Introducing 3ft robot that chats and looks after your home

A CHILD-shaped humanoid robot that can recognise about 10,000 words and work as a house-sitter will go on sale in Japan next month.

The "Wakamaru" robot can recognise the faces of up to ten people and talk to them. When linked to mobile phones, it can also monitor situations in the home, such as a burglary or someone taking ill, its maker, Mitsubishi-Heavy Industries, said yesterday.

The company said it would be the first time that a robot with communication ability for home use had been sold. "This is the opening of an era in which human beings and robots can co-exist," it said.

Mitsubishi-Heavy, which will start taking orders for the Wakamaru on 16 September, is aiming to sell 100 of the 3ft-tall, 66lb robots at a cost of 1.58 million yen (8,000) to residents in central Tokyo.

The individual owner's schedule can be programmed in advance, and the Wakamaru can deliver a wake-up call and remind them of the day's events.

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