South Korea has already made its ambitious robot plans quite well known, and it now looks like a group of Japanese robot companies are doing their best to stay in the race, with them forming a consortium of sorts that they say will let them cooperate in the research, development and marketing of robots. Currently, that group includes Tokyo's ZMP, Nagoya's Business Design Laboratory, Vstone (makers of the Black Ox pictured above), and Tmsuk, each of which will apparently initially focus on "simple service robots" designed to keep watch on the elderly, pets, and children. They're not getting much more specific than that just yet, unfortunately, with one of the company's CEOs only going so far as to say that, "in ten years, robots may be able to help out around the house," but that he doesn't "necessarily know that robots should do everything."

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