Mailman, move over for 'Motoman'

Japan develops robot that can sort packages.

We may not be advocates of Japan's future human-free society , but we do think there's at least some hope: A few of the country's robots are actually providing some useful functions like doing the dishes , not just handing out Kleenex or presiding over weddings (perhaps both, at some auto-nuptials).

Yaskawa Electric

The latest practically minded bot comes from Mitsui and Yaskawa Electric, which have partnered with the Hokusho packaging systems company to develop a mechanical worker that can sort parcels, clothing and other relatively small objects. The "Motoman-DIA10," according to Pink Tentacle, has "a pair of smooth-moving, seven-axis robotic arms mounted on a human-sized torso."

We're not sure which is more frightening--the part about the human torso or its name, which sounds like the closest thing yet to something that can truly replace us. Oh well, it was just a matter of time anyway.

About the author

    Mike Yamamoto is an executive editor for CNET News.com.

     

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