Humanoid robots invade the London Science Museum

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'Area V5' social robots are seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'RoboThespian' is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: A man takes a selfie with 'RoboThespian' at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Honda Asimo robot is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'Nexi' robot is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'Harry, the trumpet player robot' is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'Animatronic baby' is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Telenoid communications android is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, is revealed in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: A woman takes a selfie with 'RoboThespian' at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: REEM service robot is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'iCub' is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'RoboThespian' is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Kodomoroid commutations android is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Kodomoroid commutations android is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: 'Inkha' a reactive robotic head is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Robotic hands are seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Honda: P2 prototype (L) and Bipedal Walker (R) are seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Rob's Open Source Android (ROSA) is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Original T-800 Endoskeleton robot used in filming 'Terminator Salvation' is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Collection of toy robots are seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, is revealed in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07: Replica of 'Maria' robot is seen at Robots, a major new exhibition at Science Museum in London, England on February 7, 2017. Exhibition showcases 500-year history of robots, with over 100 robots and the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: The 'Silver Swan' a clockwork automaton built in the U.K in around 1773, is displayed during the press preview for the 'Robots' exhibition at the Science Museum on February 7, 2017 in London, England. The exhibition showcases robot history going back 500 years with over 100 robots including the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: An animatronic baby is displayed during the press preview for the 'Robots' exhibition at the Science Museum on February 7, 2017 in London, England. The exhibition showcases robot history going back 500 years with over 100 robots including the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: An animatronic baby is displayed during the press preview for the 'Robots' exhibition at the Science Museum on February 7, 2017 in London, England. The exhibition showcases robot history going back 500 years with over 100 robots including the largest collection of humanoid robots ever displayed. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
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LONDON (Reuters) - A singing robot and a 244-year-old working model of a silver swan will greet visitors to a new exhibition at London's Science Museum spanning 500 years of humanity's quest to build intelligent machines.

The "Robots" exhibition which opens this month will feature over 100 models in what the museum calls the most significant collection of humanoid robots ever displayed.

Among the star attractions is UK-built RoboThespian, a full-size humanoid robot who will move around the exhibition, do vocal exercises and give a theatrical performance to visitors every 20 minutes.

The Silver Swan automaton was designed and built in the 18th century by John Joseph Merlin, the inventor of roller skates. It featured at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 where it was seen by American author Mark Twain, who later described it in his novel "The Innocents Abroad."

Other notable pieces on display include the original skeleton of the T-800 robot used in the filming of "Terminator Salvation," Honda's ASIMO humanoid robot and Inkha - a reactive robotic head that offers cheeky fashion advice to viewers.

Visitors to the section of the exhibition featuring modern robots will be reminded of the dystopian film "I, Robot" in which robots and artificial intelligence threaten humanity's survival.

"I must say that we're very, very far from anything like that," said Professor Giorgio Metta, vice scientific director at the Italian Institute of Technology, and builder of the iCub toddler robot, also on display at the exhibition.

"The applications we manage to develop now are very narrow, so artificial intelligence can solve very specific problems. There's no way they can learn anything else, or autonomously switch from one task to another."

"Robots" runs from Feb. 8 to Sept. 3. The swan will only feature for six weeks, this month and next.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; editing by Stephen Addison)

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