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Rise of the robots

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    A humanoid robot named Kansei, meaning "sensibility" in Japanese, makes a facial expression depicting "happiness," next to the word "Love" during a demonstration at a laboratory of Meiji University's Robot and Science Institute in Kawasaki in Tokyo. The robot, developed by professor Junichi Takeno and a team of researchers, is able to make up to 36 kinds of facial expressions after typing a word into its software that extracts word associations from a database of 500,000 words and calculates the level ranging between pleasantness to unpleasantness and prompts the robot to make facial expressions accordingly.

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    A humanoid robot created by the British company RoboThespian "blushes" during the opening ceremony of a technology fair in Hanover, Germany, in 2014.

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    Chinese inventor Tao Xiangli controls his homemade humanoid robot with a remote controller at his house in Beijing in this August 2013 photo. The self-taught inventor built the robot, named "The King of Innovation," out of scrap metal and wires that he bought from a secondhand market. Tao completed his creation in less than a year, with costs of production and living expenses amounting to $49,037. However, the robot, which is 6.9 feet tall and weighs 1,058 pounds, turned out to be too tall and heavy to walk out of the front door of his house. It can perform simple movements with its hands and legs and also mimic human voices.

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    Ping pong-playing robot "Topio" is competes during the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo in 2009. The robot is designed to play table tennis against a human being.

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    Roppie the robot plays a game of tic-tac-toe with a member of the public at the Taipei International Robot Show in this 2010 photo. The robot has a human-like voice, dialogue functions, stereovision and an arm module. It is designed to provide security, companionship and health care for the elderly.

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    An engineer makes an adjustment to the robot "The Incredible Bionic Man" at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., Oct. 17, 2013. The robot is the world's first-ever functioning bionic man made of prosthetic parts and artificial organ implants.

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    ECCE, created by the Robot Studio, performs at the world's largest industrial technology fair in Hanover, Germany, April 13, 2015. The company's website say ECCE is a "compliant" robot, meaning that its mechanical design is based on the same principles as the human body: stiff bones moved by elastic muscles and tendons. The company says it ultimately aims to “democratize” robots by greatly simplifying the process of building and controlling them.

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    Bipedal humanoid robot "Atlas," primarily developed by the American robotics company Boston Dynamics, is presented to the news media at the University of Hong Kong Oct. 17, 2013. The 6-foot-tall, 330-pound robot made of aluminum and titanium is capable of natural movements, including walking, calisthenics and user-programmed behaviors. It was being marketed for $1.93 million at the time.

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    A "Nao" humanoid robot by Aldebaran Robotics sits in a corner while its batteries are being charged during a presentation at a branch of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi on April 13, 2015. Upon request by a customer, the robot offers basic information about banking services in Japanese, English and Chinese.

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    Humanoid communication robot Kirobo appears on stage in Tokyo during a return debriefing session from the International Space Station on March 27, 2015. Kirobo has been awarded two Guinness World Records for "the first companion robot in space" and "the highest altitude for a robot to have a conversation."

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    The "hitchBOT" is seen posed next to Highway 17 north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and a portion of the Trans-Canada Highway on Aug. 5, 2014. At the time the photo was taken, the hitchhiking robot was at the halfway point in its journey across Canada. The tweeting, trivia-loving, wellington wearing, hitchhiking robot is about as tall as a 6-year-old child and weighs no more than 15 pounds. It is wholly dependent on the good will of people as it cannot move or get around on its own. Its co-creators, Dr. David Harris Smith (McMaster University) and Dr. Frauke Zeller (Ryerson University) originally developed the project "to see whether robots can trust humans." In February 2015, hitchBOT began a journey through Germany.

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    Honda's Asimo humanoid robot walks up stairs during a presentation near Brussels, Belgium, in July 2014. Honda says the improved Asimo has more intelligence and hand dexterity, and is able to run at a speed of 5.6 mph.

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    Robots deliver food orders to customers at the Robot Restaurant in Harbin, China, in January 2013. The restaurant uses 20 robots, which range in height from 4.27 to 5.25 feet, to cook meals and deliver dishes. The robots can work continuously for five hours after a two-hour charge, and are able to display over 10 expressions on their faces and say basic welcoming sentences to customers, local media reported.

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    The HRP-4C Miim humanoid robot is on exhibit at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Tokyo in this 2012 photo.

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    A dental patient robot is unveiled at Showa University in Tokyo in 2010. The humanoid female was developed to give practical experience for dental students and for examination purposes. The robot displays autonomous physical action such as eye and tongue movement and can be controlled by either built-in software or an instructor using an external touch panel.

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    A visitor waves in front of a sensor that triggers the joints of a dummy that is part of "PWM1," an art creation by Taiwan artist Huang Zan-lun, during the Art Taipei 2010 exhibition.

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    Toyota Motor Corp.'s "partner robots" play instruments at the company's showroom in Tokyo May 4, 2008.

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    Japanese toymaker Tomy Company introduced the "Omnibot17u i-SOBOT" in 2007. It is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's smallest humanoid robot in production. The 6.496 -inch-tall robot, powered rechargeable batteries, has 17 moving joints. The robot's gyro-sensor allows it to maintain its balance as it goes smoothly through its 200-or-so programmed motions.

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    A hundred humanoid communication robots called Robi perform a synchronized dance during a promotional event in Tokyo on Jan. 20, 2015. The 13.4-inch tall robot, designed by Tomotaka Takahashi, chief executive officer of Robo Garage Co. and associate professor of the Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, is able to speak, walk and dance. The weekly magazine Robi comes with parts of the robot, which allows buyers to have a fully assembled Robi after 70 issues.

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