Remember a few weeks ago when we mentioned the Robot of the Year awards being run by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry ( METI )? Well, the frontrunner at the time, My Spoon , didn't win the grand prize but there were plenty of equally inventive automata at the top of the pile.

The top gong went to a heavy-hitting robotic building-cleaning system from Fuji Heavy Industries and Sumitomo that was singled out for its efficiency and ability to work either alone or with people.

The prize for the best robot from a small or medium-sized business was won by a droid from a company we've looked at before. Kondo's KHR-2HV was judged to be educational as well as a bargain. Not only that, but it does an impressive cartwheel too.

Lastly, Secom's My Spoon wasn't entirely left out - it was awarded an honourable mention for its contributions to society. J Mark Lytle