In Osamu Tezuka's anime (animated film) series Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy), Atom, the robot protagonist, is born in 2003. In the real 2003, meanwhile, robots that take care of household chores or watch the home while residents are away are appearing one after another. A robot that autonomously vacuums the floor is already on the market, and electronics makers are preparing to release more high-performance products. In addition, the development of robots that can assist people with everyday activities - something that holds promise in an aging society - is continuing, and some makers have released prototypes with a view to putting new products on the market in the spring of 2004. Consumers are waiting and hoping for robots that are intelligent, powerful, and affordable, and an age in which robots are a part of everyday life may be just around the corner.