"You're so stupid!" , towering over her desk.
"Eh?" she responded, her face wrinkling into a scowl. "I tell you, I am not stupid!"
"I almost feel like she's a real person," said Kobayashi, an associate professor at the Tokyo University of Science . "She has a temper ... and she sometimes makes mistakes, especially when she has low energy," the professor said.
Saya's wrath is the latest sign of the rise of the robot. Analysts say Japan is leading the world in a new generation of consumer robots. The latest models, such as Saya, were demonstrated at the World Expo opening just outside Nagoya on March 25.
Though perhaps years away in the United States, this long-awaited, as-seen-on-TV world -- think "The Jetsons" or "Blade Runner" -- is already unfolding in Japan, with robots now used as receptionists, night watchmen, hospital workers, guides, pets and more. The onslaught of new robots led the government last month to establish a committee to draw up safety guidelines for the keeping of robots in homes and offices. Officials compiled a report in January predicting that every household in Japan will own at least one robot by 2015, perhaps sooner.