Developer Katsumori Sakakibara (left) wears a head-mounted display to demonstrate a prototype remote-controlled robot called Caiba (right)
A Japanese inventor is hoping a robot that still needs humans will win over Asia's largest tech fair.
The robot experts thinks that his little Caiba droid will act as an alternative to the artificial intelligence currently being developed by major technology firms.
Katsumori Sakakibara showcased the robot at the annual Cutting-Edge IT and Electronics Comprehensive Exhibition (CEATEC), which kicked off today near Tokyo and which is Asia's biggest tech fair.
Waist-high Caiba - whose name means hippocampus, a key area of the brain, in Japanese - is controlled by a human wearing a virtual reality handset and mechanical arms.
If the person waves their arms, the little robot follows suit.
But whatever Caiba does, it depends on a human to control it.
'People say what an amazing AI (artificial intelligence) we're using for the robot. So I tell them: 'well, it's actually a middle-aged guy',' Sakakibara told AFP during a press preview this week.
'Humans are more flexible in that they can recognise a huge amount of different information, but so far AI can only be used in limited situations' such as playing chess, he added.
'We thought it would be better to use humans instead of AI.'
Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are among a growing number of technology firms that have been investing in making machines smarter, contending the goal is to improve lives through artificial intelligence.