One of the things that up to now has held back robots is the ability to have a pressure sensitive "skin" which feels and moves more naturally. A team of Tokyo University researchers has revealed a break through in material science; a rubber material that conducts electricity which would potentially allow for the development of robotic "skin." This new material is described:
"Another possible use being discussed is in robot development. The material would allow for robots to be much more responsive and life-like because their entire surface could have sensors since the electrical power source is everywhere. The day when robots match humans is even closer, as this material could be the "skin" of the robot human since it can be maneuvered to do virtually everything our skin does when it reacts with our surroundings. It seems quite surreal and perhaps scary, but we are closer to an "I, Robot" type world than some of us think."
Perhaps a nearer term application of this new material science is the development of a functional artificial eye according to researchers. I believe in the foreseeable future that many motor tasks which create significant obstacles for individuals with disabilities can and will be remediated with the use of robots or robotic components, if not Rosie from the Jetsons.