Fun yarn from Forbes -- particularly interesting to one of your correspondent since his cousin is one of those dot com kids:
Tucked away in a sleepy one-story office complex in Mountain View, Calif., Trevor Blackwell is trying to get a robot to walk. A faceless, armless 51/2-foot-tall contraption named Bottom--powered by an air compressor and guided by a software program--stands for two minutes, subtly adjusting its balance. Then it keels over, hissing and gasping as it goes.
Getting this wobbly droid simply to stand up straight is a challenge, but Blackwell is optimistic. "By late next year I'm hoping to get this to walk into a kitchen and make a cheese sandwich," he says. Seriously.
His company, Anybots, aims to produce general-purpose robots for home use. His vision: A few years from now humanoid robots--remotely controlled by joystick jockeys at call centers in low-wage countries like China--will prepare your lunch, take out the garbage, do the laundry. "What I really wanted was something that, if it worked, it would change the world," he says earnestly.