Trawling certain parts of the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, you'd be forgiven for thinking that all anyone was interested in were batteries, air ionizers and solar panels. But dotted in amongst the plethora of tiny Korean, Chinese and Singaporean stalls were some fantastic 'bots. Here's our top five.
i-Fairy is a fully-functioning, life-size robot with a cute bow, plastic bunches, and a striking white and black colour scheme. She's a "reception robot" - designed to sit on a reception and greet guests, equipped with a camera, microphone, speaker and a business card scanner. Unfortunately she can't walk, but with her Anime-influenced good looks, who cares?
Samuel's job is to teach you a new language. He's a tutoring robot, the flagship model of the "Talking Robo" range which allows the owner to practice their foreign language whenever they like, without having to have a native speaker to hand. He has speech recognition, text and image recognition, facial recognition, and even a beam projector in his arm. Other models available in the range include Antony, Lucy and Emily.
We didn't catch this little chap's name, so we'll call him Clive for the purposes of this article. Clive is a dancer - he's flexible and nimble, if a little dinky, but damn can he move. Cue up a phat beat and Clive will move forward, drop into a press-up, do forward a roll and come out smiling on the other side, keeping perfect balance. What can we say? He's a better dancer than we are...
Pleo is back! After the company behind its original creation, Ugobe, went bust and laid off all its workers, it looked like extinction had come for the baby dino. However, the Hong Kong company who actually made the robosaurs for Ugobe, Jetta, bought all the intellectual property rights and other assets and has begun production again. Here's all the proof you need that Pleo has returned and is coming for your tasty, tasty leaves.
But it's these ridiculously cute baby seal robots that win the title for the best robot of CES 2010. They're called Paro, and are a therapeutic robot, designed to be used in place of animal therapy in hospitals and nursing homes. These little babies are the 8th generation of the Paro robot and can respond to light, sound, temperature, touch and posture. It even has speech recognition, and can recognise and respond to its own name. Cute as a button.
For more from CES 2010, you'll want to check out our CES2010 tag homepage, which has absolutely everything we have ever written and will ever write about the Las Vegas tradeshow. Magic, eh?