humanwashingmachineFaced with a shortage of young people to take care of the elderly, Japan is doing exactly what you'd expect them to do and turning to robots to get the job done:

This spring Japanese companies plan to start marketing a "robot suit," a motorized, battery-operated pair of pants designed to help the aged and infirm move around on their own. Then there is the Wakamaru, a mobile, three-foot-high speaking robot equipped with two camera eyes. It is used largely by working people to keep an eye on their elderly parents at home.

And then of course there's the incredibly disturbing/enticing image of Sanyo's robotic human washing machine (pictured at right), which we're having installed here at Engadget HQ next week.