Does the world need another waifish fashion model who can make a limited number of facial expressions and whose main skill in life is walking jerkily down a catwalk? If you are the Japanese robotics industry, the answer is yes.
Earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones -- disasters like these make the natural environment both unnavigable and dangerous for human search-and-rescue teams. That's when it's time for robots to come to our rescue.
Earthquakes are a recurring problem in Japan, an archipelago that rests on four tectonic plates. Japan also happens to be a hotbed of robotics research, so the two have come together in surprising ways.