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Honda's new humanoid-robot push aims for practical use

Focus on hands over legs underscores emphasis on utility

Honda Motor's new cable-driven robot hand has the dexterity to open a pull-tab can. (Photo courtesy of Honda)

TOKYO -- A decade from now, a man suddenly collapses on the street. An ambulance is called but will take time to arrive. In the meantime, a robot stationed nearby rushes to the scene to provide emergency care, controlled by an expert operator sitting dozens of kilometers away.

This is Honda Motor's vision for its humanoid "avatar robot," a project intended to "expand the range of human ability virtually without the constraints of time and place."

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