We like robots that play soccer, save wildlife, and clean our stuff. We're not, however, particularly fond of robots who look like extras in horror movies. Such are M3-Kindy and Noby, a pair of bots recently shown at the JST Erato Asada Project symposium in Japan, both designed to study human development by basically pretending to be babies. Noby, pictured above, is a sort of abbreviation for "nine-month old baby," and that's exactly what it purports to be with a size, shape, weight, and behavior that emulates a human in that highly dependent stage. Meanwhile, M3-Kindy (shown in a video after the break) is meant to pretend to be a five-year-old, but his giant head and oversized body make him look more like a beefcake toddler to us. Kindy can walk and display emotion, using his stereoscopic vision and speech recognition to determine the effect of his feigned sadness on the weak-willed humans who hold his hand as he walks. Don't fall for the trap.

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