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Japan, Korea, and the US are making promising new strides in robotics research. Japan's industrial giants have developed robots that monitor hospital patients, warn against intruders, and serve as companions for the elderly. Following the ancient Chinese phrase, "crisis equals opportunity," they're predicting that rising health care costs, labor shortages, and the aging population will create an enormous market for robots. Korea is also well-situated for growth in the robotics market. Perhaps in an attempt to leapfrog Japan, it has developed a wireless robot platform that brings thin-client concepts to the world of robots. The US, looking to capitalize on the growing use of sensor networks, hopes to use robots to monitor a wide range of sensors. Projects in all three countries include plans to deploy robots as "companions" that unobtrusively perform a range of services.
Date of Publication: July-Sept. 2005