A BigDog robot at Boston Dynamics in 2010. The BigDog is being developed to help soldiers carry heavy equipment in the field. It can follow a human being, walking across wet/sandy/rocky terrain, just like a dog would. Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe via Getty Images hide caption

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Rowbot is designed to fit in between the rows of crops. Moving up and down each row, a fleet of 20 bots could fertilize and monitor the corn crops during the growing season. Courtesy of Kent Cavender-Bares hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Kent Cavender-Bares

Humans and chimpanzees — like this individual at a zoo in Australia — are animals who have evolved to forge extensive and elaborate social connections. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images hide caption

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Oceans, and the innards of Earth itself, are the final frontiers of our planet. Expect amazing discoveries as explorers document more and more of this unseen realm. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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While Hollywood has firmly planted the idea in our minds that robots may very well turn out to be evil, academic research into dangerous interactions between humans and robots has only just begun. The Halcyon Company/The Halcyon Company hide caption

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Baxter is billed by its makers as a "collaborative manufacturing robot." It can work alongside humans to do simple, repetitive tasks. © Stephen F. Bevacqua/Courtesy of Rethink Robotics hide caption

itoggle caption © Stephen F. Bevacqua/Courtesy of Rethink Robotics

Could you say "no" to this face? Christoph Bartneck of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand recently tested whether humans could end the life of a robot as it pleaded for survival. Christoph Bartneck hide caption

itoggle caption Christoph Bartneck

Claire Lomas walks the last mile of the London Marathon on May 8, 2012 in London, England. After a riding accident left her paralyzed from the waist down in 2007, Lomas completed the race walking 2 miles a day over 16 days with the help of a ReWalk bionic suit (by Argo Medical Technologies). Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images hide caption

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The "RoboSimian" from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has the advantage of being able to grasp things with all four limbs, like a chimp. It will compete in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. NASA/JPL-Caltech hide caption

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Human baby Charlotte, the 13-month-old daughter of NPR producer Tom Bullock, tried the same tests that DeeChee, the robot, does for language-learning experiments. Dr. Caroline Lyons says human babies have an advantage: They spend every waking hour of the day in a speaking world. Tom Bullock/NPR hide caption

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Research scientist Leila Takayama poses with a PR2 robot at Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces programmable robots. Melissa Block/NPR hide caption

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Brent Ware, a member of the robotics team at Kansas State, stands next to a planting robot that won a national competition. Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media hide caption

itoggle caption Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

Budding scientists, engineers and doctors lined up to try surgical robots from Intuitive Surgical at a science festival in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. Scott Hensley/NPR hide caption

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