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A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine
Electromechanics
In engineering, electromechanics combines the sciences of electromagnetism, of electrical engineering and mechanics. Mechanical engineering in this context refers to the larger discipline which includes chemical engineering, and other related disciplines. Electrical engineering in this context...

 that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or remotely controlled. Robots range from humanoids such as ASIMO
ASIMO
is a humanoid robot created by Honda. Introduced in 2000, ASIMO, which is an acronym for "Advanced Step in Innovative MObility", was created to be a helper to people. With aspirations of helping people who lack full mobility, ASIMO is used to encourage young people to study science and mathematics...

 and TOPIO
TOPIO
TOPIO is a bipedal humanoid robot designed to play table tennis against a human being. It has been developed since 2005 by TOSY, a robotics firm in Vietnam. It was publicly demonstrated at the Tokyo International Robot Exhibition on November 28, 2007...

 to Nano robots
Nanorobotics
Nanorobotics is the emerging technology field of creating machines or robots whose components are at or close to the scale of a nanometer . More specifically, nanorobotics refers to the nanotechnology engineering discipline of designing and building nanorobots, with devices ranging in size from...

, Swarm robots
Swarm robotics
Swarm robotics is a new approach to the coordination of multirobot systems which consist of large numbers of mostly simple physical robots. It is supposed that a desired collective behavior emerges from the interactions between the robots and interactions of robots with the environment...

, Industrial robot
Industrial robot
An industrial robot is defined by ISO as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes...

s, mobile
Mobile robot
A mobile robot is an automatic machine that is capable of movement in a given environment.-Overview:Mobile robots have the capability to move around in their environment and are not fixed to one physical location...

 and servicing robots
Domestic robot
A domestic robot is a robot used for household chores. Thus far, there are only a few limited models, though science fiction writers and other speculators have suggested that they could become more common in the future...

. By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense that it has intent
Intention
Intention is an agent's specific purpose in performing an action or series of actions, the end or goal that is aimed at. Outcomes that are unanticipated or unforeseen are known as unintended consequences....

 or agency of its own. The branch of technology that deals with robots is robotics
Robotics
Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

.
When societies first began developing, nearly all production and effort was the result of human labour, as well as with the aid of semi- and fully domesticated animals. As mechanical means of performing functions were discovered, and mechanics and complex mechanisms were developed, the need for human labour was reduced. Machinery was initially used for repetitive functions, such as lifting water and grinding grain. With technological advances more complex machines were slowly developed, such as those invented by Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineerEnc. Britannica 2007, "Heron of Alexandria" who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt...

 (in Egypt) in the 1st century AD, and the first half of the second millennium AD, such as the Automata of Al-Jazari
Al-Jazari
Abū al-'Iz Ibn Ismā'īl ibn al-Razāz al-Jazarī was a Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer from Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, who lived during the Islamic Golden Age...

 in the 12th century AD (in medieval Iraq). They were not widely adopted as human labour, particularly slave labour, was still inexpensive compared to the capital-intensive machines. Men such as Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 in 1495 through to Jacques de Vaucanson
Jacques de Vaucanson
Jacques de Vaucanson was a French inventor and artist who was responsible for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom.-Early life:...

 in 1739, as well as rediscovering the Greek engineering
Ancient Greek technology
Ancient Greek technology developed at an unprecedented speed during the 5th century BC, continuing up to and including the Roman period, and beyond...

 methods, have made plans for and built automata and robots leading to books of designs such as the Japanese Karakuri zui (Illustrated Machinery) in 1796. As mechanical techniques developed through the Industrial age we find more practical applications such as Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer...

 in 1898, who designed a radio-controlled boat, and John Hammond Jr. and Benjamin Miessner who in 1912 created the Electric Dog as a precursor to their self directing torpedo of 1915.. We also find a more android development as designers tried to mimic more human-like features including designs such as those of biologist Makoto Nishimura in 1929 and his creation Gakutensoku
Gakutensoku
Gakutensoku , the first robot to be built in Japan, was created in Osaka in 1929. The robot was designed and manufactured by biologist Makoto Nishimura...

, which cried and changed its facial expressions, and the more crude Elektro
Elektro
Elektro is the nickname of a robot built by the Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Corporation in its Mansfield, Ohio facility between 1937 and 1938. Seven feet tall, weighing 265 pounds, humanoid in appearance, he could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words , smoke cigarettes, blow up...

 from Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1938.
Electronics then became the driving force of development instead of mechanics, with the advent of the first electronic autonomous robot
Autonomous robot
Autonomous robots are robots that can perform desired tasks in unstructured environments without continuous human guidance. Many kinds of robots have some degree of autonomy. Different robots can be autonomous in different ways...

s created by William Grey Walter
William Grey Walter
W. Grey Walter was a neurophysiologist and robotician.-Overview:Walter was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910. His ancestry was German/British on his father's side, and American/British on his mother's side. He was brought to England in 1915, and educated at Westminster School and afterwards...

 in Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, in 1948. The first digital and programmable robot was invented by George Devol
George Devol
George Charles Devol, Jr. was an American inventor who was awarded the patent for Unimate, the first industrial robot. Devol's patent for the first digitally operated programmable robotic arm represented the foundation of the modern robotics industry.As an inventor he had over 40 patents and was...

 in 1954 and was ultimately called the Unimate
Unimate
Unimate was the first industrial robot,which worked on a General Motors assembly line at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in Ewing Township, New Jersey, in 1961.It was created by George Devol in the 1950s using his original patents...

. Devol sold the first Unimate to General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 in 1960 where it was used to lift pieces of hot metal from die casting
Die casting
Die casting is a metal casting process that is characterized by forcing molten metal under high pressure into a mold cavity. The mold cavity is created using two hardened tool steel dies which have been machined into shape and work similarly to an injection mold during the process...

 machines in a plant in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913...

. Since then we have seen robots finally reach a more true assimilation of all technologies to produce robots such as ASIMO
ASIMO
is a humanoid robot created by Honda. Introduced in 2000, ASIMO, which is an acronym for "Advanced Step in Innovative MObility", was created to be a helper to people. With aspirations of helping people who lack full mobility, ASIMO is used to encourage young people to study science and mathematics...

 which can walk and move like a human. Robots have replaced slaves in the assistance of performing those repetitive and dangerous tasks which humans prefer not to do, or are unable to do due to size limitations, or even those such as in outer space or at the bottom of the sea where humans could not survive the extreme environments.
Man has developed an awareness of the problems associated with autonomous robots and how they may act in society. Fear of robot behaviour, such as Shelley
Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus . She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley...

's Frankenstein
Frankenstein
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel about a failed experiment that produced a monster, written by Mary Shelley, with inserts of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first...

 and the EATR
Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot
The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot is a project by Robotic Technology Inc. and Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. to develop a robotic vehicle that could forage for plant biomass to fuel itself, theoretically operating indefinitely...

, drive current practice in establishing what autonomy a robot should and should not be capable of. Thinking has developed through discussion of robot control and artificial intelligence (AI) and how its application should benefit society, such as those based around Asimov's three laws. Practicality still drives development forwards and robots are used in an increasingly wide variety of tasks such as vacuuming floors, mowing lawns, cleaning drains, investigating other planets, building cars, in entertainment and in warfare.

History


The idea of automata originates in the mythologies of many cultures around the world. Engineers and inventors from ancient civilizations, including Ancient China, Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, and Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt began when Ptolemy I Soter invaded Egypt and declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt in 305 BC and ended with the death of queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to...

, attempted to build self-operating machines, some resembling animals and humans. Early descriptions of automata include the artificial doves of Archytas
Archytas
Archytas was an Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist. He was a scientist of the Pythagorean school and famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato....

, the artificial birds of Mozi
Mozi
Mozi |Lat.]] as Micius, ca. 470 BC – ca. 391 BC), original name Mo Di , was a Chinese philosopher during the Hundred Schools of Thought period . Born in Tengzhou, Shandong Province, China, he founded the school of Mohism, and argued strongly against Confucianism and Daoism...

 and Lu Ban
Lu Ban
Lu Ban was a Chinese carpenter, engineer, philosopher, inventor, military thinker, statesman and contemporary of Mozi, born in the State of Lu, and is the patron Saint of Chinese builders and contractors. He was born in a renowned family during the Spring and Autumn Period when China was...

, a "speaking" automaton by Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineerEnc. Britannica 2007, "Heron of Alexandria" who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt...

, a washstand automaton by Philo of Byzantium
Philo of Byzantium
Philo of Byzantium , also known as Philo Mechanicus, was a Greek engineer and writer on mechanics, who lived during the latter half of the 3rd century BC...

, and a human automaton described in the Lie Zi.

Date Significance Robot name Inventor
1st century AD and earlier Descriptions of over a hundred machines and automata
Automaton
An automaton is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a robot, more specifically an autonomous robot. An alternative spelling, now obsolete, is automation.-Etymology:...

, including a fire engine, wind organ, coin-operated machine, and steam-powered aeliopile, in Pneumatica and Automata by Heron
Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineerEnc. Britannica 2007, "Heron of Alexandria" who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt...

Ctesibius, Philo
Philo of Byzantium
Philo of Byzantium , also known as Philo Mechanicus, was a Greek engineer and writer on mechanics, who lived during the latter half of the 3rd century BC...

, Heron
Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineerEnc. Britannica 2007, "Heron of Alexandria" who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt...

, and others
1206 Early programmable automata Robot band Al-Jazari
Al-Jazari
Abū al-'Iz Ibn Ismā'īl ibn al-Razāz al-Jazarī was a Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer from Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, who lived during the Islamic Golden Age...

c. 1495 Designs for a humanoid robot Mechanical knight
Leonardo's robot
Leonardo's robot refers to a humanoid automaton designed by Leonardo da Vinci around the year 1464, when Leonardo was 12 years old.The design notes for the robot appear in sketchbooks that were rediscovered in the 1950s. Leonardo displayed his "robot" at a celebration hosted by Duke Sforza at the...

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

1738 Mechanical duck that was able to eat, flap its wings, and excrete Digesting Duck
Digesting Duck
The Canard Digérateur, or Digesting Duck, was an automaton in the form of a duck, created by Jacques de Vaucanson in 1739. The mechanical duck appeared to have the ability to eat kernels of grain, and to metabolize and defecate them...

Jacques de Vaucanson
Jacques de Vaucanson
Jacques de Vaucanson was a French inventor and artist who was responsible for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom.-Early life:...

19th century Japanese mechanical toys that served tea, fired arrows, and painted Karakuri toys Hisashige Tanaka
Hisashige Tanaka
was a Japanese engineer and inventor during the late Edo and Meiji period Japan. He is one of the founders of what later became Toshiba Corporation. He has been called the "Thomas Edison of Japan" or Karakuri Giemon....

1898 radio controlled robot boats, Tesla demonstrated the vessels to a crowd in an indoor pool at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Telautomatons Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer...

1921 First fictional automata called "robots" appear in the play R.U.R. Rossum's Universal Robots Karel Čapek
Karel Capek
Karel Čapek was Czech writer of the 20th century.-Biography:Born in 1890 in the Bohemian mountain village of Malé Svatoňovice to an overbearing, emotional mother and a distant yet adored father, Čapek was the youngest of three siblings...

1928 Humanoid robot, based on a suit of armor with electrical actuators, exhibited at the annual exhibition of the Model Engineers Society in London Eric W. H. Richards
1930s Humanoid robot exhibited at the 1939 and 1940 World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

s
Elektro
Elektro
Elektro is the nickname of a robot built by the Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Corporation in its Mansfield, Ohio facility between 1937 and 1938. Seven feet tall, weighing 265 pounds, humanoid in appearance, he could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words , smoke cigarettes, blow up...

Westinghouse Electric Corporation
1948 Simple robots exhibiting biological behaviors Elsie and Elmer William Grey Walter
William Grey Walter
W. Grey Walter was a neurophysiologist and robotician.-Overview:Walter was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910. His ancestry was German/British on his father's side, and American/British on his mother's side. He was brought to England in 1915, and educated at Westminster School and afterwards...

1956 First commercial robot, from the Unimation company founded by George Devol
George Devol
George Charles Devol, Jr. was an American inventor who was awarded the patent for Unimate, the first industrial robot. Devol's patent for the first digitally operated programmable robotic arm represented the foundation of the modern robotics industry.As an inventor he had over 40 patents and was...

 and Joseph Engelberger
Joseph Engelberger
Joseph F. Engelberger is a physicist, engineer and entrepreneur who is referred to as the "Father of Robotics". Licensing the original patent awarded to inventor George Devol, Engelberger developed the first industrial robot in the United States, the Unimate, in the 1950s...

, based on Devol's patents
Unimate
Unimate
Unimate was the first industrial robot,which worked on a General Motors assembly line at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in Ewing Township, New Jersey, in 1961.It was created by George Devol in the 1950s using his original patents...

George Devol
George Devol
George Charles Devol, Jr. was an American inventor who was awarded the patent for Unimate, the first industrial robot. Devol's patent for the first digitally operated programmable robotic arm represented the foundation of the modern robotics industry.As an inventor he had over 40 patents and was...

1961 First installed industrial robot Unimate
Unimate
Unimate was the first industrial robot,which worked on a General Motors assembly line at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in Ewing Township, New Jersey, in 1961.It was created by George Devol in the 1950s using his original patents...

George Devol
George Devol
George Charles Devol, Jr. was an American inventor who was awarded the patent for Unimate, the first industrial robot. Devol's patent for the first digitally operated programmable robotic arm represented the foundation of the modern robotics industry.As an inventor he had over 40 patents and was...

1963 First palletizing robot Palletizer Fuji Yusoki Kogyo
1973 First robot with six electromechanically drived axes Famulus KUKA Robotics
KUKA
KUKA is a leading German producer of industrial robots for a variety of industries - from automotive and fabricated metals to food and plastics...

1976 Programmable universal manipulation arm, a Unimation product PUMA
Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly
The PUMA is an industrial robot arm developed by Victor Scheinman at pioneering robot company Unimation...

Victor Scheinman
Victor Scheinman
Victor Scheinman is a pioneer in the field of robotics. He is a graduate of the now-defunct New Lincoln High School in New York. In the late 1950s, and while in high school, Scheinman engineered a speech-to-text machine as a science fair project...



Ancient beginnings


Many ancient mythologies include artificial people, such as the mechanical servants built by the Greek god Hephaestus
Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

 (Vulcan
Vulcan (mythology)
Vulcan , aka Mulciber, is the god of beneficial and hindering fire, including the fire of volcanoes in ancient Roman religion and Roman Neopaganism. Vulcan is usually depicted with a thunderbolt. He is known as Sethlans in Etruscan mythology...

 to the Romans), the clay golem
Golem
In Jewish folklore, a golem is an animated anthropomorphic being, created entirely from inanimate matter. The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing....

s of Jewish legend and clay giants of Norse legend, and Galatea
Galatea (mythology)
-Name "Galatea":Though the name "Galatea" has become so firmly associated with Pygmalion's statue as to seem antique, its use in connection with Pygmalion originated with a post-classical writer. No extant ancient text mentions the statue's name...

, the mythical statue of Pygmalion
Pygmalion (mythology)
Pygmalion is a legendary figure of Cyprus. Though Pygmalion is the Greek version of the Phoenician royal name Pumayyaton, he is most familiar from Ovid's Metamorphoses, X, in which Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with a statue he had carved.-In Ovid:In Ovid's narrative, Pygmalion was a...

 that came to life.

Since cerca 400 BCE, myths of Crete that were incorporated into Greek mythology include Talos
Talos
In Greek mythology, Talos or Talon was a giant man of bronze who protected Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders by circling the island's shores three times daily while guarding it.- History :...

, a man of bronze who guarded the Cretian island of Europa from pirates.

In ancient Greece, the Greek engineer Ctesibius
Ctesibius
Ctesibius or Ktesibios or Tesibius was a Greek inventor and mathematician in Alexandria, Ptolemaic Egypt. He wrote the first treatises on the science of compressed air and its uses in pumps...

 (c. 270 BC) "applied a knowledge of pneumatics and hydraulics to produce the first organ and water clocks with moving figures." In the 4th century BC, the Greek
Greek mathematics
Greek mathematics, as that term is used in this article, is the mathematics written in Greek, developed from the 7th century BC to the 4th century AD around the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Greek mathematicians lived in cities spread over the entire Eastern Mediterranean, from Italy to...

 mathematician Archytas
Archytas
Archytas was an Ancient Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, and strategist. He was a scientist of the Pythagorean school and famous for being the reputed founder of mathematical mechanics, as well as a good friend of Plato....

 of Tarentum postulated a mechanical steam-operated bird he called "The Pigeon". Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria
Hero of Alexandria was an ancient Greek mathematician and engineerEnc. Britannica 2007, "Heron of Alexandria" who was active in his native city of Alexandria, Roman Egypt...

 , a Greek mathematician and inventor, created numerous user-configurable automated devices, and described machines powered by air pressure, steam and water.

In ancient China, the 3rd century BC text of the Lie Zi describes an account of humanoid automata, involving a much earlier encounter between King Mu of Zhou
King Mu of Zhou
King Mu of Zhou or King Mu of Chou or Mu Wang or Mu Wang was the fifth sovereign of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty. The dates of his reign are 976-922 BC or 956-918 BC.-Life:...

 (Chinese emperor 10th century BC) and a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an 'artificer'. The latter proudly presented the king with a life-size, human-shaped figure of his mechanical 'handiwork' made of leather, wood, and artificial organs. There are also accounts of flying automata in the Han Fei Zi and other texts, which attributes the 5th century BC Mohist
Mohism
Mohism or Moism was a Chinese philosophy developed by the followers of Mozi , 470 BC–c.391 BC...

 philosopher Mozi
Mozi
Mozi |Lat.]] as Micius, ca. 470 BC – ca. 391 BC), original name Mo Di , was a Chinese philosopher during the Hundred Schools of Thought period . Born in Tengzhou, Shandong Province, China, he founded the school of Mohism, and argued strongly against Confucianism and Daoism...

 and his contemporary Lu Ban
Lu Ban
Lu Ban was a Chinese carpenter, engineer, philosopher, inventor, military thinker, statesman and contemporary of Mozi, born in the State of Lu, and is the patron Saint of Chinese builders and contractors. He was born in a renowned family during the Spring and Autumn Period when China was...

 with the invention of artificial wooden birds (ma yuan) that could successfully fly. In 1066, the Chinese inventor Su Song
Su Song
Su Song was a renowned Chinese polymath who specialized himself as a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty .Su Song was the engineer of a...

 built a water clock
Water clock
A water clock or clepsydra is any timepiece in which time is measured by the regulated flow of liquid into or out from a vessel where the amount is then measured.Water clocks, along with sundials, are likely to be the oldest time-measuring instruments, with the only exceptions...

 in the form of a tower which featured mechanical figurines which chimed the hours. The beginning of automata is associated with the invention of early Su Song's astronomical clock tower
Su Song
Su Song was a renowned Chinese polymath who specialized himself as a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty .Su Song was the engineer of a...

 featured mechanical figurines that chimed the hours.

In the medieval Islamic world, Al-Jazari
Al-Jazari
Abū al-'Iz Ibn Ismā'īl ibn al-Razāz al-Jazarī was a Muslim polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer from Al-Jazira, Mesopotamia, who lived during the Islamic Golden Age...

 (1136–1206), a Muslim inventor during the Artuqid dynasty
Artuqid dynasty
The Artquids or Artuqid dynasty was a Turkmen dynasty that ruled in Eastern Anatolia, Northern Syria and Northern Iraq in the eleventh and twelfth centuries...

, designed and constructed a number of automated machines, including kitchen appliances, musical automata powered by water, and programmable automata. The robots appeared as four musicians on a boat in a lake, entertaining guests at royal drinking parties. His mechanism had a programmable drum machine with pegs (cam
Cam
A cam is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used especially in transforming rotary motion into linear motion or vice-versa. It is often a part of a rotating wheel or shaft that strikes a lever at one or more points on its circular path...

s) that bumped into little lever
Lever
In physics, a lever is a rigid object that is used with an appropriate fulcrum or pivot point to either multiply the mechanical force that can be applied to another object or resistance force , or multiply the distance and speed at which the opposite end of the rigid object travels.This leverage...

s that operated percussion instruments. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns by moving the pegs to different locations.

Early modern developments


In Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 Italy, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 (1452–1519) sketched plans for a humanoid robot around 1495. Da Vinci's notebooks, rediscovered in the 1950s, contained detailed drawings of a mechanical knight now known as Leonardo's robot
Leonardo's robot
Leonardo's robot refers to a humanoid automaton designed by Leonardo da Vinci around the year 1464, when Leonardo was 12 years old.The design notes for the robot appear in sketchbooks that were rediscovered in the 1950s. Leonardo displayed his "robot" at a celebration hosted by Duke Sforza at the...

, able to sit up, wave its arms and move its head and jaw. The design was probably based on anatomical research recorded in his Vitruvian Man
Vitruvian Man
The Vitruvian Man is a world-renowned drawing created by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1487. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the famed architect, Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and...

. It is not known whether he attempted to build it.

In Japan, complex animal and human automata were built between the 17th to 19th centuries, with many described in the 18th century Karakuri zui (Illustrated Machinery, 1796). One such automaton was the karakuri ningyō, a mechanized puppet
Puppet
A puppet is an inanimate object or representational figure animated or manipulated by an entertainer, who is called a puppeteer. It is used in puppetry, a play or a presentation that is a very ancient form of theatre....

. Different variations of the karakuri existed: the Butai karakuri, which were used in theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, the Zashiki karakuri, which were small and used in homes, and the Dashi karakuri which were used in religious festivals, where the puppets were used to perform reenactments of traditional myth
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

s and legend
Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

s.

In France, between 1738 and 1739, Jacques de Vaucanson
Jacques de Vaucanson
Jacques de Vaucanson was a French inventor and artist who was responsible for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom.-Early life:...

 exhibited several life-sized automatons: a flute player, a pipe player and a duck. The mechanical duck could flap its wings, crane its neck, and swallow food from the exhibitor's hand, and it gave the illusion of digesting its food by excreting matter stored in a hidden compartment.

Modern developments



The Japanese craftsman Hisashige Tanaka
Hisashige Tanaka
was a Japanese engineer and inventor during the late Edo and Meiji period Japan. He is one of the founders of what later became Toshiba Corporation. He has been called the "Thomas Edison of Japan" or Karakuri Giemon....

 (1799–1881), known as "Japan's Edison" or "Karakuri Giemon", created an array of extremely complex mechanical toys, some of which served tea, fired arrows drawn from a quiver, and even painted a Japanese kanji character. In 1898 Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer...

 publicly demonstrated a radio-controlled torpedo
Torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

. Based on patents for "teleautomation", Tesla hoped to develop it into a weapon system
Weapon system
Weapon System is a United States military term that designated, along with a weapon system number , military experimental systems prior to official naming Weapon System is a United States military term that designated, along with a weapon system number (e.g., WS-110), military experimental (MX)...

 for the US Navy.

In 1926, Westinghouse Electric Corporation created Televox, the first robot put to useful work. They followed Televox with a number of other simple robots, including one called Rastus, made in the crude image of a black man. In the 1930s, they created a humanoid robot known as Elektro for exhibition purposes, including the 1939 and 1940 World's Fair
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

s. In 1928, Japan's first robot, Gakutensoku
Gakutensoku
Gakutensoku , the first robot to be built in Japan, was created in Osaka in 1929. The robot was designed and manufactured by biologist Makoto Nishimura...

, was designed and constructed by biologist Makoto Nishimura.

The first electronic autonomous robots with complex behaviour were created by William Grey Walter
William Grey Walter
W. Grey Walter was a neurophysiologist and robotician.-Overview:Walter was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910. His ancestry was German/British on his father's side, and American/British on his mother's side. He was brought to England in 1915, and educated at Westminster School and afterwards...

 of the Burden Neurological Institute at Bristol, England in 1948 and 1949. They were named Elmer and Elsie. These robots could sense light and contact with external objects, and use these stimuli to navigate.

The first truly modern robot, digitally operated and programmable, was invented by George Devol in 1954 and was ultimately called the Unimate. Devol sold the first Unimate to General Motors
General Motors
General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

 in 1960, and it was installed in 1961 in a plant in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913...

 to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting
Die casting
Die casting is a metal casting process that is characterized by forcing molten metal under high pressure into a mold cavity. The mold cavity is created using two hardened tool steel dies which have been machined into shape and work similarly to an injection mold during the process...

 machine and stack them. Devol’s patent for the first digitally operated programmable robotic arm represents the foundation of the modern robotics industry.

Commercial and industrial robots are now in widespread use performing jobs more cheaply or with greater accuracy and reliability than humans. They are also employed for jobs which are too dirty, dangerous or dull to be suitable for humans. Robots are widely used in manufacturing, assembly and packing, transport, earth and space exploration, surgery, weaponry, laboratory research, and mass production of consumer and industrial goods.

Etymology




The word robot was introduced to the public by the Czech interwar writer Karel Čapek
Karel Capek
Karel Čapek was Czech writer of the 20th century.-Biography:Born in 1890 in the Bohemian mountain village of Malé Svatoňovice to an overbearing, emotional mother and a distant yet adored father, Čapek was the youngest of three siblings...

 in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)
R.U.R. is a 1920 science fiction play in the Czech language by Karel Čapek. R.U.R. stands for Rossum's Universal Robots, an English phrase used as the subtitle in the Czech original. It premiered in 1921 and introduced the word "robot" to the English language and to science fiction as a whole.The...

, published in 1920. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots, though they are closer to the modern ideas of androids, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. They can plainly think for themselves, though they seem happy to serve. At issue is whether the robots are being exploited
Exploitation
This article discusses the term exploitation in the meaning of using something in an unjust or cruel manner.- As unjust benefit :In political economy, economics, and sociology, exploitation involves a persistent social relationship in which certain persons are being mistreated or unfairly used for...

 and the consequences of their treatment.

Karel Čapek himself did not coin the word. He wrote a short letter in reference to an etymology
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 in the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

in which he named his brother, the painter and writer Josef Čapek
Josef Capek
Josef Čapek was a Czech artist who was best known as a painter, but who was also noted as a writer and a poet. He invented the word robot, which was introduced into literature by his brother, Karel Čapek.- Biography :...

, as its actual originator.

In an article in the Czech journal Lidové noviny
Lidové noviny
Lidové noviny is a daily newspaper published in the Czech Republic. It is the oldest Czech daily. Its profile is nowadays a national news daily covering political, economic, cultural and scientific affairs, mostly with a centre-right, conservative view...

in 1933, he explained that he had originally wanted to call the creatures laboři ("workers", from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 labor) or dělňasi (from Czech dělníci - "workers"). However, he did not like the word, and sought advice from his brother Josef, who suggested "roboti". The word robota means literally "corvée
Corvée
Corvée is unfree labour, often unpaid, that is required of people of lower social standing and imposed on them by the state or a superior . The corvée was the earliest and most widespread form of taxation, which can be traced back to the beginning of civilization...

", "serf labor", and figuratively "drudgery" or "hard work" in Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and also (more general) "work", "labor" in many Slavic languages
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 (e.g.: Slovak
Slovak
Slovak may refer to:* Related to, from, or belonging to the country of Slovakia* Slovaks, An ethnic sub-group of the Western Slavic people inhabiting the nation of Slovakia.* Slovak language...

, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, archaic Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

). Traditionally the robota was the work period a serf (corvée
Corvée
Corvée is unfree labour, often unpaid, that is required of people of lower social standing and imposed on them by the state or a superior . The corvée was the earliest and most widespread form of taxation, which can be traced back to the beginning of civilization...

) had to give for his lord, typically 6 months of the year. The origin of the word is the Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 rabota "servitude" ("work" in contemporary Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

 and Russian), which in turn comes from the Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 root *orbh-. Serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

 was outlawed in 1848 in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, so at the time Čapek wrote R.U.R., usage of the term robota had broadened to include various types of work, but the obsolete sense of "serfdom" would still have been known.
It is not clear from which language Čapek took the radix "robot(a)". This question is not irrelevant, because its answer could help to reveal an original Čapek´s conception
Conception
Conception, or a concept, is an abstract idea or a mental symbol.Conception may also refer to:* Conception, or fertilisation, the fusion of gametes to produce a new organism.* Conception , an album by Miles Davis...

 of robots. If from the modern Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 language, the notion of robot should be understood as an „automatic serf
SERF
A spin exchange relaxation-free magnetometer is a type of magnetometer developed at Princeton University in the early 2000s. SERF magnetometers measure magnetic fields by using lasers to detect the interaction between alkali metal atoms in a vapor and the magnetic field.The name for the technique...

“ (it means a subordinated creature without own will). If from Polish
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, Russian
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 or Slovak
Slovak
Slovak may refer to:* Related to, from, or belonging to the country of Slovakia* Slovaks, An ethnic sub-group of the Western Slavic people inhabiting the nation of Slovakia.* Slovak language...

 (Karel Čapek and his brother were frequent visitors of Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 which in this time was a part of Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, because their father MUDr. Antonín Čapek from 1916 worked as a physician in Trenčianske Teplice
Trencianske Teplice
Trenčianske Teplice is a health resort and small spa town in western Slovakia, in the valley of the river Teplička, at the foothills of the Strážovské vrchy mountains.-Characteristics:...

.), the word robot would simply mean a „worker“ which is a more universal and neutral notion. The aspect of pronunciation probably also played a role in Čapek's final decision: In non-Slavic languages it is more easily to pronounce a word robot than dělňas or laboř.

The word robotics
Robotics
Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

, used to describe this field of study, was coined by the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

. Asimov created the "Three Laws of Robotics
Three Laws of Robotics
The Three Laws of Robotics are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov and later added to. The rules are introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround", although they were foreshadowed in a few earlier stories...

" which are a recurring theme in his books. These have since been used by many others to define laws used in fact and fiction. Introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround
Runaround
"Runaround" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov, featuring his recurring characters Powell and Donovan. It was written in October 1941 and first published in the March 1942 issue of Astounding Science Fiction...

" the Laws state the following:

Definitions


The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual
Virtual
The term virtual is a concept applied in many fields with somewhat differing connotations, and also, differing denotations.The term has been defined in philosophy as "that which is not real" but may display the salient qualities of the real....

 software agent
Software agent
In computer science, a software agent is a piece of software that acts for a user or other program in a relationship of agency, which derives from the Latin agere : an agreement to act on one's behalf...

s, but the latter are usually referred to as bots
Internet bot
Internet bots, also known as web robots, WWW robots or simply bots, are software applications that run automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone...

. There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots but there is general agreement among experts, and the public, that robots tend to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical limb, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior — especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals.

There is no one definition of robot which satisfies everyone and many people have their own. For example Joseph Engelberger
Joseph Engelberger
Joseph F. Engelberger is a physicist, engineer and entrepreneur who is referred to as the "Father of Robotics". Licensing the original patent awarded to inventor George Devol, Engelberger developed the first industrial robot in the United States, the Unimate, in the 1950s...

, a pioneer in industrial robotics, once remarked: "I can't define a robot, but I know one when I see one." According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica a robot is "any automatically operated machine that replaces human effort, though it may not resemble human beings in appearance or perform functions in a humanlike manner". Merriam-Webster
Merriam-Webster
Merriam–Webster, which was originally the G. & C. Merriam Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, is an American company that publishes reference books, especially dictionaries that are descendants of Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language .Merriam-Webster Inc. has been a...

 describes a robot as a "machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being", or a "device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks", or a "mechanism guided by automatic controls".

Defining characteristics


While there is no single correct definition of "robot," a typical robot will have several, or possibly all, of the following characteristics.

It is an electric machine which has some ability to interact with physical objects and to be given electronic programming to do a specific task or to do a whole range of tasks or actions. It may also have some ability to perceive and absorb data on physical objects, or on its local physical environment, or to process data, or to respond to various stimuli. This is in contrast to a simple mechanical device such as a gear
Gear
A gear is a rotating machine part having cut teeth, or cogs, which mesh with another toothed part in order to transmit torque. Two or more gears working in tandem are called a transmission and can produce a mechanical advantage through a gear ratio and thus may be considered a simple machine....

 or a hydraulic press
Hydraulic press
A hydraulic is a machine using a hydraulic cylinder to generate a compressive force. It uses the hydraulic equivalenta mechanical lever, and was also known as a Bramah press after the inventor, Joseph Bramah, of England. He invented and was issued a patent on this press in 1795...

 or any other item which has no processing ability and which does tasks through purely mechanical
Mechanics
Mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements, and the subsequent effects of the bodies on their environment....

 processes and motion.

Mental agency
For robotic engineers, the physical appearance of a machine is less important than the way its actions are controlled
Control system
A control system is a device, or set of devices to manage, command, direct or regulate the behavior of other devices or system.There are two common classes of control systems, with many variations and combinations: logic or sequential controls, and feedback or linear controls...

. The more the control system seems to have agency of its own, the more likely the machine is to be called a robot. An important feature of agency is the ability to make choices. Higher-level cognitive functions, though, are not necessary, as shown by ant robots
Ant robotics
Ant robotics is a special case of swarm robotics. Swarm robots are simple and cheap robots with limited sensing and computational capabilities. This makes it feasible to deploy teams of swarm robots and take advantage of the resulting fault tolerance and parallelism. Swarm robots cannot use...

.
  • A clockwork
    Clockwork
    A clockwork is the inner workings of either a mechanical clock or a device that operates in a similar fashion. Specifically, the term refers to a mechanical device utilizing a complex series of gears....

     car is never considered a robot.
  • A mechanical device able to perform some preset motions but with no ability to adapt (an automaton
    Automaton
    An automaton is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a robot, more specifically an autonomous robot. An alternative spelling, now obsolete, is automation.-Etymology:...

    ) is rarely considered a robot.
  • A remotely operated vehicle is sometimes considered a robot (or telerobot
    Telerobotics
    Telerobotics is the area of robotics concerned with the control of robots from a distance, chiefly using wireless connections , "tethered" connections, or the Internet...

    ).
  • A car with an onboard computer, like Bigtrak
    Bigtrak
    BIG TRAK / bigtrak was a programmable electric vehicle created by Milton Bradley in 1979.It was a six-wheeled tank with a front-mounted blue photon beam headlamp, and a keypad on top. The toy could remember up to 16 commands which it then executed in sequence such as "go forward 5 lengths",...

    , which could drive in a programmable sequence, might be called a robot.
  • A self-controlled car
    Smart car
    Smart car may refer to:*Intelligent car, a car with artificial intelligence*Smart , the automobile brand...

     which could sense its environment and make driving decisions based on this information, such as the 1990s driverless car
    Driverless car
    An autonomous car, also known as robotic or informally as driverless, is an autonomous vehicle capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. As an autonomous vehicle, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating on its own...

    s of Ernst Dickmanns
    Ernst Dickmanns
    Ernst Dieter Dickmanns is a former professor at Bundeswehr University Munich , and a pioneer of dynamic computer vision and of driverless cars. Dickmanns has been visiting professor to CalTech, Pasadena, and to MIT, Boston teaching courses on 'dynamic vision'.- Biography :Dickmanns was born in 1936...

     or the entries in the DARPA Grand Challenge
    DARPA Grand Challenge
    The DARPA Grand Challenge is a prize competition for driverless vehicles, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the most prominent research organization of the United States Department of Defense...

    , would quite likely be called a robot.
  • A sentient
    Sentience
    Sentience is the ability to feel, perceive or be conscious, or to have subjective experiences. Eighteenth century philosophers used the concept to distinguish the ability to think from the ability to feel . In modern western philosophy, sentience is the ability to have sensations or experiences...

     car, like the fictional KITT
    KITT
    KITT is the short name of two fictional characters from the adventure TV series Knight Rider. While having the same acronym, the KITTs are two different entities: one known as the Knight Industries Two Thousand, which appeared in the original TV series Knight Rider, and the other as the Knight...

    , which can make decisions, navigate freely and converse fluently with a human, is usually considered a robot.


Physical agency
However, for many laymen
Layman
A layperson or layman is a person who is not an expert in a given field of knowledge. The term originally meant a member of the laity, i.e. a non-clergymen, but over the centuries shifted in definition....

, if a machine appears able to control its arms or limbs, and especially if it appears anthropomorphic or zoomorphic (e.g. ASIMO
ASIMO
is a humanoid robot created by Honda. Introduced in 2000, ASIMO, which is an acronym for "Advanced Step in Innovative MObility", was created to be a helper to people. With aspirations of helping people who lack full mobility, ASIMO is used to encourage young people to study science and mathematics...

 or Aibo
AIBO
AIBO was one of several types of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony...

), it would be called a robot.
  • A player piano
    Player piano
    A player piano is a self-playing piano, containing a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano action via pre-programmed music perforated paper, or in rare instances, metallic rolls. The rise of the player piano grew with the rise of the mass-produced piano for the home in...

     is rarely characterized as a robot.
  • A CNC milling machine is very occasionally characterized as a robot.
  • A factory automation arm is almost always characterized as an industrial robot.
  • An autonomous wheeled or tracked device, such as a self-guided rover or self-guided vehicle, is almost always characterized as a mobile robot or service robot.
  • A zoomorphic mechanical toy, like Roboraptor
    Roboraptor
    Roboraptor is a robotic toy invented by Mark Tilden and distributed by Wow Wee Toys International. It is the successor to the RoboSapien robot and uses motion technology based on realistic biomechanics that give it fluid and natural movements. It has a multi-function remote control that uses...

    , is usually characterized as a robot.
  • A mechanical humanoid, like ASIMO
    ASIMO
    is a humanoid robot created by Honda. Introduced in 2000, ASIMO, which is an acronym for "Advanced Step in Innovative MObility", was created to be a helper to people. With aspirations of helping people who lack full mobility, ASIMO is used to encourage young people to study science and mathematics...

    , is almost always characterized as a robot, usually as a service robot.


Even for a 3-axis CNC milling machine using the same control system as a robot arm, it is the arm which is almost always called a robot, while the CNC machine is usually just a machine. Having eyes can also make a difference in whether a machine is called a robot, since humans instinctively connect eyes with sentience. However, simply being anthropomorphic is not a sufficient criterion for something to be called a robot. A robot must do something; an inanimate object shaped like ASIMO would not be considered a robot.

Modern robots



Mobile robot



Mobile robots have the capability to move around in their environment and are not fixed to one physical location. An example of a mobile robot that is in common use today is the automated guided vehicle or automatic guided vehicle (AGV). An AGV is a mobile robot that follows markers or wires in the floor, or uses vision or lasers. AGVs are discussed later in this article.

Mobile robots are also found in industry, military and security environments. They also appear as consumer products, for entertainment or to perform certain tasks like vacuum cleaning. Mobile robots are the focus of a great deal of current research and almost every major university has one or more labs that focus on mobile robot research.

Modern robots are usually used in tightly controlled environments such as on assembly line
Assembly line
An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added to a product in a sequential manner using optimally planned logistics to create a finished product much faster than with handcrafting-type methods...

s because they have difficulty responding to unexpected interference. Because of this most humans rarely encounter robots. However domestic robot
Domestic robot
A domestic robot is a robot used for household chores. Thus far, there are only a few limited models, though science fiction writers and other speculators have suggested that they could become more common in the future...

s for cleaning and maintenance are increasingly common in and around homes in developed countries. Robots can also be found in military
Military robot
Military robots are autonomous robots or remote-controlled devices designed for military applications.Such systems are currently being researched by a number of militaries.-History:...

 applications.

Industrial robots (manipulating)



Industrial robots usually consist of a jointed arm (multi-linked manipulator) and an end effector
Robot end effector
In robotics, an end effector is the device at the end of a robotic arm, designed to interact with the environment. The exact nature of this device depends on the application of the robot....

 that is attached to a fixed surface. One of the most common type of end effector is a gripper assembly.

The International Organization for Standardization
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization , widely known as ISO, is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization promulgates worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial...

 gives a definition of a manipulating industrial robot in ISO 8373
ISO 8373
ISO 8373 Manipulating industrial robots – VocabularyIt is the ISO standard that Defines terms relevant to manipulating industrial robots operated in a manufacturing environment.-References:*...

:

"an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose, manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications."

This definition is used by the International Federation of Robotics
International Federation of Robotics
The International Federation of Robotics was established in 1987 in connection with the 17th International Symposium on Robotics as a professional not-for-profit organisation by robotics organisations and associations from over 15 countries....

, the European Robotics Research Network (EURON) and many national standards committees.


Service robot



Most commonly industrial robots are fixed robotic arms and manipulators used primarily for production and distribution of goods. The term "service robot" is less well-defined. IFR has proposed a tentative definition, "A service robot is a robot which operates semi- or fully autonomously to perform services useful to the well-being of humans and equipment, excluding manufacturing operations."

Modular robot



Modular robots is a new breed of robots that are designed to increase the utilization of the robots by modularizing the robots. The functionality and effectiveness of a modular robot is easier to increase compared to conventional robots.

Robots in society


Roughly half of all the robots in the world are in Asia, 32% in Europe, and 16% in North America, 1% in Australasia
Australasia
Australasia is a region of Oceania comprising Australia, New Zealand, the island of New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes...

 and 1% in Africa. 30% of all the robots in the world are in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, making Japan the country with the highest number of robots.

Regional perspectives


In Japan and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, ideas of future robots have been mainly positive, and the start of the pro-robotic society there is thought to be possibly due to the famous 'Astro Boy'. Asian societies such as Japan, South Korea, and more recently, China, believe robots to be more equal to humans, having them care for old people, play with or teach children, or replace pets etc. The general view in Asian cultures is that the more robots advance, the better.

"This is the opening of an era in which human beings and robots can co-exist," says Japanese firm Mitsubishi about one of the many humanistic robots in Japan. South Korea aims to put a robot in every house there by 2015-2020 in order to help catch up technologically with Japan.

Western societies are more likely to be against, or even fear the development of robotics, through much media output in movies and literature that they will replace humans. Some believe that the West regards robots as a 'threat' to the future of humans, partly due to religious beliefs about the role of humans and society. Obviously, these boundaries are not clear, but there is a significant difference between the two cultural viewpoints.

Autonomy and ethical questions




As robots have become more advanced and sophisticated, experts and academics have increasingly explored the questions of what ethics might govern robots' behavior, and whether robots might be able to claim any kind of social, cultural, ethical or legal rights. One scientific team has said that it is possible that a robot brain will exist by 2019. Others predict robot intelligence breakthroughs by 2050. Recent advances have made robotic behavior more sophisticated. The social impact of intelligent robots is subject of a 2010 documentary film called Plug & Pray
Plug & Pray
Plug & Pray is a 2010 documentary film about the promise, problems and ethics of artificial intelligence and robotics. The main protagonists are the former MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum and the futurist Raymond Kurzweil.- Synopsis :...

.

Vernor Vinge
Vernor Vinge
Vernor Steffen Vinge is a retired San Diego State University Professor of Mathematics, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels and novellas A Fire Upon the Deep , A Deepness in the Sky , Rainbows End , Fast Times at Fairmont High ...

 has suggested that a moment may come when computers and robots are smarter than humans. He calls this "the Singularity
Technological singularity
Technological singularity refers to the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human intelligence through technological means. Since the capabilities of such an intelligence would be difficult for an unaided human mind to comprehend, the occurrence of a technological singularity is seen as...

". He suggests that it may be somewhat or possibly very dangerous for humans. This is discussed by a philosophy called Singularitarianism
Singularitarianism
Singularitarianism is a technocentric ideology and social movement defined by the belief that a technological singularity—the creation of a superintelligence—will likely happen in the medium future, and that deliberate action ought to be taken to ensure that the Singularity benefits...

.

In 2009, experts attended a conference hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence
The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence or AAAI is an international, nonprofit, scientific society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines...

 (AAAI) to discuss whether computers and robots might be able to acquire any autonomy, and how much these abilities might pose a threat or hazard. They noted that some robots have acquired various forms of semi-autonomy, including being able to find power sources on their own and being able to independently choose targets to attack with weapons. They also noted that some computer viruses can evade elimination and have achieved "cockroach intelligence." They noted that self-awareness as depicted in science-fiction is probably unlikely, but that there were other potential hazards and pitfalls. Various media sources and scientific groups have noted separate trends in differing areas which might together result in greater robotic functionalities and autonomy, and which pose some inherent concerns.

Military robots


Some experts and academics have questioned the use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions. There are also concerns about technology which might allow some armed robots to be controlled mainly by other robots.
The US Navy has funded a report which indicates that as military robots become more complex, there should be greater attention to implications of their ability to make autonomous decisions. One researcher states that autonomous robots might be more humane, as they could make decisions more effectively. However, other experts question this.

Some public concerns about autonomous robots have received media attention. One robot in particular, the EATR
Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot
The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot is a project by Robotic Technology Inc. and Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. to develop a robotic vehicle that could forage for plant biomass to fuel itself, theoretically operating indefinitely...

, has generated concerns over its fuel source as it can continually refuel itself using organic substances. Although the engine for the EATR is designed to run on biomass
Biomass
Biomass, as a renewable energy source, is biological material from living, or recently living organisms. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel....

 and vegetation specifically selected by its sensors which can find on battlefields or other local environments the project has stated that chicken fat can also be used.

Contemporary uses



At present there are two main types of robots, based on their use: general-purpose autonomous robots
Humanoid robot
A humanoid robot or an anthropomorphic robot is a robot with its overall appearance, based on that of the human body, allowing interaction with made-for-human tools or environments. In general humanoid robots have a torso with a head, two arms and two legs, although some forms of humanoid robots...

 and dedicated robots.

Robots can be classified by their specificity
Sensitivity and specificity
Sensitivity and specificity are statistical measures of the performance of a binary classification test, also known in statistics as classification function. Sensitivity measures the proportion of actual positives which are correctly identified as such Sensitivity and specificity are statistical...

 of purpose. A robot might be designed to perform one particular task extremely well, or a range of tasks less well. Of course, all robots by their nature can be re-programmed to behave differently, but some are limited by their physical form. For example, a factory robot arm can perform jobs such as cutting, welding, gluing, or acting as a fairground ride, while a pick-and-place robot can only populate printed circuit boards.

General-purpose autonomous robots



General-purpose autonomous robots can perform a variety of functions independently. General-purpose autonomous robots typically can navigate independently in known spaces, handle their own re-charging needs, interface with electronic doors and elevators and perform other basic tasks. Like computers, general-purpose robots can link with networks, software and accessories that increase their usefulness. They may recognize people or objects, talk, provide companionship, monitor environmental quality, respond to alarms, pick up supplies and perform other useful tasks. General-purpose robots may perform a variety of functions simultaneously or they may take on different roles at different times of day. Some such robots try to mimic human beings and may even resemble people in appearance; this type of robot is called a humanoid robot. Humanoid robots are still in a very limited stage, as no humanoid robot, can, as of yet, actually navigate around a room that it has never been in. Thus humanoid robots are really quite limited, despite their intelligent behaviors in their well-known environments.

Factory robots


Car production
Automaker
The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells motor vehicles, and is one of the world's most important economic sectors by revenue....


Over the last three decades automobile factories have become dominated by robots. A typical factory contains hundreds of industrial robot
Industrial robot
An industrial robot is defined by ISO as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes...

s working on fully automated production lines, with one robot for every ten human workers. On an automated production line, a vehicle chassis on a conveyor is welded
Welding
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes...

, glued
Adhesive
An adhesive, or glue, is a mixture in a liquid or semi-liquid state that adheres or bonds items together. Adhesives may come from either natural or synthetic sources. The types of materials that can be bonded are vast but they are especially useful for bonding thin materials...

, painted and finally assembled at a sequence of robot stations.
Packaging
Industrial robots are also used extensively for palletizing and packaging of manufactured goods, for example for rapidly taking drink cartons from the end of a conveyor belt and placing them into boxes, or for loading and unloading machining centers.

Electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...


Mass-produced printed circuit board
Printed circuit board
A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive pathways, tracks or signal traces etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. It is also referred to as printed wiring board or etched wiring...

s (PCBs) are almost exclusively manufactured by pick-and-place robots, typically with SCARA
SCARA
The SCARA acronym stands for Selective Compliant Assembly Robot Arm or Selective Compliant Articulated Robot Arm.In 1981, Sankyo Seiki, Pentel and NEC presented a completely new concept for assembly robots. The robot was developed under the guidance of Hiroshi Makino, a professor at the University...

 manipulators, which remove tiny electronic component
Electronic component
An electronic component is a basic electronic element and may be available in a discrete form having two or more electrical terminals . These are intended to be connected together, usually by soldering to a printed circuit board, in order to create an electronic circuit with a particular function...

s from strips or trays, and place them on to PCBs with great accuracy. Such robots can place hundreds of thousands of components per hour, far out-performing a human in speed, accuracy, and reliability.

Automated guided vehicle
Automated Guided Vehicle
An automated guided vehicle or automatic guided vehicle is a mobile robot that follows markers or wires in the floor, or uses vision or lasers. They are most often used in industrial applications to move materials around a manufacturing facility or a warehouse...

s (AGVs)
Mobile robots, following markers or wires in the floor, or using vision or lasers, are used to transport goods around large facilities, such as warehouses, container ports, or hospitals.
Early AGV-Style Robots
Limited to tasks that could be accurately defined and had to be performed the same way every time. Very little feedback or intelligence was required, and the robots needed only the most basic exteroceptors (sensors). The limitations of these AGVs are that their paths are not easily altered and they cannot alter their paths if obstacles block them. If one AGV breaks down, it may stop the entire operation.

Interim AGV-Technologies
Developed to deploy triangulation from beacons or bar code grids for scanning on the floor or ceiling. In most factories, triangulation systems tend to require moderate to high maintenance, such as daily cleaning of all beacons or bar codes. Also, if a tall pallet or large vehicle blocks beacons or a bar code is marred, AGVs may become lost. Often such AGVs are designed to be used in human-free environments.

Intelligent AGVs (i-AGVs)

Such as SmartLoader, SpeciMinder, ADAM, Tug Eskorta, and MT 400 with Motivity are designed for people-friendly workspaces. They navigate by recognizing natural features. 3D scanner
3D scanner
A 3D scanner is a device that analyzes a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance . The collected data can then be used to construct digital, three dimensional models....

s or other means of sensing the environment in two or three dimensions help to eliminate cumulative errors
Observational error
Observational error is the difference between a measured value of quantity and its true value. In statistics, an error is not a "mistake". Variability is an inherent part of things being measured and of the measurement process.-Science and experiments:...

 in dead-reckoning
Dead reckoning
In navigation, dead reckoning is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously determined position, or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time, and course...

 calculations of the AGV's current position. Some AGVs can create maps of their environment using scanning lasers with simultaneous localization and mapping
Simultaneous localization and mapping
Simultaneous localization and mapping is a technique used by robots and autonomous vehicles to build up a map within an unknown environment , or to update a map within a known environment , while at the same time keeping track of their current location.- Operational definition :Maps are used...

 (SLAM) and use those maps to navigate in real time with other path planning and obstacle avoidance algorithms. They are able to operate in complex environments and perform non-repetitive and non-sequential tasks such as transporting photomask
Photomask
A photomask is an opaque plate with holes or transparencies that allow light to shine through in a defined pattern. They are commonly used in photolithography.-Overview:...

s in a semiconductor lab, specimens in hospitals and goods in warehouses. For dynamic areas, such as warehouses full of pallets, AGVs require additional strategies using three-dimensional sensors such as time-of-flight or stereovision cameras.

Dirty, dangerous, dull or inaccessible tasks


There are many jobs which humans would rather leave to robots. The job may be boring, such as domestic cleaning, or dangerous, such as exploring inside a volcano
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

. Other jobs are physically inaccessible, such as exploring another planet
Planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

, cleaning the inside of a long pipe, or performing laparoscopic surgery.

Space probe
Space probe
A robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe. Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to...

s
Almost every unmanned space probe ever launched was a robot. Some were launched in the 1960s with very limited abilities, but their ability to fly and land (in the case of Luna 9
Luna 9
Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union's Luna program. On February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on any planetary body other than Earth and to transmit photographic data to Earth.The automatic lunar station that achieved the...

) is an indication of their status as a robot. This includes the Voyager probes and the Galileo probes, and others.

Telerobots
Telerobotics
Telerobotics is the area of robotics concerned with the control of robots from a distance, chiefly using wireless connections , "tethered" connections, or the Internet...


When a human cannot be present on site to perform a job because it is dangerous, far away, or inaccessible, teleoperated robots, or telerobots are used. Rather than following a predetermined sequence of movements, a telerobot is controlled from a distance by a human operator. The robot may be in another room or another country, or may be on a very different scale to the operator. For instance, a laparoscopic surgery robot allows the surgeon to work inside a human patient on a relatively small scale compared to open surgery, significantly shortening recovery time. When disabling a bomb, the operator sends a small robot to disable it. Several authors have been using a device called the Longpen to sign books remotely. Teleoperated robot aircraft, like the Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...

, are increasingly being used by the military. These pilotless drones can search terrain and fire on targets. Hundreds of robots such as iRobot
IRobot
iRobot Corporation is an American advanced technology company founded in 1990 and incorporated in Delaware in 2000, the iRobot Corporation designs robots such as an autonomous home vacuum cleaner , the Scooba that scrubs and cleans hard floors, and military and police robots, such as the PackBot...

's Packbot
PackBot
PackBot is a series of military robots by iRobot. More than 2000 PackBots are currently on station in Iraq and Afghanistan, with hundreds more on the way.-Current PackBot 510 variants:...

 and the Foster-Miller TALON
Foster-Miller TALON
The Foster-Miller TALON robot is a small, tracked military robot designed for missions ranging from reconnaissance to combat. Over 3000 TALON robots have been deployed to combat theaters. -Overview:...

 are being used in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 by the U.S. military
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 to defuse roadside bombs or improvised explosive device
Improvised explosive device
An improvised explosive device , also known as a roadside bomb, is a homemade bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action...

s (IEDs) in an activity known as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).

Automated fruit harvesting machines

Used to pick fruit on orchards at a cost lower than that of human pickers.

In the home
As prices fall and robots become smarter and more autonomous, simple robots dedicated to a single task work in over a million homes. They are taking on simple but unwanted jobs, such as vacuum cleaning
Vacuum cleaner
A vacuum cleaner, commonly referred to as a "vacuum," is a device that uses an air pump to create a partial vacuum to suck up dust and dirt, usually from floors, and optionally from other surfaces as well. The dirt is collected by either a dustbag or a cyclone for later disposal...

 and floor washing
Scooba
Scooba is an automated robotic floor washer produced by iRobot. It was released in limited numbers in December 2005 for the Christmas season with full production starting in early 2006...

, and lawn mowing
Lawn mower
A lawn mower is a machine that uses a revolving blade or blades to cut a lawn at an even length.Lawn mowers employing a blade that rotates about a vertical axis are known as rotary mowers, while those employing a blade assembly that rotates about a horizontal axis are known as cylinder or reel...

. Some find these robots to be cute and entertaining, which is one reason that they can sell very well.

Duct cleaning
Duct (HVAC)
Ducts are used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning to deliver and remove air. These needed airflows include, for example, supply air, return air, and exhaust air. Ducts also deliver, most commonly as part of the supply air, ventilation air...



In the hazardous and tight spaces of a building's duct work, many hours can be spent cleaning relatively small areas if a manual brush is used. Robots have been used by many duct cleaners primarily in the industrial and institutional cleaning markets, as they allow the job to be done faster, without exposing workers to the harmful enzymes released by dust mites. For cleaning high-security institutions such as embassies and prisons, duct cleaning robots are vital, as they allow the job to be completed without compromising the security of the institution. Hospitals and other government buildings with hazardous and cancerogenic environments such as nuclear reactors legally must be cleaned using duct cleaning robots, in countries such as Canada, in an effort to improve workplace safety in duct cleaning.

Military robots



Military robots include the SWORDS robot which is currently used in ground-based combat. It can use a variety of weapons and there is some discussion of giving it some degree of autonomy in battleground situations.

Unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs), which are an upgraded form of UAVs, can do a wide variety of missions, including combat. UCAVs are being designed such as the Mantis UCAV which would have the ability to fly themselves, to pick their own course and target, and to make most decisions on their own. The BAE Taranis
BAE Taranis
The BAE Systems Taranis is a British demonstrator program for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle technology. A semi-autonomous unmanned warplane, it is designed to fly intercontinental missions, and will carry a variety of weapons, enabling it to attack both aerial and ground targets...

 is a UCAV built by Great Britain which can fly across continents without a pilot and has new means to avoid detection. Flight trials are expected to begin in 2011.

The AAAI has studied this topic in depth and its president has commissioned a study to look at this issue.

Some have suggested a need to build "Friendly AI", meaning that the advances which are already occurring with AI should also include an effort to make AI intrinsically friendly and humane. Several such measures reportedly already exist, with robot-heavy countries such as Japan and South Korea having begun to pass regulations requiring robots to be equipped with safety systems, and possibly sets of 'laws' akin to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics
Three Laws of Robotics
The Three Laws of Robotics are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov and later added to. The rules are introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround", although they were foreshadowed in a few earlier stories...

. An official report was issued in 2009 by the Japanese government's Robot Industry Policy Committee. Chinese officials and researchers have issued a report suggesting a set of ethical rules, and a set of new legal guidelines referred to as "Robot Legal Studies." Some concern has been expressed over a possible occurrence of robots telling apparent falsehoods.

Schools


Robotics at school has three main applications, Robotic kits, Virtual tutors, and teacher's assistants.
Robotic kits
Robotic kits, as Lego Mindstorms or BotBrain Educational Robots, help children to learn about mathematics, physics, programming and electronics.

Robotics have also been introduced into the lives of elementary and high school students with the company FIRST
First
First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one.First or 1st may also refer to:* First , minor summit below the Schwarzhorn in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland* First , mountain in Bernese Alps in Switzerland...

 (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The organization is the foundation for the FIRST Robotics Competition
FIRST Robotics Competition
The FIRST Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics competition organized by FIRST. Each year, teams of high school students compete to build robots weighing up to , not including battery and bumpers, that can complete a task, which changes every year...

, FIRST LEGO League
FIRST Lego League
The FIRST® LEGO® League is an international competition organized by FIRST for elementary and middle school students ....

, Junior FIRST LEGO League
Junior FIRST Lego League
Junior FIRST LEGO League is a non-competitive robotics program designed for children ages six to nine. It is one of the programs established by FIRST.Jr.FLL follows the same topics given to FIRST LEGO League...

, and FIRST Tech Challenge
FIRST Tech Challenge
The FIRST Tech Challenge , formerly the FIRST Vex Challenge , is a mid-level robotics competition targeted toward high-school aged students. It offers the traditional challenge of a FIRST Robotics competition but with a more accessible and affordable robotics kit...

 competitions.

Virtual tutors
Virtual tutors are some kind of embodied agent that helps children to do their homework, for example, on peer to peer basis.

Teacher assistants
Robots as teacher assistants let children to be more assertive during the class and get more motivated. South Korea is the first country deploying a program to have a robot in each school.

Healthcare


Robots in healthcare have two main functions. Those which assist an individual, such as a sufferer of a disease like Multiple Sclerosis, and those which aid in the overall systems such as pharmacies and hospitals.

Home automation for the elderly and disabled
Home automation for the elderly and disabled
The form of home automation called assistive domotics focuses on making it possible for the elderly and disabled to remain at home, safe and comfortable. Home automation is becoming a viable option for the elderly and disabled who would prefer to stay in the comfort of their homes rather than move...


Robots have developed over time from simple basic robotic assistants, such as the Handy 1, through to semi-autonomous robots, such as FRIEND
Care-Providing Robot FRIEND
The care-providing robotic system FRIEND is a semi-autonomous robot designed to support disabled and elderly people in their daily life activities, like preparing and serving a meal, or reintegration in professional life. FRIEND make it possible for such people, e.g...

 which can assist the elderly and disabled with common tasks.

The population is aging in many countries, especially Japan, meaning that there are increasing numbers of elderly people to care for, but relatively fewer young people to care for them. Humans make the best carers, but where they are unavailable, robots are gradually being introduced.

FRIEND is a semi-autonomous robot designed to support disabled
Disability
A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

 and elderly
Old age
Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle...

 people in their daily life activities, like preparing and serving a meal. FRIEND make it possible for patients who are paraplegic
Paraplegia
Paraplegia is an impairment in motor or sensory function of the lower extremities. The word comes from Ionic Greek: παραπληγίη "half-striking". It is usually the result of spinal cord injury or a congenital condition such as spina bifida that affects the neural elements of the spinal canal...

, have muscle diseases or serious paralysis
Paralysis
Paralysis is loss of muscle function for one or more muscles. Paralysis can be accompanied by a loss of feeling in the affected area if there is sensory damage as well as motor. A study conducted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, suggests that about 1 in 50 people have been diagnosed...

 (due to strokes etc.), to perform tasks without help from other people like therapists or nursing staff.

Pharmacies
Script Pro manufactures a robot designed to help pharmacies fill prescriptions that consist of oral solids or medications in pill form. The pharmacist
Pharmacist
Pharmacists are allied health professionals who practice in pharmacy, the field of health sciences focusing on safe and effective medication use...

 or pharmacy technician
Pharmacy technician
A pharmacy technician, also sometimes known as a pharmaceutical technician, is a health care worker who performs pharmacy related functions, generally working under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist or other health professional...

 enters the prescription information into its information system. The system, upon determining whether or not the drug is in the robot, will send the information to the robot for filling. The robot has 3 different size vials to fill determined by the size of the pill. The robot technician, user, or pharmacist determines the needed size of the vial based on the tablet when the robot is stocked. Once the vial is filled it is brought up to a conveyor belt that delivers it to a holder that spins the vial and attaches the patient label. Afterwards it is set on another conveyor that delivers the patient’s medication vial to a slot labeled with the patient's name on an LED read out. The pharmacist or technician then checks the contents of the vial to ensure it’s the correct drug for the correct patient and then seals the vials and sends it out front to be picked up. The robot is a very time efficient device that the pharmacy depends on to fill prescriptions.

McKesson’s Robot RX is another healthcare robotics product that helps pharmacies dispense thousands of medications daily with little or no errors. The robot can be ten feet wide and thirty feet long and can hold hundreds of different kinds of medications and thousands of doses. The pharmacy saves many resources like staff members that are otherwise unavailable in a resource scarce industry. It uses an electromechanical
Electromechanics
In engineering, electromechanics combines the sciences of electromagnetism, of electrical engineering and mechanics. Mechanical engineering in this context refers to the larger discipline which includes chemical engineering, and other related disciplines. Electrical engineering in this context...

 head coupled with a pneumatic
Pneumatics
Pneumatics is a branch of technology, which deals with the study and application of use of pressurized gas to effect mechanical motion.Pneumatic systems are extensively used in industry, where factories are commonly plumbed with compressed air or compressed inert gases...

 system to capture each dose and deliver it to its either stocked or dispensed location. The head moves along a single axis while it rotates 180 degrees to pull the medications. During this process it uses barcode
Barcode
A barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows data about the object to which it attaches. Originally barcodes represented data by varying the widths and spacings of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or 1 dimensional . Later they evolved into rectangles,...

 technology to verify its pulling the correct drug. It then delivers the drug to a patient specific bin on a conveyor belt. Once the bin is filled with all of the drugs that a particular patient needs and that the robot stocks, the bin is then released and returned out on the conveyor belt to a technician waiting to load it into a cart for delivery to the floor.

Research robots



While most robots today are installed in factories or homes, performing labour or life saving jobs, many new types of robot are being developed in laboratories
Laboratory
A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific research, experiments, and measurement may be performed. The title of laboratory is also used for certain other facilities where the processes or equipment used are similar to those in scientific laboratories...

 around the world. Much of the research in robotics focuses not on specific industrial tasks, but on investigations into new types of robot, alternative ways to think about or design robots, and new ways to manufacture them. It is expected that these new types of robot will be able to solve real world problems when they are finally realized.

Nanorobots


Nanorobotics
Nanorobotics
Nanorobotics is the emerging technology field of creating machines or robots whose components are at or close to the scale of a nanometer . More specifically, nanorobotics refers to the nanotechnology engineering discipline of designing and building nanorobots, with devices ranging in size from...

 is the emerging technology field of creating machines or robots whose components are at or close to the microscopic scale of a nanometer (10−9 meters). Also known as "nanobots" or "nanites", they would be constructed from molecular machine
Molecular machine
A molecular machine, or nanomachine, is any discrete number of molecular components that produce quasi-mechanical movements in response to specific stimuli . The expression is often more generally applied to molecules that simply mimic functions that occur at the macroscopic level...

s. So far, researchers have mostly produced only parts of these complex systems, such as bearings, sensors, and synthetic molecular motors
Synthetic molecular motors
Synthetic molecular motors are molecular machines capable of rotation under energy input. Although the term "molecular motor" has traditionally referred to a naturally occurring protein that induces motion , some groups also use the term when referring to non-biological, non-peptide synthetic...

, but functioning robots have also been made such as the entrants to the Nanobot Robocup contest. Researchers also hope to be able to create entire robots as small as viruses or bacteria, which could perform tasks on a tiny scale. Possible applications include micro surgery (on the level of individual cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

), utility fog
Utility fog
Utility fog is a hypothetical collection of tiny robots that can replicate a physical structure. As such, it is a form of self-reconfiguring modular robotics.-Conception:...

, manufacturing, weaponry and cleaning. Some people have suggested that if there were nanobots which could reproduce, the earth would turn into "grey goo
Grey goo
Grey goo is a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all matter on Earth while building more of themselves, a scenario known as ecophagy .Self-replicating machines of the macroscopic variety were originally...

", while others argue that this hypothetical outcome is nonsense.

Reconfigurable Robots

A few researchers have investigated the possibility of creating robots which can alter their physical form to suit a particular task, like the fictional T-1000
T-1000
The T-1000 is a fictional nanomorph mimetic poly-alloy assassin and the main antagonist in Terminator 2: Judgment Day controlled by the series main antagonist Skynet. The T-1000 is portrayed primarily by Robert Patrick; however, being a shape-shifter, the T-1000 is played by other actors in some...

. Real robots are nowhere near that sophisticated however, and mostly consist of a small number of cube shaped units, which can move relative to their neighbours. Algorithms have been designed in case any such robots become a reality.

Soft Robots
Robots with silicone
Silicone
Silicones are inert, synthetic compounds with a variety of forms and uses. Typically heat-resistant and rubber-like, they are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medical applications , cookware, and insulation....

 bodies and flexible actuators (air muscles
Pneumatic artificial muscles
Pneumatic artificial muscles are contractile or extensional devices operated by pressurized air filling a pneumatic bladder. In a vague approximation of human muscles, PAMs are usually grouped in pairs: one agonist and one antagonist....

, electroactive polymers
Electroactive polymers
Electroactive Polymers, or EAPs, are polymers that exhibit a change in size or shape when stimulated by an electric field. The most common applications of this type of material are in actuators and sensors. A typical characteristic property of an EAP is that they will undergo a large amount of...

, and ferrofluid
Ferrofluid
A ferrofluid is a liquid which becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field.Ferrofluids are colloidal liquids made of nanoscale ferromagnetic, or ferrimagnetic, particles suspended in a carrier fluid . Each tiny particle is thoroughly coated with a surfactant to inhibit clumping...

s), controlled using fuzzy logic
Fuzzy logic
Fuzzy logic is a form of many-valued logic; it deals with reasoning that is approximate rather than fixed and exact. In contrast with traditional logic theory, where binary sets have two-valued logic: true or false, fuzzy logic variables may have a truth value that ranges in degree between 0 and 1...

 and neural networks
Neural Networks
Neural Networks is the official journal of the three oldest societies dedicated to research in neural networks: International Neural Network Society, European Neural Network Society and Japanese Neural Network Society, published by Elsevier...

, look and feel different from robots with rigid skeletons, and can have different behaviors.

Swarm robots


Inspired by colonies of insects
Colony (biology)
In biology, a colony reference to several individual organisms of the same species living closely together, usually for mutual benefit, such as stronger defense or the ability to attack bigger prey. Some insects live only in colonies...

 such as ants and bees, researchers are modeling the behavior of swarms
Swarm robotics
Swarm robotics is a new approach to the coordination of multirobot systems which consist of large numbers of mostly simple physical robots. It is supposed that a desired collective behavior emerges from the interactions between the robots and interactions of robots with the environment...

 of thousands of tiny robots which together perform a useful task, such as finding something hidden, cleaning, or spying. Each robot is quite simple, but the emergent behavior of the swarm is more complex. The whole set of robots can be considered as one single distributed system, in the same way an ant colony can be considered a superorganism
Superorganism
A superorganism is an organism consisting of many organisms. This is usually meant to be a social unit of eusocial animals, where division of labour is highly specialised and where individuals are not able to survive by themselves for extended periods of time. Ants are the best-known example of...

, exhibiting swarm intelligence
Swarm intelligence
Swarm intelligence is the collective behaviour of decentralized, self-organized systems, natural or artificial. The concept is employed in work on artificial intelligence...

. The largest swarms so far created include the iRobot swarm, the SRI/MobileRobots CentiBots project and the Open-source Micro-robotic Project swarm, which are being used to research collective behaviors. Swarms are also more resistant to failure. Whereas one large robot may fail and ruin a mission, a swarm can continue even if several robots fail. This could make them attractive for space exploration missions, where failure is normally extremely costly.

Haptic interface robots

Robotics also has application in the design of virtual reality
Virtual reality
Virtual reality , also known as virtuality, is a term that applies to computer-simulated environments that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world, as well as in imaginary worlds...

 interfaces. Specialized robots are in widespread use in the haptic research community. These robots, called "haptic interfaces," allow touch-enabled user interaction with real and virtual environments. Robotic forces allow simulating the mechanical properties of "virtual" objects, which users can experience through their sense of touch
Somatosensory system
The somatosensory system is a diverse sensory system composed of the receptors and processing centres to produce the sensory modalities such as touch, temperature, proprioception , and nociception . The sensory receptors cover the skin and epithelia, skeletal muscles, bones and joints, internal...

.

Technological trends


Various techniques have emerged to develop the science of robotics and robots. One method is evolutionary robotics
Evolutionary robotics
Evolutionary robotics is a methodology that uses evolutionary computation to develop controllers for autonomous robots. Algorithms in ER frequently operate on populations of candidate controllers, initially selected from some distribution. This population is then repeatedly modified according to...

, in which a number of differing robots are submitted to tests. Those which perform best are used as a model to create a subsequent "generation" of robots. Another method is developmental robotics
Developmental robotics
Developmental Robotics , sometimes called epigenetic robotics, is a methodology that uses metaphors from neural development and developmental psychology to develop the mind for autonomous robots. The focus is on a single or multiple robots going through stages of autonomous mental development...

, which tracks changes and development within a single robot in the areas of problem-solving and other functions.

Technological development


Overall trends
Japan hopes to have full-scale commercialization of service robots by 2025. Much technological research in Japan is led by Japanese government agencies, particularly the Trade Ministry.

As robots become more advanced, eventually there may be a standard computer operating system designed mainly for robots. Robot Operating System
ROS (Robot Operating System)
Robot Operating System is a software framework for robot software development, providing operating system-like functionality on a heterogenous computer cluster. ROS was originally developed in 2007 under the name switchyard by the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in support of the...

 is an open-source set of programs being developed at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 and the Technical University of Munich
Technical University of Munich
The Technische Universität München is a research university with campuses in Munich, Garching, and Weihenstephan...

, Germany, among others. ROS provides ways to program a robot's navigation and limbs regardless of the specific hardware involved. It also provides high-level commands for items like image recognition and even opening doors. When ROS boots up on a robot's computer, it would obtain data on attributes such as the length and movement of robots' limbs. It would relay this data to higher-level algorithms. Microsoft is also developing a "Windows for robots" system with its Robotics Developer Studio, which has been available since 2007.

New functions and abilities
The Caterpillar Company is making a dump truck which can drive itself without any human operator.

Many future applications of robotics seem obvious to people, even though they are well beyond the capabilities of robots available at the time of the prediction.
As early as 1982 people were confident that someday robots would:
1. clean parts by removing molding flash
Molding flash
Flash, also known as flashing, is excess material attached to a molded, forged, or cast product, which must usually be removed. This is typically caused by leakage of the material between the two surfaces of a mold or between the base material and the mold...


2. spray paint automobiles with absolutely no human presence
3. pack things in boxes—for example, orient and nest chocolate candies in candy boxes
4. make electrical cable harness
Cable Harness
A cable harness, also known as a wire harness, cable assembly, wiring assembly or wiring loom,is a string of cables and/or wires which transmit informational signals or operating currents...


5. load trucks with boxes—a packing problem
Packing problem
Packing problems are a class of optimization problems in mathematics which involve attempting to pack objects together , as densely as possible. Many of these problems can be related to real life packaging, storage and transportation issues...


6. handle soft goods, such as garments and shoes
7. shear sheep
8. prosthesis
Prosthesis
In medicine, a prosthesis, prosthetic, or prosthetic limb is an artificial device extension that replaces a missing body part. It is part of the field of biomechatronics, the science of using mechanical devices with human muscle, skeleton, and nervous systems to assist or enhance motor control...


9. cook fast food and work in other service industries
10. household robot.

Generally such predictions are overly optimistic in timescale.

Reading robot


A literate or 'reading robot' named Marge has intelligence that comes from software. She can read newspapers, find and correct misspelled words, learn about banks like Barclays, and understand that some restaurants are better places to eat than others.

Dangers and human harm


Marauding robots may have entertainment value, but unsafe use of robots constitutes an actual danger. A heavy industrial robot with powerful actuators and unpredictably complex behavior can cause harm, for instance by stepping on a human's foot or falling on a human. Most industrial robots operate inside a security fence which separates them from human workers, but not all. Four robot-caused deaths are those of Robert Williams, Kenji Urada
Kenji Urada
Kenji Urada was one of the first persons reported to have been killed by a robot. On July 4, 1981, Urada was employed as a 37-year old maintenance engineer at a Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant. While working on a broken robot, he failed to turn it off completely, resulting in the robot pushing...

, Wayne Lucio, and an unnamed worker. Robert Williams was struck by a robotic arm at a casting plant in Flat Rock, Michigan
Flat Rock, Michigan
- Racial makeup :As of the census of 2000, there were 8,488 people, 3,181 households, and 2,306 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,266.9 per square mile . There were 3,291 housing units at an average density of 491.2 per square mile...

 on January 25, 1979. Kenji Urada
Kenji Urada
Kenji Urada was one of the first persons reported to have been killed by a robot. On July 4, 1981, Urada was employed as a 37-year old maintenance engineer at a Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant. While working on a broken robot, he failed to turn it off completely, resulting in the robot pushing...

, a 37-year-old Japanese factory worker, was killed in 1981; Urada was performing routine maintenance on the robot, but neglected to shut it down properly, and was accidentally pushed into a grinding machine
Grinding machine
A grinding machine, often shortened to grinder, is a machine tool used for grinding, which is a type of machining using an abrasive wheel as the cutting tool...

. Wayne Lucio, a 31-year-old Frito-Lay worker, died when he tried to adjust a pallet when an Automatic Guided Vehicle that did not sense a forklift, pinned Lucio between the two. An unnamed contractor died when his car was crushed by debris when an Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) collapse ignited a fire that burned for three weeks and destroyed the building in which an estimated 108 million pounds of paper were stored.

Robotic devices


Manuel De Landa
Manuel de Landa
Manuel De Landa, , is a writer, artist and philosopher who has lived in New York since 1975. He is presently the Gilles Deleuze Chair of Contemporary Philosophy and Science at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland; a lecturer at the Canisius College in Buffalo, New York; a lecturer...

 has noted that "smart missiles" and autonomous bombs equipped with artificial perception can be considered robots, and they make some of their decisions autonomously. He believes this represents an important and dangerous trend in which humans are handing over important decisions to machines.

Relationship to unemployment



Some analysts, such as Martin Ford, author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future argue that robots and other forms of automation will ultimately result in significant unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 as machines begin to match and exceed the capability of workers to perform most jobs. At present the negative impact is only on menial and repetitive jobs, and there is actually a positive impact on the number of jobs for highly skilled technicians, engineers, and specialists
Roboticist
A roboticist designs, builds, programs, and experiments with robots. Since robotics is a highly interdisciplinary field, roboticists often have backgrounds in a number of disciplines including computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer engineering...

. However, these highly skilled jobs are not sufficient in number to offset the greater decrease in employment among the general population, causing structural unemployment in which overall (net) unemployment rises.

A recent example of human replacement involves Taiwanese technology company Foxconn
Foxconn
The Foxconn Technology Group is a multinational business group anchored by the Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. , a Taiwan-registered corporation headquartered in Tucheng, Taiwan...

 who, in July 2011, announced a three year plan to replace workers with more robots. At present the company uses ten-thousand robots but will increase them to a million robots over a three year period.

Service robots of different varieties including medical robots, underwater robots, surveillance robots, demolition robots and other types of robots that carry out a multitude of jobs are gaining in numbers. Service robots are everyday tools for mankind. They can clean
floors, mow lawns and guard homes and will also assist old and handicapped people, do some surgeries, inspect pipes and sites that are hazardous to people, fight fires and defuse bombs.

Past responses to train humans for higher levels of technological work may have increased human labor jobs for unskilled workers in general and skilled workers also but that method does not seem to be viable now in industrial societies. Humans collecting on a toll road for instance in some countries are replaced by robots doing that job and though it may be an idea for a trained worker, say perhaps the former human toll taker doing the job to fix and program the new toll-collecting robots, it never really works out that way since not as many people are needed to make or program the robots as the robots replace.

Literature


Robotic characters, androids (artificial men/women) or gynoid
Gynoid
A gynoid is anything which resembles or pertains to the female human form. It is also used in American English medical terminology as a shortening of the term Gynecoid ....

s (artificial women), and cyborg
Cyborg
A cyborg is a being with both biological and artificial parts. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space. D. S...

s (also "bionic men/women", or humans with significant mechanical enhancements) have become a staple of science fiction.

The first reference in Western literature to mechanical servants appears in Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

. In Book XVIII, Hephaestus
Hephaestus
Hephaestus was a Greek god whose Roman equivalent was Vulcan. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, the King and Queen of the Gods - or else, according to some accounts, of Hera alone. He was the god of technology, blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes...

, god of fire, creates new armor for the hero Achilles, assisted by robots. According to the Rieu
E. V. Rieu
Emile Victor Rieu CBE was a classicist, publisher and poet, best known for his lucid translations of Homer, as editor of Penguin Classics, and for a modern translation of the four Gospels which evolved from his role as editor of a projected Penguin translation of the Bible...

 translation, "Golden maidservants hastened to help their master. They looked like real women and could not only speak and use their limbs but were endowed with intelligence and trained in handwork by the immortal gods." Of course, the words "robot" or "android" are not used to describe them, but they are nevertheless mechanical devices human in appearance. "The first use of the word Robot was in Karel Čapek's play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) (written in 1920)" Robots in literature
Robots in literature
Artificial humans and autonomous artificial servants have a long history in human culture, though the term Robot and its modern literary conception as a mobile machine equipped with an advanced artificial intelligence are more fairly recent...

.

Possibly the most prolific authors of the twentieth century was Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

 (1920–1992) who published over five-hundred books. Asimov is probably best remembered for his science-fiction stories and especially those about robots, where he placed robots and their interaction with society at the center of many of his works. Asimov carefully considered the problem of the ideal set of instructions robots might be given in order to lower the risk to humans, and arrived at his Three Laws of Robotics
Three Laws of Robotics
The Three Laws of Robotics are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov and later added to. The rules are introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround", although they were foreshadowed in a few earlier stories...

: a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm; a robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; and a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. These were introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround", although foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. Later, Asimov added the Zeroth Law: "A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm"; the rest of the laws are modified sequentially to acknowledge this.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first passage in Asimov's short story "Liar!
Liar!
"Liar!" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. It first appeared in the May 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and was reprinted in the collections I, Robot and The Complete Robot . It was Asimov's third published positronic robot story...

" (1941) that mentions the First Law is the earliest recorded use of the word robotics
Robotics
Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

. Asimov was not initially aware of this; he assumed the word already existed by analogy with mechanics, hydraulics, and other similar terms denoting branches of applied knowledge.

Problems depicted in popular culture


Fears and concerns about robots have been repeatedly expressed in a wide range of books and films. A common theme is the development of a master race of conscious and highly intelligent robots, motivated to take over or destroy the human race. (See The Terminator
The Terminator
The Terminator is a 1984 science fiction action film directed by James Cameron, co-written by Cameron and William Wisher Jr., and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, and Linda Hamilton. The film was produced by Hemdale Film Corporation and distributed by Orion Pictures, and filmed in Los...

, Runaway
Runaway (1984 film)
Runaway is a 1984 science fiction action film starring Tom Selleck, Gene Simmons and Cynthia Rhodes. This film also features Kirstie Alley in one of her early appearances. The film was written and directed by Michael Crichton. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and was the...

, Blade Runner
Blade Runner
Blade Runner is a 1982 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K...

, RoboCop
RoboCop
RoboCop is a 1987 American science fiction-action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan in the near future, RoboCop centers on a police officer who is brutally murdered and subsequently re-created as a super-human cyborg known as "RoboCop"...

, the Replicators in Stargate
Replicator (Stargate)
In the military science fiction series Stargate SG-1, the Replicators are antagonistic self-replicating machines that propagate by ingesting the metals that make up civilizations and use them to create either blocks that form the bug-like version or smaller cells that compose the human-form...

, the Cylons
Cylon (Battlestar Galactica)
The Cylons are a cybernetic civilization at war with the Twelve Colonies of humanity in the Battlestar Galactica science fiction franchise, in the original 1978 and 1980 series, the 2004 reimagining, as well as the spin-off prequel series, Caprica...

 in Battlestar Galactica
Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)
Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore as a re-imagining of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series created by Glen A. Larson...

, The Matrix
The Matrix
The Matrix is a 1999 science fiction-action film written and directed by Larry and Andy Wachowski, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Hugo Weaving...

, Enthiran and I, Robot
I, Robot (film)
I, Robot is a 2004 science-fiction action film directed by Alex Proyas. The screenplay was written by Jeff Vintar, Akiva Goldsman and Hillary Seitz, and is very loosely based on Isaac Asimov's short-story collection of the same name. Will Smith stars in the lead role of the film as Detective Del...

.) Some fictional robots are programmed to kill and destroy; others gain superhuman intelligence and abilities by upgrading their own software and hardware. Examples of popular media where the robot becomes evil are 2001: A Space Odyssey, Red Planet
Red Planet (film)
Red Planet is a 2000 Technicolor science fiction film directed by Antony Hoffman, starring Val Kilmer and Carrie-Anne Moss. It was released on November 10, 2000.-Plot:...

and Enthiran. Another common theme is the reaction, sometimes called the "uncanny valley
Uncanny Valley
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation, which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers...

", of unease and even revulsion at the sight of robots that mimic humans too closely. Frankenstein
Frankenstein
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel about a failed experiment that produced a monster, written by Mary Shelley, with inserts of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first...

(1818), often called the first science fiction novel, has become synonymous with the theme of a robot or monster advancing beyond its creator. In the TV show, Futurama, the robots are portrayed as humanoid figures that live alongside humans, not as robotic butlers. They still work in industry, but these robots carry out daily lives. Other problems may include events pertaining to robot surrogates (i.e the movie Surrogates) where tissue of living organisms is interchanged with robotic systems. These problems can leave many possibilities where electronic viruses or an electro magnetic pulse (EMP) can destroy not only the robot but kill the host/operator as well.

See also



  • Outline of robotics
    Outline of robotics
    The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to robotics:Robotics – branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots. Robotics is related to the sciences of electronics, ...

  • Glossary of robotics
    Glossary of robotics
    Robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, structural disposition, manufacture and application of robots...

  • Index of robotics articles

Further reading

  • TechCast Article Series, Jason Rupinski and Richard Mix, "Public Attitudes to Androids: Robot Gender, Tasks, & Pricing"
  • Cheney, Margaret [1989:123] (1981). Tesla, Man Out of Time. Dorset Press. New York. ISBN 0-88029-419-1
  • Craig, J.J. (2005). Introduction to Robotics. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • Gutkind, L
    Lee Gutkind
    Lee Gutkind is an American writer.Gurkind is the founder of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction and the author or editor of over a dozen books. He started the first ever MFA program in creative nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh...

    . (2006). Almost Human: Making Robots Think
    Almost Human: Making Robots Think
    Almost Human: Making Robots Think is a book written by Lee Gutkind founder of Creative Nonfiction. Gutkind spent six years as a "fly on the wall" researcher at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh...

    . New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Needham, Joseph (1986). Science and Civilization in China: Volume 2. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd.
  • Sotheby's New York. The Tin Toy Robot Collection of Matt Wyse, (1996)
  • Tsai, L. W. (1999). Robot Analysis. Wiley. New York.
  • DeLanda, Manuel
    Manuel de Landa
    Manuel De Landa, , is a writer, artist and philosopher who has lived in New York since 1975. He is presently the Gilles Deleuze Chair of Contemporary Philosophy and Science at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland; a lecturer at the Canisius College in Buffalo, New York; a lecturer...

    . War in the Age of Intelligent Machines
    War in the Age of Intelligent Machines
    War in the Age of Intelligent Machines is a book by Manuel de Landa that traces the history of warfare and of technology. It is influenced in part by Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish , and also reinterprets the concepts of war machines and the machinic phylum, introduced in Deleuze and...

    . 1991. Swerve. New York.
  • Journal of Field Robotics

External links


Research