Rise of the robots

A man takes a picture of a giant "Kuratas" robot at an exhibition in Tokyo November 28, 2012. The four-meter-high, limited edition, made-to-order robot is controlled through a pilot in its cockpit, or via a smartphone. The four-tonne (4,000 kg) "Kuratas" can be customised in 16 different colours, and is armed with a futuristic weapons system, including a multi-rocket launcher that fires plastic rockets filled with compressed water. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A man takes a picture of a giant "Kuratas" robot at an exhibition in Tokyo
A man takes a picture of a giant "Kuratas" robot at an exhibition in Tokyo November 28, 2012. The four-meter-high, limited edition, made-to-order robot is controlled through a pilot in its cockpit, or via a smartphone. The four-tonne (4,000 kg) "Kuratas" can be customised in 16 different colours, and is armed with a futuristic weapons system, including a multi-rocket launcher that fires plastic rockets filled with compressed water. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (JAPAN - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Models dance with the humanoid robot "NAO" during a news conference in Bangkok June 19, 2012. NAO, the newest humanoid technology from Europe, was brought in to promote "Thailand's Manufacturing Expo 2012" which will be held from June 21-24 in Bangkok. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)
Models dance with the humanoid robot "NAO" during a news conference in Bangkok
Models dance with the humanoid robot "NAO" during a news conference in Bangkok June 19, 2012. NAO, the newest humanoid technology from Europe, was brought in to promote "Thailand's Manufacturing Expo 2012" which will be held from June 21-24 in Bangkok. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)
Robots, made by students from Wuhan Institute of Technology University, dance for the visitors at the 13th China International Machinery and Electronic Products Expo in Wuhan, Hubei province, September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Darley Shen (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA
Robots dance for the visitors at the 13th China International Machinery and Electronic Products Expo in Wuhan
Robots, made by students from Wuhan Institute of Technology University, dance for the visitors at the 13th China International Machinery and Electronic Products Expo in Wuhan, Hubei province, September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Darley Shen (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA
The Wall-Ye prototype, a robot designed to prune vines, is seen in the Pouilly Fuisse vineyard during a press presentation near Macon October 12, 2012. The 50 by 60 centimetre robot, with four wheels and two metal arms, has six web cameras and a GPS and can roll between grapevines, test the soil and check the grapes. With a little more training, Wall-Ye will be able to prune up to 600 vines per day, says his inventor, French engineer Christophe Millot, who has been working on the project for the past three years. Picture taken October 12, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Pratta (FRANCE - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)
The Wall-Ye prototype, a robot designed to prune vines, is seen in the Pouilly Fuisse vineyard during a press presentation near Macon
The Wall-Ye prototype, a robot designed to prune vines, is seen in the Pouilly Fuisse vineyard during a press presentation near Macon October 12, 2012. The 50 by 60 centimetre robot, with four wheels and two metal arms, has six web cameras and a GPS and can roll between grapevines, test the soil and check the grapes. With a little more training, Wall-Ye will be able to prune up to 600 vines per day, says his inventor, French engineer Christophe Millot, who has been working on the project for the past three years. Picture taken October 12, 2012. REUTERS/Robert Pratta (FRANCE - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)
Honda Motor Co's Asimo humanoid robot opens the top of a bottle to pour the drink into a cup during a news conference at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo November 30, 2011. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)
Honda Motor Co's Asimo humanoid robot opens the top of a bottle at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show
Honda Motor Co's Asimo humanoid robot opens the top of a bottle to pour the drink into a cup during a news conference at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo November 30, 2011. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)
Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd President Tsuneo Murata poses with his company's bicycle-riding robot "Murata Seisaku-kun" after an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of CEATEC JAPAN 2012 electronics show in Chiba, east of Tokyo, October 2, 2012. Anti-Japanese sentiment in China, falling prices and growing competition from a South Korean rival are just a few of the challenges faced by Murata, which supplies Apple Inc with components for its iPhone 5. But even with those challenges, Murata, said on Tuesday the company is forecasting stronger demand from smartphone makers in the July to September quarter and that its factories were operating at full capacity. To match Interview MURATA-INTERVIEW/ REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)
Murata President Murata poses with his company's bicycle-riding robot "Murata Seisaku-kun" after an interview in Chiba
Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd President Tsuneo Murata poses with his company's bicycle-riding robot "Murata Seisaku-kun" after an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of CEATEC JAPAN 2012 electronics show in Chiba, east of Tokyo, October 2, 2012. Anti-Japanese sentiment in China, falling prices and growing competition from a South Korean rival are just a few of the challenges faced by Murata, which supplies Apple Inc with components for its iPhone 5. But even with those challenges, Murata, said on Tuesday the company is forecasting stronger demand from smartphone makers in the July to September quarter and that its factories were operating at full capacity. To match Interview MURATA-INTERVIEW/ REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT)
A man looks at the HRP-4C Miim humanoid robot at the venue of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Tokyo October 9, 2012. Global growth in advanced economies is too weak to bring down unemployment and what little momentum exists is coming primarily from central banks, the International Monetary Fund said in its World Economic Outlook, released ahead of its twice-yearly meeting, which will be held in Tokyo later this week. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
Man looks at the HRP-4C Miim humanoid robot at the venue of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Tokyo
A man looks at the HRP-4C Miim humanoid robot at the venue of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Tokyo October 9, 2012. Global growth in advanced economies is too weak to bring down unemployment and what little momentum exists is coming primarily from central banks, the International Monetary Fund said in its World Economic Outlook, released ahead of its twice-yearly meeting, which will be held in Tokyo later this week. REUTERS/Toru Hanai (JAPAN - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)
A customer (R) is seated on a 3.6 metre-high custom-made female robot at the newly opened "Robot Restaurant" in Kabukicho, one of Tokyo's best known red light districts, August 16, 2012. It's show time at the "Robot Restaurant" a new and high-tech take on the city's decades-old cabaret scene that puts a friendly, if unusual, face on the robot technology in which Japan is a world leader. Picture taken August 16, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT FOOD TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A customer is seated on a 3.6 metre-high custom-made female robot at the newly opened "Robot Restaurant" in Tokyo
A customer (R) is seated on a 3.6 metre-high custom-made female robot at the newly opened "Robot Restaurant" in Kabukicho, one of Tokyo's best known red light districts, August 16, 2012. It's show time at the "Robot Restaurant" a new and high-tech take on the city's decades-old cabaret scene that puts a friendly, if unusual, face on the robot technology in which Japan is a world leader. Picture taken August 16, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao (JAPAN - Tags: SOCIETY ENTERTAINMENT FOOD TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

What to Read Next