Jeff Simmermon went to the "Robotopia Rising" exhibit at the Kennedy Center, Washington. D.C. and wrote a neat blog post about it.
There was a particularly interesting robot called the Wakamaru:
The Wakamaru robot is apparently the closest thing to an actual home-use, elder-care robot in Japan. According to the marketing brochure, this little yellow friend can
1. gather information about your interests and keep you up to date
2. remember your appointments and give you reminders
3. send and receive e-mail for you and relay the message to the correct family member by recognizing that person’s face
4. see you off when you leave the house
5. constantly check the surroundings at home using the omni-directional camera and welcome you home when you return.
This little guy is the closest thing to an actual R2-D2-style robot butler than mankind has, and it’s pretty incredible. I couldn’t get through to interact with the one on display — it was surrounded by throngs of thrilled and nervous kids — but just watching it play with kids, exercising, chanting, and waving was utterly breathtaking.
One day, kids will be as comfortable with robots as they are with IM. To kids, they’ll be the bridge between toys and friends, and the thought just makes the mind twitch.
Link - Thanks Jeff!