NEC Japan has launched a new, teeny version of its PaPeRo robot personal assistant.

PaPeRo-mini stands just 250mm tall - that's barely higher than a laptop - and weighs 2.5kg. He packs a better CPU (an ARM 9192) and digital signal processor than his bigger brother.

This ensures the new mini robot is better at listening to human speech, speaking and recognising faces too.

NEC's PaPeRo-mini is expected to make his first proper appearance at ROBOMEC 2007 in Japan. It starts this Thursday, 10 May and finishes on Saturday.