Invasion of the Robot Babies

Every week I grab New York Magazine and flip to the last page to see their despicably funny Approval Matrix. I like it so much in fact that I decided to shamelessly rip it off -- robot style.

Did you notice there's been a proliferation of robot infants, robot toddlers, and robot children in the past few years? It seems that roboticists enjoy becoming parents to bionic babies.

They build them for a good reason: These bots help researchers not only learn more about robotics but also investigate human cognition, language acquisition, and motor development. Some Japanese researchers even say robot babies could help introduce young people to the wonders of parenthood and boost birth rates. Yes, robot babies help make real babies!

So check out our reality matrix below, where we rated each robot according to its similarity to humans and its technical capabilities. What's the coolest? Cutest? Creepiest? And did we forget any? Let us know.

Click on the image to see a larger -- readable! -- version.
robo_baby

Clockwise from top left: Aldebaran Robotics; Thomas Bregardis/AFP/Getty Images; RobotCub; Kokoro; Erico Guizzo; Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images; University of Tsukuba; Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo; Sankei/Getty Images; Georgia Institute of Technology; Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images; University of Bonn; Erico Guizzo

READ ALSO:

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Humanoid Mimics Person in Real Time
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Geminoid F, the Smiling Female Android
Sat, April 03, 2010

Blog Post: Geminoid F, a robot copy of a woman in her twenties, is designed with natural facial expressions

Who's Afraid of the Uncanny Valley?
Fri, April 02, 2010

Blog Post: To design the androids of the future, we shouldn't fear the uncanny valley

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Automaton

IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, featuring news, articles, and videos on robots, humanoids, automation, artificial intelligence, and more.
Contact us:  e.guizzo@ieee.org

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Erico Guizzo
New York, N.Y.
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Evan Ackerman
Berkeley, Calif.
 
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Jason Falconer
Canada
Contributor
Angelica Lim
Tokyo, Japan
 

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