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Are you looking for a new friend?

Personal home robots that can socialise with people are starting to roll out of the laboratory and into our living rooms and kitchens. But are you ready to invite them into your life?

It has taken decades of research to build robots even a fraction as sophisticated as those featured in popular science fiction.

Two pioneers in a new vanguard of cute, sociable robots — Jibo, a curvy talking speaker, and Kuri, a cartoonish wheeled "nanny" — have been unsuccessful. Vector, a less expensive home robot was unveiled recently. Will it be more successful?

Still others, including a hinted Amazon project and also robots designed to provide companionship for senior citizens, remain in the development stage.

Hopes for social robots keep outpacing reality. Late last year, the squat, almost featureless Jibo was featured on the cover of a popular magazine. It is suggested that there is going to be a time when everybody will just take the personal robot for granted.

Well, I’m very happy with my wife and human friends, thank you!

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AUCKLAND

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