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Robot carries off awards and human payloads

Downtown Tokyo played host last weekend to dozens of the most advanced Japanese automata at the Robot & Science Forum in the Machine and Industry Memorial Hall, which, thankfully, is also known as TEPIA .

Among the exhibits were some familiar faces, including NEC's PaPeRo and Kondo's KHR-2HV , but the informal best-in-show rosette went, according to Robot Watch , to a bipedal robot chair from a group of students.

Takes stairs in its stride

Waseda University's WL-16IV is intended as a disability aid and can carry a 94kg person across difficult terrain, including - as the WMV video linked here shows - up and down stairs.

Each leg on the robot, which was jointly developed with TMSUK , is made of six hydraulic 'bones' that are controlled by an onboard computer that is itself commanded via a Wi-Fi link. The university reckons commercialisation as an entertainment robot is likely before any real-world healthcare applications are realised.

As for the student pictured riding the WL-16IV, we have only one thing to say, "Get your 'air cut, son."