Perhaps our Future Robot Overlords™ aren't planning on decimating the human population after they take over -- they might have a good reason to retain a handful of bipedal hominidae. Who knows, really? But we're betting that if they do, the lucky slave population is going to want to hear some bed-time stories from time to time. To that end, Japanese researchers have developed Ninomiya-kun, a 3.2-foot tall aluminum-framed robot capable of reading aloud from printed material. Developed at Waseda University and recently unveiled at a trade fair in Kitakyushu, the bad boy uses cameras to "read" the text, which it parses with OCR software before synthesizing its voice. As far as we can tell, this thing still sounds like a machine, and it's vocabulary is somewhat limited (it can currently recognize over 2,000 kanji, hiragana and katakana characters), but researchers are working on a more lifelike voice and a broader vocabulary. After that, the developers would like to unload this thing on elementary schools and old folks homes, whose population won't find this thing creepy or disconcerting at all, at all. We're sure of it. Peep the video after the break.

[Via Pink Tentacle]