AIST unveils Taizou, the clown-faced physical therapy robot

In yet another move to address Japan's rapidly graying population, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) recently unveiled a new robot designed for human interaction. Wrapped in soft, fuzzy material and topped off by a rather comical head fashioned to inspire good feelings, the robot will help the elderly and physically disabled by offering physical therapy exercise and overall rehabilitation instruction through examples.

In Japan it is common for exercises to be lead by an instructor (in the same style as an American aerobics class, for example) so the AIST robot, currently named "Taizou," offers the perfect strict, yet friendly exercise director in a cuddly package. Set to hit the commercial market in 2010, you can see video of the AIST robot in action here.

Via Impress Watch