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Robots pop popcorn, make sandwiches

Owners of household robots may soon be able to issue orders such as "make me a sandwich" or "pop me some popcorn" and a robot will do the rest, as demonstrated by Technical University of Munich's robots James and Rosie in this video above.

While we've seen robots do other household chores ranging from making sausage breakfasts to folding laundry, this latest accomplishment is yet one more example of robots that think for themselves — that is, James and Rosie aren't programmed to do each and every step in the food preparation process.

Rather, they're just given the order and autonomously infer what needs to be done to get the popcorn popped and the sandwich made, such as turning on the stove to pop the popcorn.

To get the job done, the robots take advantage of technical advances such as Kinect sensors to detect objects in their surroundings. 

"Giving robots the ability to take a complex task and autonomously infer all the intermediate tasks that it can then execute one at a time means that you'll be able to say, 'Make me a sandwich' … and the robot will just go and do it, no questions asked," notes IEEE's Automation blog.

More on robots that do chores:

John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.

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