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National Geographic looks at humanoid machines in movie
“ROBOTS” gives viewers a first-hand look at the machines. Robonaut works for NASA as the first space robot handyman.

This summer, moviegoers at Fernbank Museum of Natural History will get to know a new generation of machines in the new giant-screen film presented by National Geographic, “ROBOTS.”

Showing from July 17 through Oct. 29 in the IMAX theater at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta, “ROBOTS” gives audiences an inside look at humanoid robots and explores just how hard it is to mimic what humans do as well as what it means to be humanoid.

The film’s host and narrator RoboThespian, an android voiced by actor, comedian and filmmaker Simon Pegg  (“Star Trek”; “Shaun of the Dead”), takes viewers on a lively tour of the world to meet a dozen of the most remarkable robots in Europe, Japan and the United States. 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 movie showcases the latest cutting edge efforts as well as the challenges driving roboticists, engineers and scientists around the globe to new breakthroughs.

“ROBOTS” provides rare access to labs where researchers put 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,” director Mike Slee said.

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, as well as exciting developments in cloud robotics.

“ROBOTS 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.”

Tickets to the IMAX theater at Fernbank are $13 for adults, $12 for seniors, $11 for children ages 12 and younger and $8 for museum members.

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