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We have developed a humanoid robot, HERMES, to study several key technologies that are important for personal robots, such as robot design, sensors and perception, locomotion, localization and navigation, manipulation, human-robot communication and interaction, adaptability and learning, system architecture and integration, and dependability. The robot's skill-based system architecture was derived from a qualitative model of human information processing and insights gained from psychological literature dealing with skill acquisition, human performance and motor learning. HERMES' system architecture, several of its skills and the design principles are introduced, and some experiments carried out with the real robot are presented, including a long-term test where HERMES served in a museum, far away from its home laboratory, for more than six months up to 12 hours per day. During this period the robot and its skills were regularly demonstrated to the public by nonexpert presenters. Also, HERMES interacted with the visitors, chatted with them in English, French and German, answered questions and performed services as requested by them.