics and AI is just one of the amazing leaps Scotland is making in tech for the future. 

Find out more about innovation in Scotland.

Discover how Scotland is building a future-proof workforce.

*The National Robotarium, part of the Data-Driven Innovation initiative, is supported by £21 million from the UK Government and £1.4 million from the Scottish Government. The Edinburgh and South East City Region Deal is supported with £300 million funding from the UK Government and £300 million funding from the Scottish Government.

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