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Say hi to Saya, a robot teacher

Her social skills are undeveloped, but boffins in Japan are pinning the hopes of future generations on a robot teacher called Saya.

Saya, the "Japan Teacher Robot", was created by science professor Hiroshi Kobayashi after 15 years of research at the University of Tokyo.

She was originally created to replace receptionists but is now being trialled at a Japanese primary school. The humanoid has 18 different motors behind a latex face, which are designed to simulate typical expressions.

Japanese teachers need not fear for their jobs, however. Currently Saya can pretty much only take the register, get angry and shout "be quiet". She also still has someway to go to eclipse the feats of another Japanese humanoid - the famous Asimo robot from the Honda ads - that can perform exercise routines, run and even climb stairs.

But with the Japanese government spending Pounds 23million on robotic intelligence by 2015, Saya could soon be teaching times tables at a school near you.

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