NEC has unveiled a robot that can access the Internet, relay messages, walk, talk and even dance. Designed for the home, the robot performs a range of electronic tasks such as retrieving e-mail from the Internet and relaying it when someone comes home. PaPeRo--short for Partner-type Personal Robot--comes with a video screen which can provide a stream of visual data, enabling it to send video messages.
It can also recognize the person for whom the message is intended. The robot can detect voices via four microphones and can respond to a range of instructions such as, "Get my e-mail". It can access the Internet and relay e-mail messages through its ability to recognize more than 650 phrases. Still in development in Japan, NEC expects PaPeRo to be released by the end of the year. Ten robots will be available initially.
Staff writer Megan McAuliffe reported from Australia.