The Latest Model

Robots are stealing human jobs: in factories, in the military, and now on the catwalk

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.

HRP-4C, the world's first robot supermodel, recently made its debut on the catwalk at Tokyo Fashion Week.

Weighing in at 95 pounds and just topping 5 feet, the diminutive model has only 30 motors in its body to help it walk -- it literally stomped its way down the fashion runway in a noisy clatter of machine parts. Designed to look like an average Japanese woman in her 20s, HRP-4C has a comely woman-like head atop a Stormtrooper-like body of metal plates and black joints.

HRP-4C's creators at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology say it will be at least 20 years before the modelbot is walking as fluidly as its human counterparts. Eight more motors in its face help it talk and make its few facial expressions, which reports from its unveiling say all came across as "surprise."

If you would like your own HRP-4C, stripped of its face and other coverings, but including the programming technology that will allow you to make your dreams a reality, it will set you back around $200,000.