The Shape of Robots to Come

The New York Times

As robots increasingly migrate from heavy industrial tasks, like welding automobile chassis on assembly lines, to home uses as restless toys and venturesome vacuum cleaners, a fetching personality and appealing appearance become critically important.

"Robots are an evergreen," "Kids are always fascinated by robots."

But robotics makers and experts say marvelous mechanics and electronic intelligence are not enough to lure consumers. Robotic novelties that could command steep prices from some early adopters are giving way to lower-priced products (though still rather expensive for toys) that offer personality, utility or both.

"The overall mission is to find ways of bringing robotics into useful interaction with people,"