Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds bids to give 1950s robot Cygan a home

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Media captionCygan, a 1957 automaton, has a guide price of £8,000-£12,000

A fundraising campaign has started to give a giant 1950s robot a new home in Leeds.

Cygan, an 8ft (2.4m) humanoid aluminium robot, is being auctioned at Christie's in London on 5 September.

It was created by an Italian designer and inventor in 1957 to be a domestic helper and could crush cans with its fist and dance.

The Playful Leeds project hopes to raise £15,000 in just two weeks to buy Cygan and take it on a tour of city.

Those behind the bid hope Cygan can be a mascot during March of the Robots, its year-long celebration of all things robot-related, which starts in October.

'Hide behind sofa'

Playful Leeds has turned to crowdfunding, using the Spacehive site, which allows the cost of community projects to be met through online contributions.

Pledges towards the bid had reached more than £500 earlier.

Emma Bearman, from Playful Leeds, said: "People have long been fascinated by the thought that robots can make our lives easier, be that domestically in the home or through streamlining manufacturing.

"The recent launch of the world's first talking astronaut robot Kirobo... is testament to our continued interest.

"As robots and robotics will be such a key part of our future, we'd rather welcome them than run and hide behind the sofa."

The bid has been backed by the University of Leeds and the city council, which said it was a "great initiative that epitomises the enterprising spirit of Leeds".

If Playful Leeds is unsuccessful at the auction, any money pledged will be held in trust to build a robot for the city.

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