Wu Yulu, a Chinese farmer, left school at 14, has no formal technical training, but fathers amazing “labour-saving robots” out of welded-together metal, duct tape, second-hand batteries or any scrap he finds at rubbish dumps.
Number Five is a one-metre-tall humanoid robot that walks, changes light bulbs, lights cigarettes and pours tea. Number Six is a monkey-like robot with magnetized feet which enable it to crawl up metallic walls.
The inventor has also made a miniature frog-shaped robot that hops, and a giant, walking eight-legged trestle table capable of carrying two passengers. He’s now working on Number Eight which would have a brain that could think, and arms and legs like a human.
Mr Wu hopes his creations may one day join the list of Chinese inventions that have changed history. So far, his talent wasn’t met with luck. Five years ago, one of his creatures short-circuited, burning the family house to the ground. In 2000, a battery exploded, leaving Mr Wu with serious burns on his hands and torso.