Crowds filter through a darkened corner of Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation on a recent Saturday, seeking to catch a glimpse of what the future may be like.

One of the attractions is a child-like creature that sits perfectly still, and occasionally bursts into speech. This is Kodomoroid, billed as the world's first news-reading android, which the museum claims has "potential exceeding that of its human equivalent."

Kodomoroid is the brainchild of Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor at Osaka University whose next goal is to make a robot that can formulate its own intentions and desires.