Egg-shaped robot surfs, talks, walks and dances

Who needs friends when they've got NEC's PaPeRo (Partner-type Personal Robot) for company?

NEC has unveiled a new superhuman robot, which can access the Internet, relay messages, walk, talk and even dance.

Designed for the home, the robot is a walking, talking computer which performs a range of electronic tasks such as retrieving your email from the Internet and relaying it to you when you walk through the door.

And it's not only smart, it's extremely adorable.

PaPeRo -- short for 'Partner-type Personal Robot' -- has no humanoid features. It's an egg shaped robot with in-built cameras for eyes.

PaPeRo comes complete with a video screen which can provide a stream of visual data, enabling it to send video messages. It can even recognise the person for whom the message is intended.

The robot can detect voices through its "ears" which consist of four microphones and can respond to a range of instructions, such as "Get my email". It can even access the Internet and relay email messages through its ability to recognise more than 650 phrases.

Still in development in Japan, NEC expects PaPeRo to be released by the end of the year. Ten robots will be available initially.

"We're hoping to get one of the robots to come over to visit Australia at the end of the year to demonstrate its capabilities," a spokesperson from NEC Australia told ZDNet.

It's ability to interact with human beings enables PaPeRo to support the elderly, or entertain and educate young children through game playing and tutorials.

PaPeRo can also communicate with home appliances and security systems through the Internet.

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