In May, students at a Japanese elementary school had a parallel experience when they came to class one day and found Saya, the face robot, sitting at the front of the room. Hiroshi Kobayashi, a mechanical engineering professor at the Tokyo University of Science, developed Saya in 2004 to be a university receptionist. Kobayashi said robots need humans, and Saya — who is operated via remote control by a human watching the teacher’s interactions through a camera — was created "just for fun."

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