The R2D2-looking Papero Childcare robot from NEC is a technological marvel; I'm sure it was a huge hit at the 2005 Expo Aichi last summer, and that the robot scientists who invented it should feel really proud of themselves. It is able to recognize a child by voice or face. It can respond and hold conversations by answering "in very humorous ways such as dance, joke or impression." it can dance a funny dance and can play flashing light games. It can take roll call. It even has a mobile phone built in so that you can call it and talk to a child through it.
Which all sounds great, as long as it's tending children who don't do anything but sit and talk to the robot. Papero seems like it was designed by robotics engineers who have never actually babysat a child or hired a babysitter. For example, I would think the first thing you'd design a childcare robot to do is to detect a problem and call someone. Otherwise, I don't see that it's any better than the electronic babysitter the kid already has a relationship with: the TV.
Of course Papero is from the same thinkin'-it-through brain trust whose top Google result is the press-only photos page that says, "Please DO NOT REPORT TO PUBLIC about existance of this page." across the top of it.
Childcare Robot Papero [nec.co.jp]