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Last Updated: Thursday July 31 2008 04:51 GMT

New robot puppet 'has a heart'

Heart Robot with his designer David McGoran

A robot puppet has been invented that seems to react emotionally to the way it's treated.

The Heart Robot has a beating heart, breathing belly and other sensors that respond to movement, noise and touch.

If he's cuddled his breathing slows and he seems to relax, but if you shout at him, he gets upset, clenching his hands and sending his heart rate soaring.

His designer, David McGoran, says Heart is an example of how robots are taking on increasingly human characteristics.

Check out the touchy feely robot

He also thinks Heart, whose eyes flutter in response to touch, could be among the first robots in a new age of "emotional machines" used for medical treatments and enjoyment.

"Right now we're seeing the first implementations in toys," he said.

"There are little robotic dinosaurs. There's a new robotic toy from the film Wall-E that's coming out, and that's a very expressive robot."

Heart is on display at the London Science Museum until 31 July.