l: the robonaut (NASA) r: NASA robot

the robo sapiens promise huge benefits to soceity: – the military wants them to shoulder a soldier’s burden. they fearlessly tack dangerous work like defusing bombs. they can clean up waste sites, because they sneer at radioactivity and toxic chemicals. – the nasa use the ‘nomads’ to explore mars, on a venture into the crats of volcanos in alaska and antartica. the next generation of spacewalker could fix faulty satellites and space stations. the metal humanoid known as robonaut has developed an impressive level of dexterity. within a few years similar robonauts could work outside the confines of a spacecraft, performing routine maintenance alongside astronauts. – the japanese government wants them to help care for elderly people, (soon it will be a social necessity: 25% of japan’s population will be over age 65 by 2005) toylike robots are already reminding senior citizens to take medicine and keep appointments. in japan service robots will deliver hospital food trays ( by 2002 some 11 000 service robots will be employed, 65 % in hospitals and nursing homes). germans frauenhofer institut has developed ‘care-o-bot’, which help elderly and infirm people to maintain independent lifestyles. they can guide people who are unsteady on their feet… – they can offer virtouso entertainment, recording the passing years, singing and dancing, telling multimedia stories… – following in the toy’s wake they could be all manner of household robots, from ‘dogs’ to ‘vacuum cleaners’.