For now, mechanized household servants are pretty much limited to floor-cleaners -- though they do hold a special place in our hearts.
But what if a robot, after a long dinner party, could bus the table and head to the sink? Now there's a relationship we can build on. Japan's HRP-2 humanoid 'bot, pictured here, has learned to do just that.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo's Jouhou System Kougaku Laboratory have used human motion-capture and video game simulations to teach HRP-2 how to handle different types of dishware. They also had to develop waterproof robot gloves.
The researchers are also working with 3-D sensors to help the robots "see" their surroundings so they can move freely.
Along with washing dishes, the HRP-2 also cleans the floor, but with a regular, old-fashioned hose vacuum, as you can see in this adorable montage:
I hope it gets along with the laundry-folding robot.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.