Japanese researchers at Tokyo University’s Information and Robot Technology (IRT) Research Initiative have demonstrated a robot that can do the laundry, mop the floors and clean up the kitchen — all by itself.

The ‘Assistant Robot’ project is backed by a consortium of Japanese corporate giants including Toyota, Sega, Panasonic and Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi, in particular, has a direct stake in the success of the initiative, as a major supplier of industrial and manufacturing robots.

IRT research chif Isao Shimoyama told reporters that the housemaid robot is a demonstration project designed to help older people retain their functional independence. “This is the first launch of a robot that will be able to help with household chores in an era of aging population. We can show people we can do it.”

However, he also noted that a more-compact ‘retail’ version of the device — which, in its current incarnation, weighs in at 130 kg / 286 lb. and stands 1.5 m / 4.9 ft. tall — is still at least a decade away.

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