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Robots get busy at work and fun (photos)

At the RoboBusiness conference in Boston, engineers show off a sample of commercial and still-under-development robots for music, the military, health care, and even the inspection of bridges.

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Martin LaMonica
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1 of 4 Martin LaMonica/CNET

At the RoboBusiness conference in Boston, engineers are showing off a sample of commercial and still-under-development robots for music, the military, health care, and even the inspection of bridges.

Here is the A.M.P., or Automated Music Personality, from Ologic which is expected to go on sale in 2013 for about $400. It's a self-balancing entertainment robot which can play music and move around based on commands from a smartphone. The company is designing it to be an open-source-style product, said company co-founder Bob Allen. By removing two screws, the top of the robot comes off and can be fitted with a cell phone or tablet computer. Developers will be able to write apps to send instructions to the movement platform, Allen said.

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2 of 4 Martin LaMonica/CNET

Down and dirty

A close look at iRobot's SUGV (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) which is used by the military to get "situational awareness." In a talk at the RoboBusiness conference, iRobot CEO said that robots should be developed for practical, important purposes rather than futuristic humanoid models. Thousands of robots like this are deployed in Iraq to dispose of roadside bombs or for surveillance.

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3 of 4 Martin LaMonica/CNET

Wall climber

At the RoboBusiness conference, SRI International showed off a prototype of this remote- controlled robot that can climb walls. The adhesion works electrostatically by creating a positive charge on one end and a negative charge on the other. The research and development company envisions that the wall-climbing robots could be used by first responders or to inspect buildings and bridges.

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4 of 4 Martin LaMonica/CNET

Dino bot

Here's what a toy robotic dinosaur looks like under its skin. Manufacturer Jetta showed off this toy robot to demonstrate the precision required for manufacturing involved in toy robots.

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