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In the movies, entrusting human life to robot helpers and sophisticated machines inevitably ends in fire, destruction and death.

But in reality, the automatons are actually saving lives. Take the devices here: the hulking robot arms that rehabilitate stroke victims, the laser beam that calms Parkinson’s tremors, and the android that can fix you toast when you’re sick. Even the scary-looking, mind-reading skullcap will one day let paralyzed people turn on the lights just by thinking about it. No fire, no destruction, no death—just eye-popping technology and better medical care.

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Twendy-One, the Nursebot

At 245 pounds, Japan’s Twendy-One is sturdy enough to lift its elderly patients clear off the ground, and force sensors in its fingertips and humanlike joints mean it can do it without crushing them

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CAVEman 3-D Virtual Patient

A Holodeck for the human body

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Psychiatry Via a Laser Beam To the Brain

Treating the tremors of Parkinson’s disease with laser light

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Turbo-Powered Physical Therapy

An exoskeleton helps speed recovery time after a stroke

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Cut-by-Color Surgery

Dyes pinpoint cancer, making it easier to remove

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Control a Robot Assistant with Your Mind

Mind control technology reads thoughts, prompts a robot’s actions

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