The truth about the oft-mentioned, inevitable robot takeover is that it will probably occur in a gradual, imperceptibly sinister manner thanks to the first wave of "cute" robots like the new RIBA. The large but cuddly robot's name is actually short for "Robot for Interactive Body Assistance." Developed by Japan's Institute of Physical and Chemical Research and Tokai Rubber Industries, the robot is primarily designed to assist humans that are unable to walk.
To help the RIBA perform this human interaction smoothly the scientists gave it soft, human-friendly urethane foam skin as well as face and voice recognition. The RIBA is an upgrade from its predecessor, the RI-MAN, as it can process information faster and has a look (Japan cute!) that the roboticists feel will have a more calming effect on Japanese patients. You can see video of the RIBA robot in action here.
Via Impress Watch