Murasaki-bot recounts the world's (much debated) oldest novel

If you're into audiobooks, maybe having an animated lady-bot storyteller spin you a yarn would make the experience even more enjoyable. Created by the folks over at Kyoto University's Robo-Garage, this foot-tall 'bot will "read" you Murasaki Shikibu's classic and oft-considered oldest novel in existence, The Tale of Genji, thanks to the MP3 player inside. It'll also draw you deeper into the story with subtle movements and how its styled after a Japanese noblewoman (such as Murasaki herself), with a kimono, traditional headress and a fan it's able to hide up its sleeve.

One big drawback for us Westerners: the 'bot only speaks in Japanese. A second: it's not available for sale from Robo-Garage's US affiliate, as Lady Murasaki is only a prototype at the moment. Honestly, I know it's not speaking in English, but I want one of these anyway. And a Robo-Tolstoy to talk me through War and Peace, and a Luo Guanzhong-bot to help me tackle his huge Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Click Continue to see a video of Murasaki's robot successor in action, or check out the gallery below for more images.

Robo-Garage, via Robot Watch, via CrunchGear, via Gizmo Watch