Robots in the near future will be common, performing tasks from the routine to the exceptional, according to Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "In 10 or 15 years, I think that robots will be as commonplace as smartphones, with personal robots that can help with everything from doing search-and-rescue operations to folding the laundry," Rus said in an interview ahead of this week's South by Southwest Interactive event in Austin, Texas.

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