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Sony, Honda prep people-like robots

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Sony has developed a 19 inch high robot, codenamed SDR-3X, capable of walking on two legs, kicking a ball and a few other nifty tricks. Meanwhile, Honda has unveiled a four foot tall bipedal robot that can even shake hands with people.

Sony's offering has 24 joints, which means it can walk, change direction, balance, dance and... er... kick. Some more unkind observers have suggested that this last attribute be tested on the AIBO robotic dog, also produced by Sony.

Clearly The Register cannot endorse cruelty against animals - even plastic ones - but we couldn't help giggling anyway.

It can distinguish between colours using a CCD (charge coupled device) camera mounted on its head, and can be controlled using spoken commands.

Honda, on the other hand, has designed its robot to "co-exist and co-operate" with human beings. They've called it ASIMO - more than a passing reference to Isaac Asimov, creator of the Three Laws of Robotics - but also manages to stand for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.

We are not sure what this little guy is supposed to do exactly, but it scores big points for geek-cool.

Neither company has said when they plan to start selling their machines, or what the price tag is. Honda has not even decided yet whether it will sell the ASIMO. ®

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