Japan and South Korea lead in the development of humanoid robots, whereas the only machine that comes close to making it into the category from the U.S. was developed by Virginia Tech students. The problem stems from a lack of funding and focus on the development of such robots. "It has to do with U.S. pragmatism," said James Kuffner, a professor at Carnegie Mellon. "... We think, 'If we have a problem, let's design the simplest, cheapest solution.' "