Ironically, humanoid robots may have to put aside their arms and legs if they're to gain a foothold in our daily lives. All those servos required to power multiple limbs can get expensive, they quickly drain the robot's batteries, and cause all sorts of problems if even one of them breaks. Eschewing this complexity leaves you with just a head and torso, a compromise adopted by several prospective household robots. Among those is a new communication robot by Waseda University's Ory Lab, launching later this year.
Demonstrated during this month's International Robot Exhibition (IREX) in Tokyo, Jukusui-Kun is a polar bear-shaped robotic pillow that, like Paro the seal-bot, masks a serious purpose beneath its cute and cuddly exterior. Jukusui-Kun is designed to help snorers and those who live with them - whenever snoring becomes too loud (and sleep apnea becomes a danger), the robot raises its paw and gently touches the sleeper's face to trigger a change of sleeping position.