Meet Bob the Birmingham Library Robot

Bob doesn’t like it when people push his buttons

He looks like a prop out of Pixar’s latest blockbuster.  

For those of you wondering – yes, that blue, metal-clad contraption patrolling the library really is a robot.

Bob, as he is now known, is an autonomous robot made by scientists at the University of Birmingham.

He is also the first of his kind to land himself a job as a security guard, under the employment of security firm G4S.

He featured in a BBC News video earlier this year, and now Brum’s very own iRobot is completing a 15 day shift in the library.

Speaking to The Tab several students spoke of their surprise at seeing Bob gliding his way around the library.

Second year English student Jess said: “My friends and I came into the library last week and just saw this weird looking machine moving around the first floor.

“It looked pretty interesting but we didn’t really have clue what was going on- itt was pretty bizarre.”


Vicky, a third year Economist added that the robot seemed to have taken quite a liking to her.

“He kept following me around all day, it was starting to freak me out.

“And then, to top it all off, he sat and watched me eat my lunch in the ilounge.

“Either it was some kind of practical joke or that robot is getting distracted on the job.”

Bob on the job

Bob on the job

Bob was first put to work patrolling the offices of G4S in Tewkesbury, but now he’s landed himself the role of library disciplinarian.

His job is to ensure that desks and tables are kept clean and tidy, and he doesn’t take kindly to messy students.

He might not have the same capabilities as a cyborg Schwarzenegger, but he’s definitely got a stare that will unsettle even the hardiest of perpetrators.

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Bob’s getting really tired of you guys leaving rubbish on library desks

He didn’t come cheap either, so it’s probably best not to press Bob’s buttons.

Bob is a joint project between the University of Birmingham and five other technological institutions around Europe, including the Vienna University of Technology, and has been funded with a £7.2 million grant.

He moves in much the same way as a Dalek would, and suffers from the same shortfall of not being able to climb stairs.

But Brum’s top scientific brains are hoping their creation is a stepping stone in both robotics and revolutionising the modern office.

I see you Bob

I see you Bob

Dr Nick Hawes, a Computer Scientist at the University, said: “We wanted to build an autonomous intelligent robot that can be put into a real world scenario like a place of work.

“Current robots aren’t very good with their hands, or able to manipulate objects, however Bob is good at driving around and monitoring objects, so is perfect for a job in security as a night or day watchman where he can monitor what is going on in his immediate surroundings.

“We want to see Bob survive on his own for up to 15 days, doing jobs that are useful for security, for example, checking whether fire doors are obstructed, whether there is paper on desks.”