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(Pocket-lint) - Toshiba and Sony, don't just fight over HD DVD and Blu-ray. While Sony has QRIO as its company robot come mascot, Toshiba has now added ApriAttenda to its robot collection alongside ApriAlpha.

The new robots, which way from 10Kgs to 30Kgs, have been designed as life-support partners for humans, able to provide assistance in looking after the elderly or young children when you are at home or out and about.

Toshiba originally announced its ApriAlpha robot back in 2003. Since then it has developed a new prototype robot, the ApriAttenda and updated the technology inside the original ApriAlpha version.

The ApriAlpha V3 can recognise its owners voice from a crowd of talking individuals using omnidirectional voice capture and respond to their command, Understand and respond to several conversations going on at once and connect to the internet an operate networked home appliances.

Additionally the ApriAlpha V3 can also recognise and respond to a series of programmed orders, take control of home appliances such as the TV or air conditioner (if it's going to be a warm day it can turn on the air conditioner) and even read out content from the internet including the news, weather forecast, its owner's email etc.

Like Sony's Aibo the ApriAlpha will be able to return to a base station to recharge itself, and send images to owner's mobile phone of intruders using facial recognition, or phone its owner if it hears unusual noises such as breaking glass.

ApriAttenda, its newer taller friend will aside from the above also be able to instantly recognise with its visual sensor and high-speed image processing system registered colours and textures of a person's clothes or follow its owner or stop when he or she stops, maintaining the pre-set distance and avoiding obstacles even amongst groups of people.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 23 May 2005.