With his sad, drooping eyes and downcast posture, Heart Robot looks to be in need of a good cuddle.

That is, however, exactly what scientists from the University of the West of England in Bristol intended, as they created him to explore what happens when machines give emotional feedback to human beings.

Heart Robot — in reality, half robot and half puppet — is the star attraction of the Emotibots exhibition at London's Science Museum.

He has sensors that respond to movement, noise and touch and trigger startlingly human-like responses to being picked up.

When he is cuddled, he goes limp and floppy in simulated pleasure, his eyes close and his "breathing" and heartbeat slow down.

When he is shaken or shouted at, however, he flinches in apparent alarm. His hands clench, his eyes widen and his breathing and heart rate speed up.

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