In a new book called "Loving the Machine," author Timothy Hornyak presents a cultural history of robots in Japan, where the high-tech machines are much more likely to have a friendly face than in places like the U.S. The robots may even be downright cuddly.
Hornyak opens the handsomely illustrated book with a depiction of a brilliantly yellow household robot called Wakamaru, from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. In creating Wakamaru, designer Toshiyuki Kita imagined a growing child and aimed to deliver "an object that can approach its user." It uses a laser and cameras to track and recognize people, and uses an extensive vocabulary to greet them or provide information such as weather forecasts.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
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Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.