A robot puppet which appears to react emotionally and a metallic spidery creation that tracks people's faces have been bringing out the best - and worst - in children at London's Science Museum.
Heart Robot has a beating heart, a breathing belly, and sensors that respond to movement, noise and touch.
Cuddle him, and he seems to soak up the affection. His limbs become limp, his eyelids lower, his breathing relaxes, and his heart beat slows down.
But give him a violent shake, or shout in his face, and he gets upset. He flinches, his hands clench, his breathing and heart rate speed up, and his eyes widen.
Heart Robot, created by scientists at the University of the West of England in Bristol, was designed to explore what happens when machines interact emotionally with humans.
But he also revealed something about the psychological differences between pre-teen children.
Cuddle me: Designer David McGoran and his creation Heart Robot which has a breathing belly and beating heart
Holly Cave, who helped organise the interactive 'Emotibots' event at the Science Museum in which Heart Robot plays a starring role, said: 'Heart Robot looks like a cross between ET and Gollum and is about the size of a small child.
'He's half robot, half puppet. You move him around by hand, but he has innate responses that appear emotional.
'Different children react to him very differently. They either want to hug and cuddle him, and look after him like a doll or baby, or they just want to scare him.'
Human touch: Holly Cave cuddles Heart Robot, which is designed to react emotionally to humans
Also taking part in the Emotibots event this week is Hexapod, a six-legged metallic spidery robot that tracks people's faces and latches onto visitors who walk around it.
If a person holds Hexapod's gaze long enough what it sees is downloaded and projected onto a plasma screen.
Children are invited to interact with the Hexapod robot, which also takes pictures of visitors' faces to be uploaded onto its website.
Designer Matthew Denton with his Hexapod robot which has been designed to react emotionally to humans. It forms part of the Science Museum's Emotibots exhibition
Museum bosses hope the Emotibot exhibit, coinciding with the release of the Disney film Wall-E, will show children that robots aren't all fictional, and increase their interest in science.
'A huge number of children will be seeing Wall-E, and it seemed interest in robots was higher than ever,' said Holly.
'Everyone's falling for the 'lonely' robot WALL-E, but the idea of robots having emotions or a personality may no longer just be science fiction.
'How humans and robots might interact in the future is something that raises lots of interesting ethical and moral questions.
'We wanted to do something where children can get up close and interact with the robots.
'For most of them it will probably be the first time they've seen a robot up close. We hope the exhibit will make them think about robots, and whether or not they can really form an emotional attachment to them.'
The robot, invented by animatronics expert Matt Denton, has six legs and a single camera for an eye.
It has had a starring role in several films - prototypes for it were used in two Harry Potter films, for Hagrid's pets. Currently Mr Denton is trying to secure funding for a larger, 2m-wide version.
The robot is on display until Friday in the Antenna gallery.
I'll synch this up to an older post I did about fembots in the media, here.