The Robot Baby Reality Matrix

Some robot babies look real. Some act real. A few do both


Advanced robots that look and act like adult humans have been around since the 1970s. But more recently a new breed of humanoids has begun crawling and babbling in the lab: baby and child robots. Researchers say they build mechanical infants not only to learn more about robotics but also to investigate human cognition, language acquisition, and motor development. Some scientists believe that baby robots could even help introduce young people to the wonders of parenthood. To get you acquainted with this bionic bunch, we rated each robot according to its similarity to humans and its technical capabilities.

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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