A robot is a mechanical or virtual artificial agent, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry. Robots can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and range from humanoids such as Honda's Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility (ASIMO) and TOSY's TOSY Ping Pong Playing Robot (TOPIO) to industrial robots, medical operating robots, patent assist robots, dog therapy robots, collectively programmed swarm robots, UAV drones such as General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, and even microscopic nano robots. By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense of intelligence or thought of its own.
The branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing is robotics. These technologies deal with automated machines that can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, or resemble humans in appearance, behavior, and/or cognition. Many of today's robots are inspired by nature contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics. These robots have also created a newer branch of robotics: soft robotics.
From the time of ancient civilization there have been many accounts of user-configurable automated devices and even automata resembling animals and humans, designed primarily as entertainment. As mechanical techniques developed through the Industrial age, there appeared more practical applications such as automated machines, remote-control and wireless remote-control.
The word 'robot' was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1921 play R.U.R. by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek. Electronics evolved into the driving force of development with the advent of the first electronic autonomous robots created by William Grey Walter in Bristol, England in 1948. The first digital and programmable robot was invented by George Devol in 1954 and was named the Unimate. It was sold to General Motors in 1961 where it was used to lift pieces of hot metal from die casting machines at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in the West Trenton section of Ewing Township, New Jersey.
Robots have replaced humans in performing repetitive and dangerous tasks which humans prefer not to do, or are unable to do because of size limitations, or which take place in extreme environments such as outer space or the bottom of the sea.
There are concerns about the increasing use of robots and their role in society. Robots are blamed for rising unemployment as they replace workers in increasing numbers of functions. The use of robots in military combat raises ethical concerns. The possibilities of robot autonomy and potential repercussions have been addressed in fiction and may be a realistic concern in the future.
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Rise of the Robots
Could a robot do my job?
Star Wars robots R2D2
R2-D2, pronounced Artoo-Detoo and often referred to as Artoo, was an R2 series astromech droid manufactured by Industrial Automaton with masculine programming. A smart, spunky droid serving a multitude of masters over its lifetime, R2 never had a major memory wipe or received new programming resulting in an adventurous and independent attitude. Oftentimes finding himself in pivotal moments in galactic history, his bravery and ingenuity often saved the galaxy time and time again.
Beginning his service in the employ of Queen Amidala of Naboo, the droid would wind up serving prodigal Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker during the waning years of the Galactic Republic, often accompanied by the protocol droid C-3PO in many adventures throughout the Clone Wars. After his master's turn to the dark side of the Force, he would eventually serve Senator Bail Organa for a time in the Imperial Senate. Nineteen years following the death of the Galactic Republic, he would play a pivotal role in helping the Alliance to Restore the Republic destroy the Empire's dreaded Death Star, carrying technical readouts essential to its destruction. Serving Jedi Purge survivor Luke Skywalker throughout the Galactic Civil War, he would participate in both the Battles of Hoth and Endor, and would witness the destruction of the Empire's dreaded Death Star II a mere four years after the first space station's destruction.
In the subsequent thirty years, Artoo would accompany Luke Skywalker until the massacre of his attempted resurrection of the Jedi Order. Following Luke's disappearance, Artoo set himself into a self-imposed low power mode as newer droid models started to out-compute the aging astromech. Despite this, his celebrated role in the Rebellion protected him from the usual recycling procedure of many old droids, allowing him a peaceful semi-retirement in the Resistance as he pored over several decades of uninterrupted data, causing him to 'dream' of many of his greatest adventures.
C-3PO, sometimes spelled See-Threepio and often referred to simply as Threepio, was a 3PO unit protocol droid designed to interact with organics, programmed primarily for etiquette and protocol. He was fluent in over seven million forms of communication, and developed a fussy and worry-prone personality throughout his many decades of operation. Along with his counterpart, the astromech droid R2-D2, C-3PO constantly found himself directly involved in pivotal moments of galactic history, and aided in saving the galaxy on many occasions.
C-3PO was built from spare parts by Anakin Skywalker, a human slave who lived in Mos Espa, a city on the Outer Rim world of Tatooine. C-3PO's memory was erased, though R2-D2's memory was not. C-3PO and R2-D2 were assigned to the Alderaan cruiser Tantive IV, where they served senator Bail Organa for nineteen years. At some point during this time, 3PO's right leg was fitted with a mismatched droid plating.
Rise of the Robots
ASIMO - Honda's dream machine
ASIMO - Honda's dream machine
Rise of the Robots
The shadow robot project
The Terminator (also known as T-800 and T-850) is a fictional autonomous robot from the Terminator franchise.
Rise of the Robots
Doc Zone - Roboticize Me (Part 1)
Doc Zone - Roboticize Me (Part 2)
The Grillbot is the world's first barbeque grill cleaning robot.
Ethan Woods is a New York real estate agent who risks his life savings when he invents the world's first barbeque grill cleaning robot the Grillbot.
The Grillbot is the invention of former real estate agent Ethan Woods. Woods had his eureka moment while scrubbing his grill with a wire brush. He attached the brush to a power drill and the idea for the Grillbot was born.
“It's been a dream of mine for most of my adult life to invent a product and bring it to market,” says Woods. “After some research it was clear there was a very large market for something like this. So I started by contacting engineers and prototype development companies and they all said it couldn't be done. It was just too difficult with the heat issue on a grill and you can't make anything move around well enough to cover this type of surface.
“Never taking no for an answer, I finally found some very smart German engineers in California who said they could do it. They develop high tech medical equipment, among other things such as pool robots so I decided to give them a chance.”
While pleased with the results after a year, Woods reports the costs were “out of control” so he sent a few existing prototypes to an engineering firm in China. It was a huge risk but one that paid off as after another year of work, design and functionality of the Grillbot improved to Woods' satisfaction.
“So here I am two years into this project and a small fortune gone," he says. "My wife thought I was crazy to invest so much time and money in this venture. She was very worried the first year and a half and only recently with all the attention has become a believer. But finally the launch of the Grillbot is just weeks away. Very exciting!”
GrillBot is a grill-cleaning robot designed to save you elbow grease when clearing up after a barbecue. When the barbecue has cooled down enough, you pop the robot on the grill, close the lid and it skitters around scrubbing for you.
GrillBot is a mini autonomous robot. It looks like a cut-down version of a robotic vacuum cleaner. It comes in either black or bright red.
Much like a robo vac, it bimbles around in a chaotic fashion rather than having a pre-plotted course. It moves on three rollers that are covered with stiff brass brushes. You can also buy heavier stainless steel brushes for it, ideal for cast iron grills.
To use GrillBot, your barbecue must be cool or at least have been cooling down for a good 20 minutes or so – an alarm sounds if the grill is too hot (over 120°C) for GrillBot.
GrillBot is a grill-cleaning robot designed to save you elbow grease when clearing up after a barbecue.
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AIBO (Artificial Intelligence Robot, homonymous with aibō (相棒?), "pal" or "partner" in Japanese) is an iconic series of robotic pets designed and manufactured by Sony. Sony announced a prototype robot in mid-1998. The first consumer model was introduced on May 11, 1999. New models were released every year until 2005. Although most models were dog-like, other inspirations included lion-cubs and space explorer, and only the final ERS-7 version was explicitly a "robot dog".