How do you feel about your robot?

It always seems to surprise inventors when robot owners find themselves unusually attached to their 'bots. Here's a quick roundup of links on the subject...

Roombas fill an emotional vacuum for owners -- groan. The article talks about Roomba owners' relationships to their robots and how fond they become of them, a trend that "suggests there's a measure of public readiness to accept robots in the house" -- good news for any budding consumer roboticists out there.

PackBot on the front lines -- I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before, and it is an older aticle, but I was reminded again at an event where Helen Greiner spoke earlier this week ... soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are considering their robots members of their teams, giving them names and wanting them fixed (even when obliterated by IEDs) instead of replaced.

And of course, Forecast: Sex and Marriage with Robots by 2050 -- this somewhat overplayed article is based on someone's PhD thesis, so take it with a grain of salt. I love the line that "the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," though as a resident of that fine state, I would like to believe that has less to do with our politics than it does with the incredibly high density of robotics companies and research institutions just in the area.

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