I ,Robot, a futuristic film about androids taking over the world, was last summer's big hit movie.
And the sell-out toy for children over Christmas was Robosapien, an ?intelligent entertainment humanoid? developed by a NASA scientist.
Robots, it seems, are back in fashion.
So an invitation to meet the ?world?s most advanced humanoid robot? was not to be missed.
In fact, it was even worth taking my seven-year-old son out of school for - for the educational value, of course.
Before leaving the office a colleague suggested it might be fun to try and interview the closest thing to C3PO this side of a galaxy far far away....
And so, armed with a handful of questions, such as ?what is your favourite colour?? and ?what?s your view on the G8 Summit?? off I set.
ASIMO, developed by car giant Honda, is in the West Midlands until Wednesday attending the Youth Engineering Summit at Jaguar?s Training Centre in Castle Bromwich.
The first thing to say upon meeting him/her/it in the flesh/metal is ASIMO doesn?t speak English. In fact, it doesn?t speak any language at all.
The robot?s biggest breakthrough is in its ability to move like a human being. About four foot nothing tall, it bends its knees when it walks, swings its arms, and can even negotiate a set of stairs. It can shake your hand, do a little jig, and stand on one leg, all the while looking extraordinarily like a child in a spacesuit.
Impressive as this may be, it is also difficult not to be struck by what ASIMO cannot do.
In an age when films such as The War of The Worlds are capable of bringing the most far-fetched scenarios to life on the big screen, we have come to expect the outlandish.
ASIMO?s movements are controlled by a nearby engineer with a handset on his waist and another team some way off at a computer console. His battery lasts for about half-an-hour before he needs recharging.
Some of us may be glad the nightmare scenario envisaged in I, Robot, in which Hollywood star Will Smith battles to save mankind from a robotic revolution, is some way off.
?A robot can?t be more than a computer,? Honda?s spokesman William De Braekeleer admitted. This is where we mark the difference between science fiction and science fact. Like your computer at home, if ASIMO doesn?t work, you just switch it off.? ASIMO represents more than 15 years of robotic evolution pioneered by Honda.
Two years ago it travelled with the Japanese prime minister to the Czech Republic as a goodwill envoy.
A more advanced version already exists which is capable of running at three kilometres an hour without falling over.
But Honda ultimately wants to make science fiction science fact by putting a fully-interactive robot for domestic use on the market within the next 15 years.
?It is an on-going research platform,? said Mr De Braekeleer.
?Every month we find new things to implement into ASIMO. In Japan, we have developed recognition technology where he can recognise faces, voices and sounds.
?You will be able to call him and he will look at you and you will be able to give him a verbal order.?
The main point of of ASIMO?s visit to Birmingham was to help excite youngsters to consider careers in engineering.
Graham Broome, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Industry Forum which is organising the summit, said: ?The automotive industry is being held back in the UK because of a lack of people with the right skills.
?If we can enthuse these youngsters at an early age - and also their teachers - there is more chance of them pursuing an engineering career.?