A number of ICT sector companies, including Google, Softbank in Japan and European firms are moving into robotics. South Korea is also a leader in this race, as described in an report published by the Korea Joongang Daily. In many respects, this is a natural outgrowth of developments in digital broadband networks and consumer electronics. The new digital and highly mobile networks that are transforming life around the world are naturally connected to all kinds of sensors and the growing "Internet of things." Anyone who has accessed images from a webcam or surveillance video camera, used a small robot to clean floors in an apartment, or controlled a thermostat remotely via their smart phone, can easily imagine the convenience and value of controlling an intelligent robot from a distance.
For Korea the move toward networked and service robots it is also a response to the overall demographic trend toward an older society. As shown in the accompanying graphic (click to see a full-size version), the greatest growth in the robotics industry here over the past several years is for personal service robots, in anticipation of a large market in the provision of personal services for elderly individuals.
The article provides a nice overview of some current developments in the robotics industry here and gives a sense of where South Korea fits in the global picture.