There's been a proliferation of robot children in recent years. Tell us which you think are the coolest, cutest, and creepiest
The Telenoid R1, created at Osaka University, is a telepresence robot that reproduces the voice and movements of a remote operator. It looks like an overgrown fetus or Casper the Friendly Ghost, depending on whom you ask.
Photo: Osaka University and ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories
The Pneuborn-13 is an infant-size musculoskeletal robot driven by pneumatic actuators. Built by Osaka University roboticists, it’s learning to crawl, stand, and walk. It feeds on compressed air.
Photo: Hosoda Lab
Babyloid is a robotic baby doll created at Chukyo University, in Nagoya, Japan. It can work as a therapeutic tool and also monitor the elderly. That’s right: The elderly take care of the robot, which takes care of the elderly.
Photo: Chukyo University
Zeno is a small, cartoonish humanoid designed at Hanson Robotics, in Richardson, Texas. It talks, understands speech, and can learn names and faces. It also has big green eyes that look as if they’re ready to shoot lasers.
Photo: Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo
Affetto, a child robot born to Osaka University researchers, is capable of making realistic facial expressions so that humans can interact with it in a more natural way (or run away).
Photo: Osaka University
Flobi is a robotic head built at Bielefeld University, in Germany. It’s friendly and expressive and also can go through a sex change of sorts: Its plastic face and hair features can be swapped to make it look male or female.
Photo: Bielefeld University
Repliee R1 is a copy of a real 4-year-old girl. Built at Osaka University, it has nine DC motors in its head, prosthetic eyeballs, and silicone skin. When the original girl saw her android copy, she cried.
Photo: Erico Guizzo
CB2 was born at Osaka University. This robot mimics how infants learn by interacting with the world. And with 51 pneumatic muscles, it’s powered by air.
Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
Nao is a little French humanoid created by Aldebaran Robotics, in Paris. It talks, tracks faces, and with 25 degrees of freedom, it can perform Michael Jackson choreography and Darth Vader impressions.
Photo: Aldebaran Robotics
iCub has many parents: 10 European robotics labs. The size of a 3 1/2-year-old, it’s learning to walk, talk, and handle objects. It’s probably the most advanced—and expensive—artificial child ever conceived.
Kojiro is a mechanical child built at the University of Tokyo. Its body mimics our musculoskeletal system. And unlike real children, it can be controlled using a PlayStation joystick.
Photo: Erico Guizzo
M3-neony is the offspring of Osaka University. The robot has 90 tactile sensors, 22 motors, 2 cameras, a compact computer, and a fancy name: M3 stands for “man-made man.”
Photo: Sankei/Getty Images
Yotaro is a robot baby that giggles, cries, and simulates a runny nose—but not a soiled diaper. Researchers at the University of Tsukuba, in Japan, designed it to show future parents how rewarding babies can be. Really.
Photo: University of Tsukuba
Simon is the humanoid child of Georgia Tech researchers. This social robot has an expressive face, an articulated torso, dexterous hands, and supercute, light-emitting ears.
Photo: Georgia Institute of Technology
Diego-san is the progeny of roboticists at the University of California, San Diego, and the Japanese firm Kokoro Co. They’re teaching it to talk and hold objects. They’re also designing a smaller head.
Nexi is the size of a 3-year-old child and was conceived at MIT’s Media Lab. With a 15-degrees-of-freedom face, this little social bot can show you when it’s happy, sad, mad—or bored.
Photo: Thomas Bregardis/AFP/Getty Images
RealCare Baby is a lifelike doll by Realityworks, in Eau Claire, Wis. You have to feed, burp, rock, and diaper the cyberinfant around the clock or it will emit a deafening sonic cry.