Japanese toymaker Tomy Co on Saturday unveiled the world's tiniest, thumb-sized walking robot that will debut in Japan next spring.
The two-legged toy, dubbed "Robo-Q", is only 3.4 centimeters high, but its artificial intelligence can detect obstacles and navigate through a maze using built-in infrared sensors. Using a controller, it can also play games like soccer.
Robo-Q is being displayed at an exhibition in Yokohama, where more than 100 different types of robots are being showcased by 43 companies, universities and organisations, including Honda Motor Co and Fujitsu Ltd.
"It just looks like a clump, but it's impressive that so many functions are built into that thing," Kazuhiko Oda, 55, from Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, said after watching an exhibition of Robo-Q at the Robo Japan 2008.
"It shows how much technology has advanced and it's cute so I want to buy it," said his wife Minako.
Robo-Q comes in four colours and will be sold in Japan from around February for 3,500 yen (USD 29) excluding tax. The robot is expected to be sold in other Asian countries soon afterwards and in the United States and Europe at an unspecified date, Tomy officials said.
"This is a toy both parents and children can play with," said Gen Nagashima, manager of Tomy's boys toy team. "We hope to propose other ways of having fun (with robots)."
Another popular robot by Tomy, called "i-Sobot", is listed by the Guinness Book of Records as the world's smallest humanoid robot in production.