It might look like a huge wooden frame but this towering structure represents our possible future relationship with robots.
The near-15ft tall installation – which almost touches the ceiling of its exhibition hall at the V&A – was built as a team effort between man and machine.
The specially-commissioned structure is the show-stopping piece of the museum’s latest exhibition Hello, Robot: Design Between Human and Machine, which opened to the public today.
The robot display has toured Europe but this addition was specially created for its Dundee showing – the only UK venue the exhibition will visit.
Kirsty Hassard, V&A Dundee’s curator, said robots helped hold the rivets at angles and in positions which humans could not, while workers fixed them in place.
She said: “The structure reflects the possible relationship we could have with robots in the future – working together to get things done.
“It’s called Up Sticks and is inspired by flat-packed houses and reflects that these structures can go up and down anywhere.”
Up Sticks was built in Switzerland by masters students at Gramazio Kohler Research after they visited Dundee and other areas of Scotland in January for inspiration.
The students worked together with the museum’s curators to create the design, based on robust flat-packed houses they saw in the Highlands.
Kirsty added: “It’s a research project, not an art piece. You can walk around it, inside it and through it, and touch it.
“It’s what it represents that’s important. Robots will not replace us but this shows the benefits of collaboration.”
That same message carries throughout the exhibition, which features many research projects challenging how far we would be willing to let robots take over human tasks in our lives.
One such robot can feed bottles of milk to babies, another provides company to people with Alzheimer’s or dementia in the form of a pet seal.
Kirsty said: “These objects are designed to make people question how we feel about robots taking over intimate actions or roles of care.
“It’s not a picture of what the future will look like but asking questions about what we would like robots to do for us.
“The robotic seal is already being used in the UK as a therapy pet – but how do we feel about robots taking care of us?”
The exhibition also showcases an exoskeleton suit, which aids people paralysed in all four limbs to walk.
It was originally included in the exhibition as a research project but has recently been successfully introduced into the medical world.
Other stand-out pieces include an R2-D2 model used in the original 1977 Star Wars film, a 1927 poster for Fritz Lang’s classic film Metropolis and androids used in the music video for Bjork’s song All is Full of Love.
Kirsty added: “Robots are in every aspect of our lives – care, architecture, fashion, furniture and children’s lives. They are in places we’ve not even thought about.
“The exhibition guides us through the philosophy and ethics of robots and how you feel about them.
“It’s about going forward and looking at our relationship with robots in the future, rather than looking into the past.”
Hello, Robot: Design Between Human and Machine runs at the V&A until February 9 2020.