Adorable or Creepy: 12 Personal Robots That Could Change Your Life


The exceedingly charming Robot & Frank opens in theaters on Friday, and we couldn’t be more excited. Set some time in the future, the dramedy heist film starring the always awesome Frank Langella and a cute caretaker robot with a green thumb whose good and bad influence reignites the old man’s passion for life, love, and white collar crime.

The idea of a little metal helper who plants tomatoes, makes healthy meals, cleans the house and is your pal unconditionally might just be the best thing we’ve heard in a long time, so we thought we’d take a gander around the vast virtual marketplace to see who we could bring home today. From caregivers to robots that vacuum and do the bunny hop, click through to check out helpful — adorable — plastic pals of every shape and size. Then, let us know in the comments which mini mechanical bff you’d want to bring home!

ApriPoko by Toshiba

Image credit: Akihabara

The five-inch, 11 pound adorable android will control all of your home electronics. He learns by watching your every move and asking you questions. Turn on the TV, and he’ll ask: “What did you just do?” He commits your answer to memory and then mimics you if you ask him to turn on the TV. Cute, intelligent and creepy?

PaPeRo by NEC

Image credit: NEC

PaPeRo supposedly speaks with a “natural and cute voice.” When he’s not talking to you, he’ll keep himself busy by walking around the room or dancing spontaneously. The cute little fella also looks for his charging station and docks himself when his battery’s low. He comes back out renewed and refreshed. Apparently he also tells fortunes, asks riddles and impersonates motorcycles, space aliens, a pot of ramen, and the vacuum cleaner. He’s been known to do the bunny hop. We want him. Now.

Wakamaru by Toshiyuki Kita for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Image credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO via Boston; Wired

This $8,300 caretaker kindly reminds you to take your medicine. He’ll also ask you health-related questions and send the answers via email to your doctor or family members. Most importantly, he’ll look for you if he senses unusual behavior ie. you don’t show up for dinner.

Nao by Aldebaran Robotics with Intel Capital

Image credit: Aldebaran Robotics

According to it’s creators, Nao is “an autonomous, programmable humanoid robot” that replaced Sony’s robot dog in the Robot Soccer World Cup. Sure to be the life of the party it provides hours of fun with synchronized dance and comedy routines.

Luna by RoboDynamics

Image credit: Geeky Gadgets; Inside Technology Spectrum; Everything-Robotic

Luna is a five-foot tall personal robot that comes with her very own 8-inch touchscreen, two cameras, wireless connectivity, a three-mic array, and a variety of sensors. She’s your laptop in android form.

Childcare PaPeRo by NEC

Image credit: NEC

PaPeRo’s colorful cousin is the best little metal nanny on the market.

PaPe-jiro the robot comedian by NEC

Image credit: NEC

PaPe-jiro tells jokes and doesn’t mind being the dummy in your best ventriloquist wearing a bow-tie act.

AIBO by Sony

Image credit: University of Texas Robot Soccer Team

A dog you can turn off when he’s being annoying. Companionship without the chaos and the clean up. Perfect.

Nexi Social Robot by MIT’s Personal Robotics Lab with Xitome Design and UMASS Amherst

Image credit: Artfutura; Neutronic Future Technology

This machine is helping the super smart folks at MIT understand human/android interaction. Probably so we don’t do things like kill each other. Yup, that’s a good idea.

Polaris Personal Assistant by KDDI

Image credit: speckyboy

Polaris is the cutest little electronic personal assistant on the market. According to a review, he “monitors your behavior, calendar, and contacts by syncing up with your cell phone, then gives you reminders and recommendations based on your call list and appointments.”

Robovie R-Ver.3 by Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute with Vstone

Image credit: Fast Company

This pricy ‘assistive technology for the elderly’ will set you back $43,000. The child-sized bot/plastic butler was created to be a helper in healthcare environments. Guess he’s cheaper than a human?

Robovie MR2 Companion Bot by Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute

Image credit: Plastic Pals; Reo Matsumura

Robovie’s desk-bound companion gathers information from the web and then tells you about what he’s found “by means of gestures or speech.” So basically it’s like if Google were to explain each and every search by doing charades or even staging a little shadow puppet show. Charming, but ridiculous.