Lately, all it takes is a chubster in a Gap onesie for my ovaries to throb. But the good citizens of Japan are apparently less inclined to make babies — so the University of Tsukauba built them Yotara, a robot baby, to encourage the birth rate. Yotara giggles, sneezes, sleeps and “wakes up” when a rattle is jiggled. (Watch a creepy video about all this here.) A heated water pump system gives Yotara a runny nose and touch sensors in his skin control his facial expressions. “We’d like people to experience the innocent, joyful expressions typical of small babies,” said Hioki Kunimura, the leader of the Yotara project.
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