Don't want to bother with cat litter? Japan offers robots

Boston Herald 

Japan, home of the "kawaii" cult of cute, has always had a soft spot for companion robots, in contrast to the more industrial or mechanical types used for assembly lines, surgeries and military missions. The Associated Press spent some time recently with three relatively affordable home robots from Japanese makers that target the elderly, kids and hard-working salarymen pressed for time. Unlike real children or pets, they have off switches and don't need constant attention, dog food or cat litter. Toyota Motor Corp.'s Kirobo Mini is small enough to fit in your hand and looks like a child clad in a space outfit. It's apt to repeat phrases like, "I missed that; can you say that again?" and "Hmmmmm ....." Its name combines the word for "hope," or "kibo," and "robot."