Science & Technology

Bolivian entrepreneur creates robotics museum, dreams of bionic development center

By Gabriel Romano

Achocalla, Bolivia, Jan 17 (EFE).- Roly Mamani, a 34-year-old Bolivian entrepreneur, has built the “first” robotics museum in Bolivia and dreams of creating a “bionic development center.”

The museum, called “Robotics Creators Bolivia,” serves as a place where Mamani, who is the director, explains the evolution of the technology to children and teenagers.

Mamani’s home in Achocalla (where he also works in agriculture and tourism) functions as both his workplace and a showroom for his creations.

Sheltered in the two museum rooms are about a hundred robots, including “creations, collections, and avant-garde models,” Mamani told EFE.

The latest arrival was Senku, a canine robot made last year in China, specialized in rescue missions. Mamani bought it to “study” and “make progress” with other projects.

On display are competitive combat models and animatronics inspired by fictional characters such as Ironman, Chappie, Wall-E and the T-800 from the Terminator movies.

The creations that Mamani emphasizes the most are the robotic-powered prostheses for people.

Mamani has designed wide range of tours to share his “passion” for robotics with visitors, tailoring the experience according to their age and interests.

With children, “I have to be like a clown to stimulate their curiosity (…) with teenagers, it is more challenging” as they separate into those who think they “know everything” and those who are “thirsty to learn,” he said.

Among his exhibits, he showcases “Pleo,” a dinosaur that responds with artificial intelligence to its name and touch.

There is also “Rex,” an aggressive carnivore that shows its predatory instincts, or “Mecanoid,” who can interact with humans through conversations and simple actions.

A group of people, including interns and volunteers, work alongside Mamani. Juan Carlos, his brother, is in charge of medical evaluations, and Oriana Rojas focuses on programming and assembling the prostheses.

Bionic evolution

Over the years, Mamani has met patients seeking robotic prostheses, most of whom come from difficult backgrounds and have suffered amputations as a result of accidents in high-risk jobs or congenital conditions.

Many come from different parts of Bolivia, or from Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela.

“Our vision is to be a technology center focused on bionic development to help people with upper and lower limb prosthetics and exoskeletons or mobility issues,” Mamani said. EFE

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