A robot is a machine—especially one programmable by a computer— capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. Robots can be guided by an external control device or the control may be embedded within. Robots may be constructed to take on human form but most robots are machines designed to perform a task with no regard to how they look.
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, patient 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. Autonomous things are expected to proliferate in the coming decade, with home robotics and the autonomous car as some of the main drivers.
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, 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 term comes from a Czech word, robota, meaning "forced labor"; the word 'robot' was first used to denote a fictional humanoid in a 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossumovi Univerzální Roboti - Rossum's Universal Robots) by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek but it was Karel's brother Josef Čapek who was the word's true inventor. 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, as well as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine tools in the late 1940s by John T. Parsons and Frank L. Stulen. The first commercial, digital and programmable robot was built 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 technological 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.
The word robot can refer to both physical robots and virtual software agents, but the latter are usually referred to as bots. There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots but there is general agreement among experts, and the public, that robots tend to possess some or all of the following abilities and functions: accept electronic programming, process data or physical perceptions electronically, operate autonomously to some degree, move around, operate physical parts of itself or physical processes, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior, especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals. Closely related to the concept of a robot is the field of Synthetic Biology, which studies entities whose nature is more comparable to beings than to machines.
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, and Ptolemaic Egypt, attempted to build self-operating machines, some resembling animals and humans. Early descriptions of automata include the artificial doves of Archytas, the artificial birds of Mozi and Lu Ban, a "speaking" automaton by Hero of Alexandria, a washstand automaton by Philo of Byzantium, and a human automaton described in the Lie Zi.
Many ancient mythologies, and most modern religions include artificial people, such as the mechanical servants built by the Greek god Hephaestus (Vulcan to the Romans), the clay golems of Jewish legend and clay giants of Norse legend, and Galatea, the mythical statue of Pygmalion that came to life. Since circa 400 BC, myths of Crete include Talos, a man of bronze who guarded the island from pirates.
In ancient Greece, the Greek engineer Ctesibius (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 mathematician Archytas of Tarentum postulated a mechanical steam-operated bird he called "The Pigeon". Hero of Alexandria (10–70 AD), a Greek mathematician and inventor, created numerous user-configurable automated devices, and described machines powered by air pressure, steam and water.
The 11th century Lokapannatti tells of how the Buddha's relics were protected by mechanical robots (bhuta vahana yanta), from the kingdom of Roma visaya (Rome); until they were disarmed by King Ashoka.  
In ancient China, the 3rd-century text of the Lie Zi describes an account of humanoid automata, involving a much earlier encounter between Chinese emperor King Mu of Zhou and a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an 'artificer'. Yan Shi 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 philosopher Mozi and his contemporary Lu Ban with the invention of artificial wooden birds (ma yuan) that could successfully fly.
In 1066, the Chinese inventor Su Song built a water clock in the form of a tower which featured mechanical figurines which chimed the hours. His mechanism had a programmable drum machine with pegs (cams) that bumped into little levers that operated percussion instruments. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns by moving the pegs to different locations.
Samarangana Sutradhara, a Sanskrit treatise by Bhoja (11th century), includes a chapter about the construction of mechanical contrivances (automata), including mechanical bees and birds, fountains shaped like humans and animals, and male and female dolls that refilled oil lamps, danced, played instruments, and re-enacted scenes from Hindu mythology.
In Renaissance Italy, Leonardo da Vinci (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, 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. 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. Different variations of the karakuri existed: the Butai karakuri, which were used in theatre, 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 myths and legends.
In France, between 1738 and 1739, Jacques de Vaucanson 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.
Remotely operated vehicles were demonstrated in the late 19th century in the form of several types of remotely controlled torpedoes. The early 1870s saw remotely controlled torpedoes by John Ericsson (pneumatic), John Louis Lay (electric wire guided), and Victor von Scheliha (electric wire guided).
The Brennan torpedo, invented by Louis Brennan in 1877, was powered by two contra-rotating propellors that were spun by rapidly pulling out wires from drums wound inside the torpedo. Differential speed on the wires connected to the shore station allowed the torpedo to be guided to its target, making it "the world's first practical guided missile". In 1897 the British inventor Ernest Wilson was granted a patent for a torpedo remotely controlled by "Hertzian" (radio) waves and in 1898 Nikola Tesla publicly demonstrated a wireless-controlled torpedo that he hoped to sell to the US Navy.
Archibald Low, known as the "father of radio guidance systems" for his pioneering work on guided rockets and planes during the First World War. In 1917, he demonstrated a remote controlled aircraft to the Royal Flying Corps and in the same year built the first wire-guided rocket.
Origin of the term 'robot'
'Robot' was first applied as a term for artificial automata in the 1920 play R.U.R. by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek. However, Josef Čapek was named by his brother Karel as the true inventor of the term robot. The word 'robot' itself was not new, having been in the Slavic language as robota (forced laborer), a term which classified those peasants obligated to compulsory service under the feudal system (see: Robot Patent). Čapek's fictional story postulated the technological creation of artificial human bodies without souls, and the old theme of the feudal robota class eloquently fit the imagination of a new class of manufactured, artificial workers.
English pronunciation of the word has evolved relatively quickly since its introduction. In the U.S. during the late '30s to early '40s the second sylable was pronounced with a long "O" like "row-boat." By the late '50s to early '60s, some were pronouncing it with a short "U" like "row-but" while others used a softer "O" like "row-bought." By the '70s, its current pronunciation "row-bot" had become predominant.
In 1928, one of the first humanoid robots, Eric, was exhibited at the annual exhibition of the Model Engineers Society in London, where it delivered a speech. Invented by W. H. Richards, the robot's frame consisted of an aluminium body of armour with eleven electromagnets and one motor powered by a twelve-volt power source. The robot could move its hands and head and could be controlled through remote control or voice control. Both Eric and his "brother" George toured the world.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation built Televox in 1926; it was a cardboard cutout connected to various devices which users could turn on and off. In 1939, the humanoid robot known as Elektro was debuted at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Seven feet tall (2.1 m) and weighing 265 pounds (120.2 kg), it could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words (using a 78-rpm record player), smoke cigarettes, blow up balloons, and move its head and arms. The body consisted of a steel gear, cam and motor skeleton covered by an aluminum skin. In 1928, Japan's first robot, Gakutensoku, was designed and constructed by biologist Makoto Nishimura.
Modern autonomous robots
The first electronic autonomous robots with complex behaviour were created by William Grey Walter of the Burden Neurological Institute at Bristol, England in 1948 and 1949. He wanted to prove that rich connections between a small number of brain cells could give rise to very complex behaviors – essentially that the secret of how the brain worked lay in how it was wired up. His first robots, named Elmer and Elsie, were constructed between 1948 and 1949 and were often described as tortoises due to their shape and slow rate of movement. The three-wheeled tortoise robots were capable of phototaxis, by which they could find their way to a recharging station when they ran low on battery power.
Walter stressed the importance of using purely analogue electronics to simulate brain processes at a time when his contemporaries such as Alan Turing and John von Neumann were all turning towards a view of mental processes in terms of digital computation. His work inspired subsequent generations of robotics researchers such as Rodney Brooks, Hans Moravec and Mark Tilden. Modern incarnations of Walter's turtles may be found in the form of BEAM robotics.
The first digitally operated and programmable robot was invented by George Devol in 1954 and was ultimately called the Unimate. This ultimately laid the foundations of the modern robotics industry. Devol sold the first Unimate to General Motors in 1960, and it was installed in 1961 in a plant in Trenton, New Jersey to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine and stack them. Devol's patent for the first digitally operated programmable robotic arm represents the foundation of the modern robotics industry.
The first palletizing robot was introduced in 1963 by the Fuji Yusoki Kogyo Company. In 1973, a robot with six electromechanically driven axes was patented by KUKA robotics in Germany, and the programmable universal manipulation arm was invented by Victor Scheinman in 1976, and the design was sold to Unimation.
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.
Future development and trends
|Atlas, The Next Generation|
Various techniques have emerged to develop the science of robotics and robots. One method is evolutionary robotics, 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, which tracks changes and development within a single robot in the areas of problem-solving and other functions. Another new type of robot is just recently introduced which acts both as a smartphone and robot and is named RoboHon.
As robots become more advanced, eventually there may be a standard computer operating system designed mainly for robots. Robot Operating System is an open-source set of programs being developed at Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Munich, 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.
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.
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 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 5. load trucks with boxes—a packing problem 6. handle soft goods, such as garments and shoes 7. shear sheep 8. prosthesis 9. cook fast food and work in other service industries 10. household robot.
Generally such predictions are overly optimistic in timescale.
New functionalities and prototypes
In 2008, Caterpillar Inc. developed a dump truck which can drive itself without any human operator. Many analysts believe that self-driving trucks may eventually revolutionize logistics. By 2014, Caterpillar had a self-driving dump truck which is expected to greatly change the process of mining. In 2015, these Caterpillar trucks were actively used in mining operations in Australia by the mining company Rio Tinto Coal Australia. Some analysts believe that within the next few decades, most trucks will be self-driving.
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.
Baxter is a new robot introduced in 2012 which learns by guidance. A worker could teach Baxter how to perform a task by moving its hands in the desired motion and having Baxter memorize them. Extra dials, buttons, and controls are available on Baxter's arm for more precision and features. Any regular worker could program Baxter and it only takes a matter of minutes, unlike usual industrial robots that take extensive programs and coding in order to be used. This means Baxter needs no programming in order to operate. No software engineers are needed. This also means Baxter can be taught to perform multiple, more complicated tasks. Sawyer was added in 2015 for smaller, more precise tasks.
The word robot was introduced to the public by the Czech interwar writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920. The play begins in a factory that uses a chemical substitute for protoplasm to manufacture living, simplified people called robots. The play does not focus in detail on the technology behind the creation of these living creatures, but in their appearance they prefigure modern ideas of androids, creatures who can be mistaken for humans. These mass-produced workers are depicted as efficient but emotionless, incapable of original thinking and indifferent to self-preservation. At issue is whether the robots are being exploited and the consequences of human dependence upon commodified labor (especially after a number of specially-formulated robots achieve self-awareness and incite robots all around the world to rise up against the humans).
Karel Čapek himself did not coin the word. He wrote a short letter in reference to an etymology in the Oxford English Dictionary in which he named his brother, the painter and writer Josef Čapek, as its actual originator.
In an article in the Czech journal Lidové noviny in 1933, he explained that he had originally wanted to call the creatures laboři ("workers", from Latin labor). However, he did not like the word, and sought advice from his brother Josef, who suggested "roboti". The word robota means literally "corvée", "serf labor", and figuratively "drudgery" or "hard work" in Czech and also (more general) "work", "labor" in many Slavic languages (e.g.: Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Polish, Macedonian, Ukrainian, archaic Czech, as well as robot in Hungarian). Traditionally the robota (Hungarian robot) was the work period a serf (corvée) had to give for his lord, typically 6 months of the year. The origin of the word is the Old Church Slavonic (Old Bulgarian) rabota "servitude" ("work" in contemporary Bulgarian and Russian), which in turn comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *orbh-. Robot is cognate with the German root Arbeit (work).
The word robotics, used to describe this field of study, was coined by the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. Asimov created the "Three Laws of Robotics" which are a recurring theme in his books. These have since been used by many others to define laws used in fiction. (The three laws are pure fiction, and no technology yet created has the ability to understand or follow them, and in fact most robots serve military purposes, which run quite contrary to the first law and often the third law. "People think about Asimov's laws, but they were set up to point out how a simple ethical system doesn't work. If you read the short stories, every single one is about a failure, and they are totally impractical," said Dr. Joanna Bryson of the University of Bath.)
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.
Mobile robots are usually used in tightly controlled environments such as on assembly lines because they have difficulty responding to unexpected interference. Because of this most humans rarely encounter robots. However domestic robots for cleaning and maintenance are increasingly common in and around homes in developed countries. Robots can also be found in military applications.
Industrial robots (manipulating)
Industrial robots usually consist of a jointed arm (multi-linked manipulator) and an end effector that is attached to a fixed surface. One of the most common type of end effector is a gripper assembly.
"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."
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. The International Federation of Robotics 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."
There are robot kits like Lego Mindstorms, BIOLOID, OLLO from ROBOTIS, or BotBrain Educational Robots can help children to learn about mathematics, physics, programming, and electronics. Robotics have also been introduced into the lives of elementary and high school students in the form of robot competitions with the company FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The organization is the foundation for the FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League, Junior FIRST LEGO League, and FIRST Tech Challenge competitions.
There have also been devices shaped like robots such as the teaching computer, Leachim (1974), and 2-XL (1976), a robot shaped game / teaching toy based on an 8-track tape player, both invented Michael J. Freeman.
Modular robots are a new breed of robots that are designed to increase the utilization of robots by modularizing their architecture. The functionality and effectiveness of a modular robot is easier to increase compared to conventional robots. These robots are composed of a single type of identical, several different identical module types, or similarly shaped modules, which vary in size. Their architectural structure allows hyper-redundancy for modular robots, as they can be designed with more than 8 degrees of freedom (DOF). Creating the programming, inverse kinematics and dynamics for modular robots is more complex than with traditional robots. Modular robots may be composed of L-shaped modules, cubic modules, and U and H-shaped modules. ANAT technology, an early modular robotic technology patented by Robotics Design Inc., allows the creation of modular robots from U and H shaped modules that connect in a chain, and are used to form heterogeneous and homogenous modular robot systems. These "ANAT robots" can be designed with "n" DOF as each module is a complete motorized robotic system that folds relatively to the modules connected before and after it in its chain, and therefore a single module allows one degree of freedom. The more modules that are connected to one another, the more degrees of freedom it will have. L-shaped modules can also be designed in a chain, and must become increasingly smaller as the size of the chain increases, as payloads attached to the end of the chain place a greater strain on modules that are further from the base. ANAT H-shaped modules do not suffer from this problem, as their design allows a modular robot to distribute pressure and impacts evenly amongst other attached modules, and therefore payload-carrying capacity does not decrease as the length of the arm increases. Modular robots can be manually or self-reconfigured to form a different robot, that may perform different applications. Because modular robots of the same architecture type are composed of modules that compose different modular robots, a snake-arm robot can combine with another to form a dual or quadra-arm robot, or can split into several mobile robots, and mobile robots can split into multiple smaller ones, or combine with others into a larger or different one. This allows a single modular robot the ability to be fully specialized in a single task, as well as the capacity to be specialized to perform multiple different tasks.
Modular robotic technology is currently being applied in hybrid transportation, industrial automation, duct cleaning and handling. Many research centres and universities have also studied this technology, and have developed prototypes.
A collaborative robot or cobot is a robot that can safely and effectively interact with human workers while performing simple industrial tasks. However, end-effectors and other environmental conditions may create hazards, and as such risk assessments should be done before using any industrial motion-control application.
Rethink Robotics—founded by Rodney Brooks, previously with iRobot—introduced Baxter in September 2012; as an industrial robot designed to safely interact with neighboring human workers, and be programmable for performing simple tasks. Baxters stop if they detect a human in the way of their robotic arms and have prominent off switches. Intended for sale to small businesses, they are promoted as the robotic analogue of the personal computer. As of May 2014[update], 190 companies in the US have bought Baxters and they are being used commercially in the UK.
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 and 1% in Africa. 40% of all the robots in the world are in Japan, making Japan the country with the highest number of robots.
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.
Vernor Vinge has suggested that a moment may come when computers and robots are smarter than humans. He calls this "the Singularity". He suggests that it may be somewhat or possibly very dangerous for humans. This is discussed by a philosophy called Singularitarianism.
In 2009, experts attended a conference hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (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. In 2015, the Nao alderen robots were shown to have a capability for a degree of self-awareness. Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute AI and Reasoning Lab in New York conducted an experiment where a robot became aware of itself, and corrected its answer to a question once it had realised this.
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.
One robot in particular, the EATR, has generated public 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 and vegetation specifically selected by its sensors, which it can find on battlefields or other local environments, the project has stated that chicken fat can also be used.
Manuel De Landa has noted that "smart missiles" and autonomous bombs equipped with artificial perception can be considered robots, as 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
A recent example of human replacement involves Taiwanese technology company Foxconn 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.
Lawyers have speculated that an increased prevalence of robots in the workplace could lead to the need to improve redundancy laws.
Kevin J. Delaney said "Robots are taking human jobs. But Bill Gates believes that governments should tax companies’ use of them, as a way to at least temporarily slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment." The robot tax would also help pay a guaranteed living wage to the displaced workers.
At present, there are two main types of robots, based on their use: general-purpose autonomous robots and dedicated robots.
Robots can be classified by their specificity of purpose. A robot might be designed to perform one particular task extremely well, or a range of tasks less well. 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.
Over the last three decades, automobile factories have become dominated by robots. A typical factory contains hundreds of industrial robots 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, glued, painted and finally assembled at a sequence of robot stations.
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.
Mass-produced printed circuit boards (PCBs) are almost exclusively manufactured by pick-and-place robots, typically with SCARA manipulators, which remove tiny electronic components 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 vehicles (AGVs)
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 scanners or other means of sensing the environment in two or three dimensions help to eliminate cumulative errors in dead-reckoning calculations of the AGV's current position. Some AGVs can create maps of their environment using scanning lasers with simultaneous localization and mapping (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 photomasks 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. Other jobs are physically inaccessible, such as exploring another planet, cleaning the inside of a long pipe, or performing laparoscopic surgery.
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) is an indication of their status as a robot. This includes the Voyager probes and the Galileo probes, among others.
Teleoperated robots, or telerobots, are devices remotely operated from a distance by a human operator rather than following a predetermined sequence of movements, but which has semi-autonomous behaviour. They are used when a human cannot be present on site to perform a job because it is dangerous, far away, or inaccessible. 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. They can also be used to avoid exposing workers to the hazardous and tight spaces such as in duct cleaning. 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, are increasingly being used by the military. These pilotless drones can search terrain and fire on targets. Hundreds of robots such as iRobot's Packbot and the Foster-Miller TALON are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan by the U.S. military to defuse roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in an activity known as explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).
Automated fruit harvesting machines
Robots are used to automate picking fruit on orchards at a cost lower than that of human pickers.
Domestic robots are simple robots dedicated to a single task work in home use. They are used in simple but often disliked jobs, such as vacuum cleaning, floor washing, and lawn mowing. An example of a domestic robot is a Roomba.
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 BAE Systems Mantis 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 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.
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. 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.
Mining robots are designed to solve a number of problems currently facing the mining industry, including skills shortages, improving productivity from declining ore grades, and achieving environmental targets. Due to the hazardous nature of mining, in particular underground mining, the prevalence of autonomous, semi-autonomous, and tele-operated robots has greatly increased in recent times. A number of vehicle manufacturers provide autonomous trains, trucks and loaders that will load material, transport it on the mine site to its destination, and unload without requiring human intervention. One of the world's largest mining corporations, Rio Tinto, has recently expanded its autonomous truck fleet to the world's largest, consisting of 150 autonomous Komatsu trucks, operating in Western Australia. Similarly, BHP has announced the expansion of its autonomous drill fleet to the world's largest, 21 autonomous Atlas Copco drills.
Drilling, longwall and rockbreaking machines are now also available as autonomous robots. The Atlas Copco Rig Control System can autonomously execute a drilling plan on a drilling rig, moving the rig into position using GPS, set up the drill rig and drill down to specified depths. Similarly, the Transmin Rocklogic system can automatically plan a path to position a rockbreaker at a selected destination. These systems greatly enhance the safety and efficiency of mining operations.
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
Robots used in home automation have developed over time from simple basic robotic assistants, such as the Handy 1, through to semi-autonomous robots, such as FRIEND 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 and elderly people in their daily life activities, like preparing and serving a meal. FRIEND make it possible for patients who are paraplegic, have muscle diseases or serious paralysis (due to strokes etc.), to perform tasks without help from other people like therapists or nursing staff.
This section does not cite any sources. (July 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Script Pro manufactures a robot designed to help pharmacies fill prescriptions that consist of oral solids or medications in pill form. The pharmacist or pharmacy technician 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 head coupled with a pneumatic 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 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.
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 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.
Bionic and biomimetic robots
One approach to designing robots is to base them on animals. BionicKangaroo was designed and engineered by studying and applying the physiology and methods of locomotion of a kangaroo.
Nanorobotics 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 machines. So far, researchers have mostly produced only parts of these complex systems, such as bearings, sensors, and synthetic molecular motors, 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), utility fog, manufacturing, weaponry and cleaning. Some people have suggested that if there were nanobots which could reproduce, the earth would turn into "grey goo", while others argue that this hypothetical outcome is nonsense.
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. 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.
Robots with silicone bodies and flexible actuators (air muscles, electroactive polymers, and ferrofluids) look and feel different from robots with rigid skeletons, and can have different behaviors.
Inspired by colonies of insects such as ants and bees, researchers are modeling the behavior of swarms 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, exhibiting swarm 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 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.
Robots in popular culture
Robotic characters, androids (artificial men/women) or gynoids (artificial women), and cyborgs (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's Iliad. In Book XVIII, Hephaestus, god of fire, creates new armor for the hero Achilles, assisted by robots. According to the Rieu 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." 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)". Writer Karel Čapek was born in Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic).
Possibly the most prolific author of the twentieth century was Isaac Asimov (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: 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 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!" (1941) that mentions the First Law is the earliest recorded use of the word robotics. 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.
The concept of humanoid sex robots has elicited both public attention and concern. Opponents of the concept have stated that the development of sex robots would be morally wrong. They argue that the introduction of such devices would be socially harmful, and demeaning to women and children.
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. Frankenstein (1818), often called the first science fiction novel, has become synonymous with the theme of a robot or android advancing beyond its creator.
Other works with similar themes include The Mechanical Man, The Terminator, Runaway, RoboCop, the Replicators in Stargate, the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, the Cybermen and Daleks in Doctor Who, The Matrix, Enthiran and I, Robot. 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 and Enthiran.
The 2017 game Horizon Zero Dawn explores themes of robotics in warfare, robot ethics, and the AI control problem, as well as the positive or negative impact such technologies could have on the environment.
More recently, fictional representations of artificially intelligent robots in films such as A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Ex Machina and the 2016 TV adaptation of Westworld have engaged audience sympathy for the robots themselves.
Specific robotics concepts
- Robot locomotion
- Simultaneous localization and mapping
- Tactile sensor
- von Neumann machine
- Wake-up robot problem
Robotics methods and categories
- Cognitive robotics
- Domestic robot
- Epigenetic robotics
- Evolutionary robotics
- Humanoid robot
- Robot control
Specific robots and devices
- "Four-legged Robot, 'Cheetah,' Sets New Speed Record". Reuters. 2012-03-06.
- Definition of 'robot'. Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
- https://www.conres.com/it-products-solutions/news-events/top-10-tech-trends-autonomous-agents-things/ Archived 2017-04-19 at the Wayback Machine. retrieved April 18, 2017
- "Forecasts - Driverless car market watch". www.driverless-future.com.
- "robotics". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- Other Slavic languages also use this stem in similar meaning, eg. Eastern Slavic Belarusian & Russian рабыня (rabynya), Ukrainian раб (rab) & Southern Slavic Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian Роб (rob). Czech is a Western Slavic language, as is Slovak. Robota, in Slovak, is used to just mean work.
- Ivan Margolius,'The Robot of Prague', Newsletter, The Friends of Czech Heritage no. 17, Autumn 2017, pp. 3 - 6. https://czechfriends.net/images/RobotsMargoliusJul2017.pdf
- Karel Capek – Who did actually invent the word "robot" and what does it mean? at capek.misto.cz[dead link] – archive
- Kurfess, Thomas R. (1 January 2005). Robotics and Automation Handbook. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780849318047. Retrieved 5 July 2016 – via Google Books.
- Pearce, Jeremy. "George C. Devol, Inventor of Robot Arm, Dies at 99", The New York Times, August 15, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2012. "In 1961, General Motors put the first Unimate arm on an assembly line at the company's plant in Ewing Township, N.J., a suburb of Trenton. The device was used to lift and stack die-cast metal parts taken hot from their molds."
- Akins, Crystal. "5 jobs being replaced by robots". Excelle. Monster. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
- Hoy, Greg (28 May 2014). "Robots could cost Australian economy 5 million jobs, experts warn, as companies look to cut costs". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "Telecom glossary "bot"". Alliance for Telecommunications Solutions. 2001-02-28. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2007-09-05.
- Polk, Igor (2005-11-16). "RoboNexus 2005 robot exhibition virtual tour". Robonexus Exhibition 2005. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- Harris, Tom (2002-04-16). "How Robots Work". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- Needham, Joseph (1991). Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 2, History of Scientific Thought. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-05800-1.
- Currie, Adam (1999). "The History of Robotics". Archived from the original on 18 July 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- Noct. Att. L. 10
- Needham, Volume 2, 54.
- Deborah Levine Gera (2003). Ancient Greek Ideas on Speech, Language, and Civilization. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-925616-7.
- Mark E. Rosheim (1994). "Robot evolution: the development of anthrobotics". p.2. Wiley-IEEE. ISBN 0-471-02622-0
- "Robots then and now". BBC.
- O'Connor, J.J. and E.F. Robertson. "Heron biography". The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
- Strong 2007, p. 143.
- Strong 2007, p. 133-134.
- Fowler, Charles B. (October 1967). "The Museum of Music: A History of Mechanical Instruments". Music Educators Journal. 54 (2): 45–49. doi:10.2307/3391092. JSTOR 3391092.
- "Earliest Clocks". A Walk Through Time. NIST Physics Laboratory. Archived from the original on 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "The programmable robot of ancient Greece". New Scientist: 32–35. July 6, 2007.
- Varadpande, Manohar Laxman (1987). History of Indian Theatre, Volume 1. p. 68. ISBN 9788170172215.
- Wujastyk, Dominik (2003). The Roots of Ayurveda: Selections from Sanskrit Medical Writings. p. 222. ISBN 9780140448245.
- Needham, Joseph (1965). Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology Part 2, Mechanical Engineering. p. 164. ISBN 9780521058032.
- Moran, M. E. (December 2006). "The da Vinci robot". J. Endourol. 20 (12): 986–90. doi:10.1089/end.2006.20.986. PMID 17206888.
... the date of the design and possible construction of this robot was 1495 ... Beginning in the 1950s, investigators at the University of California began to ponder the significance of some of da Vinci's markings on what appeared to be technical drawings ... It is now known that da Vinci's robot would have had the outer appearance of a Germanic knight.
- "Leonardo da Vinci's Robots". Leonardo3.net. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- Jane Marie Law, Puppets of Nostalgia – The Life, Death and Rebirth of the Japanese Awaji Ningyo Tradition, 1997, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-02894-1
- Wood, Gabby. "Living Dolls: A Magical History Of The Quest For Mechanical Life", The Guardian, 2002-02-16.
- Edwyn Gray, Nineteenth-century torpedoes and their inventors, page 18
- Gray, Edwyn (2004). Nineteenth-Century Torpedoes and Their Inventors. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-341-3.
- Marc Seifer Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, page 1893 google books
- Benjamin Franklin Miessner, Radiodynamics: The Wireless Control of Torpedoes and Other Mechanisms, D. Van Nostrand Company, 1916, page 83
- US 613809
- "Tesla – Master of Lightning". PBS.org. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
- "Merriam-Webster Dictionary: robot".
Origin: Czech, from robota, compulsory labor
- "Science Diction: The Origin Of The Word 'Robot'".
- "AH Reffell & Eric Robot (1928)".
- "Meet Mr. Robot – Not Forgetting His Master". The Age. 20 September 1935. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- "Robot Dreams : The Strange Tale Of A Man's Quest To Rebuild His Mechanical Childhood Friend". The Cleveland Free Times. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- Scott Schaut (2006). Robots of Westinghouse: 1924-Today. Mansfield Memorial Museum. ISBN 978-0-9785844-1-2.
- Owen Holland. "The Grey Walter Online Archive". Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- Waurzyniak, Patrick (July 2006). "Masters of Manufacturing: Joseph F. Engelberger". Society of Manufacturing Engineers. 137 (1). Archived from the original on 9 November 2011. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "Robot Hall of Fame – Unimate". Carnegie Mellon University. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "National Inventor's Hall of Fame 2011 Inductee". Invent Now. Archived from the original on 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
- "Company History". Fuji Yusoki Kogyo Co. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
- "KUKA Industrial Robot FAMULUS". Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
- "History of Industrial Robots" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2012-10-27.
- "History of Industrial Robots". robots.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "About us". Archived from the original on 2014-01-09.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
- Robots to get their own operating system, by Mehret Tesfaye Ethipian Review, August 13, 2009.
- Research and Development for Next-generation Service Robots in Japan, United Kingdom Foreign Ministry report, by Yumiko Moyen, Science and Innovation Section, British Embassy, Tokyo, Japan, January 2009.
- Robotic Tactile Sensing – Technologies and System. Springer.com. 2012-07-30. ISBN 9789400705784. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- First Name Middle Name Last Name (2011). "IEEE Transactions on Robotics – Special Issue on Robotic Sense of Touch". IEEE Transactions on Robotics. 27 (3): 385–388. doi:10.1109/TRO.2011.2155830. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "Robotics in practice: Future capabilities" by Joseph F. Engelberger. in "Electronic Servicing & Technology" magazine 1982 August.
- The Caterpillar Self-Driving Dump Truck Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine., By Tim McKeough, Fast Company, November 25, 2008.
- Self-Driving Trucks to Revolutionize Logistics, DHL Says, Richard Weiss, December 9, 2014.
- VIDEO: Why Caterpillar’s autonomous mining tech is “completely different from anything” it’s ever done Wayne Grayson | October 16, 2014.
- Self-driving dump trucks, automatic shovels coming to Australian mines, KAORI TAKAHASHI, April 23, 2015.
- Forget self-driving Google cars, Australia has self-driving trucks, by Matthew Hall, October 20, 2014.
- Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is using these huge self-driving trucks to transport iron ore, Charles Clark, Oct. 19, 2015.
- Daddy, What Was a Truck Driver? Over the Next Two Decades, the Machines Themselves Will Take Over the Driving, By DENNIS K. BERMAN, July 23, 2013, wsj.com.
- "Robot can read, learn like a human". 6 December 2010.
- Robots: Brave New World moves a step closer, By James Melik, Reporter, Business Daily, BBC World Service, 3 January 2013.
- Zunt, Dominik. "Who did actually invent the word "robot" and what does it mean?". The Karel Čapek website. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2007-09-11.
- "Indo-European root *orbh-". 2008-05-12. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Ranger, Steve. "Robots of death, robots of love: The reality of android soldiers and why laws for robots are doomed to failure". TechRepublic. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
- P. Moubarak, P. Ben-Tzvi, Adaptive Manipulation of a Hybrid Mechanism Mobile Robot, in Proceedings of IEEE International Symposium on Robotic and Sensors Environments, ROSE ’11, 2011, Montreal, Canada, pp. 113–118.
- "Smart Caddy". Seegrid. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
- Zhang, Gexiang; Pérez-Jiménez, Mario J.; Gheorghe, Marian (2017-04-05). Real-life Applications with Membrane Computing. Springer. ISBN 9783319559896.
- "Definition of a robot" (PDF). Dansk Robot Forening. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2007-09-10.
- "Robotics-related Standards Sites". European Robotics Research Network. Archived from the original on 2006-06-17. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- Provisional definition of Service Robots, IFR, 27th of October 2012
- Mitgang, Lee (October 25, 1983). "'Nova's' 'Talking Turtle' Pofiles High Priest of School Computer Movement". Gainesville Sun.
- Barnard, Jeff (January 29, 1985). "Robots In School: Games Or Learning?". Observer-Reporter. Washington. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- P. Moubarak, et al., Modular and Reconfigurable Mobile Robotics, Journal of Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 60 (12) (2012) 1648–1663.
- Rédaction (December 25, 2011). "Le consortium franco-québécois Mix dévoile son projet de voiture volante". aerobuzz.fr/ (in French). aerobuzz.fr. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- Scanlan, Steve, Robotics Design Inc., Montreal. "Modularity in robotics provides automation for all". Digital.ept.ca. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
- Plumbing and HVAC, Magazine (April 2010). "Duct cleaning robots" (PDF). roboticsdesign.qc.ca/news.html. plumbingandhvac.ca/. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- "Universal Robots collaborate outside enclosures | Control Engineering". Controleng.com. February 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "A Brief History of Collaborative Robots" Engineering.com, May 19, 2016
- Hagerty, James (18 September 2012). "Baxter Robot Heads to Work'". Wall Street Journal. New York: Dow Jones & Company. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- John Markoff (September 18, 2012). "A Robot With a Reassuring Touch". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
- "A Ping-Pong-Playing Terminator". Popular Science.
- "Best robot 2009". gadgetrivia.com. Archived from the original on 11 May 2012.
- Robots Today and Tomorrow: IFR Presents the 2007 World Robotics Statistics Survey Archived 2008-02-05 at the Wayback Machine.; World Robotics; 2007-10-29. Retrieved 2007-12-14
- Reporting by Watanabe, Hiroaki; Writing and additional reporting by Negishi, Mayumi; Editing by Norton, Jerry; Japan's robots slug it out to be world champ; Reuters; 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2007-01-01
- Ho, C. C.; MacDorman, K. F.; Pramono, Z. A. D. (2008). "Human emotion and the uncanny valley: A GLM, MDS, and ISOMAP analysis of robot video ratings" (PDF). Proceedings of the Third ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. March 11–14. Amsterdam. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
- AAAI webpage of materials on robot ethics (Archived).
- AAAI compilation of articles on robot rights (Archived), sources compiled up to 2006.
- Scientists Predict Artificial Brain in 10 Years (Archived), by Kristie McNealy M.D. July 29, 2009.
- Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind By Hans Moravec, Google Books.
- Robots Almost Conquering Walking, Reading, Dancing, by Matthew Weigand, Korea Itimes, Monday, August 17, 2009.
- Plug & Pray, documentary film by Jens Schanze about the possibilities of AI and robotics.
- Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man By John Markoff, The New York Times, July 26, 2009.
- The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era, by Vernor Vinge, Department of Mathematical Sciences, San Diego State University, (c) 1993 by Vernor Vinge.
- Gaming the Robot Revolution: A military technology expert weighs in on Terminator: Salvation., By P. W. Singer, slate.com Thursday, May 21, 2009.
- Robot takeover (Archived), gyre.org.
- robot page, Engadget.
- "Cute robot politely shows self-awareness".
- Call for debate on killer robots, Jason Palmer. BBC News, August 3, 2009.
- Robot three-way portends autonomous future, By David Axe wired.com, August 13, 2009.
- New Navy-funded Report Warns of War Robots Going "Terminator" Archived 2009-07-28 at the Wayback Machine., by Jason Mick (Blog), dailytech.com, February 17, 2009.
- Navy report warns of robot uprising, suggests a strong moral compass, by Joseph L. Flatley engadget.com, February 18, 2009.
- New role for robot warriors Drones are just part of a bid to automate combat. Can virtual ethics make machines decisionmakers?, by Gregory M. Lamb, The Christian Science Monitor, February 17, 2010.
- "Biomass-Eating Military Robot Is a Vegetarian, Company Says". Fox News Channel. 2009-07-16. Archived from the original on 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Shachtman, Noah (2009-07-17). "Danger Room What's Next in National Security Company Denies its Robots Feed on the Dead". Wired. Retrieved 2009-07-31.
- Press release, RTI Inc. (2009 July 16). Cyclone Power Technologies Responds to Rumors about “Flesh Eating” Military Robot, pp. 1-2.
- Press release, RTI Inc. (2009 April 6). "Brief Project Overview", EATR: Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot, pp. 22.
- Manuel de Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, New York: Zone Books, 1991, 280 pages, Hardcover, ISBN 0-942299-76-0; Paperback, ISBN 0-942299-75-2.
- E McGaughey, 'Will Robots Automate Your Job Away? Full Employment, Basic Income, and Economic Democracy' (2018) SSRN, part 3. Porter, Eduardo; Manjoo, Farhad (9 March 2016). "A Future Without Jobs? Two Views of the Changing Work Force". The New York Times.. Thompson, Derek (July–August 2015). "A World Without Work". The Atlantic.
- Yan (30 July 2011). "Foxconn to replace workers with 1 million robots in 3 years". Xinhua News Agency. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "Judgment day – employment law and robots in the workplace". futureofworkhub.
- Delaney, Kevin. "The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates". QUARTZ. Retrieved 4 March 2017.
- "The Changing Nature of Work". Retrieved 8 October 2018.
- "Contact Systems Pick and Place robots". Contact Systems. Archived from the original on 2008-09-14. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
- "SMT pick-and-place equipment". Assembleon. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
- "The Basics of Automated Guided Vehicles". Savant Automation, AGV Systems. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
- "Jervis B. Webb". Webb SmartLoader. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- "SpeciMinder". CSS Robotics. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "ADAM robot". RMT Robotics. Archived from the original on 2006-05-17. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "Can Do". Aethon. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "Eskorta robot". Fennec Fox Technologies. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- "Delivery Robots & AGVs". Mobile Robots. Archived from the original on 26 February 2010. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "Dante II, list of published papers". The Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. Archived from the original on 15 May 2008. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
- "Mars Pathfinder Mission: Rover Sojourner". NASA. 1997-07-08. Archived from the original on 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
- "Robot assisted surgery: da Vinci Surgical System". Brown University Division of Biology and Medicine. Archived from the original on 2007-09-16. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
- The Utilization of Robotic Space Probes in Deep Space Missions:Case Study of AI Protocols and Nuclear Power Requirements, Proceedings of 2011 International Conference on Mechanical Engineering, Robotics and Aerospace, October 2011.
- Review: Space Probes, by Jeff Foust, Monday, January 16, 2012. Review of Space Probes: 50 Years of Exploration from Luna 1 to New Horizons, by Philippe Séguéla Firefly, 2011.
- "Celebrities set to reach for Atwood's LongPen". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2007-08-15. Archived from the original on 22 May 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
- Graham, Stephen (2006-06-12). "America's robot army". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- "Battlefield Robots: to Iraq, and Beyond". Defense Industry Daily. 2005-06-20. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
- Shachtman, Noah (November 2005). "The Baghdad Bomb Squad". Wired. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
- Shachtman, Noah (2013-03-28). "WIRED: First Armed Robots on Patrol in Iraq". Blog.wired.com. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Shachtman, Noah (2013-03-28). "WIRED: Armed Robots Pushed To Police". Blog.wired.com. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "America's Robot Army". Popularmechanics.com. 2009-12-18. Archived from the original on 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- The Present and Future of Unmanned Drone Aircraft: An Illustrated Field Guide; Inside the wild kingdom of the world's newest and most spectacular species of unmanned aircraft, from swarming insect ’bots that can storm a burning building to a seven-ton weaponized spyplane invisible to radar. By Eric Hagerman, Popular Science, 23 February 2010.
- "Taranis: The m Fighter Jet Of The Future". Ministry of Defence. 2010-07-12. Archived from the original on 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
- Emery, Daniel (2010-07-12). "MoD lifts lid on unmanned combat plane prototype". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
- "Taranis: The million unmanned stealth jet that will hit targets in another continent". Daily Mail. London. 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2010-07-12.
- AAAI Presidential Panel on Long-Term AI Futures 2008–2009 Study, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
- Why We Need Friendly AI, Asimovlaws.com, July 2004. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
- Robotic age poses ethical dilemma; BBC News; 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-01-02;
- Asimov's First Law: Japan Sets Rules for Robots, By Bill Christensen, livescience.com, May 26, 2006.
- Japan drafts rules for advanced robots, UPI via physorg.com, April 6, 2007.
- Report compiled by the Japanese government's Robot Industry Policy Committee -Building a Safe and Secure Social System Incorporating the Coexistence of Humans and Robots Archived 2011-09-27 at the Wayback Machine., Official Japan government press release, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, March 2009.
- Toward the human-Robot Coexistence Society: on Safety intelligence for next Generation Robots, report by Yueh-Hsuan Weng, China Ministry of the Interior, International Journal of Social Robotics, April 7, 2009.
- Evolving Robots Learn To Lie To Each Other Archived 2013-05-18 at the Wayback Machine., Popular Science, August 19, 2009.
- "Rio Tinto Media Center – Rio Tinto boosts driverless truck fleet to 150 under Mine of the Future™ programme". Riotinto.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-24. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "BHP Billiton hits go on autonomous drills".
- Adrian (2011-09-06). "AIMEX blog – Autonomous mining equipment". Adrianboeing.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "Atlas Copco – RCS". Atlascopco.com. Archived from the original on 2014-02-07. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "Transmin – Rocklogic". Rocklogic.com.au. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Topping, Mike; Smith, Jane (1999). "An Overview Of Handy 1, A Rehabilitation Robot For The Severely Disabled". CSUN Center on Disabilities Conference Proceedings. 1999. Proceedings: Session 59. Archived from the original on 5 August 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
The early version of the Handy 1 system consisted of a Cyber 310 robotic arm with five degrees of freedom plus a gripper.
- Jeavans, Christine (2004-11-29). "Welcome to the ageing future". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- "Statistical Handbook of Japan: Chapter 2 Population". Statistics Bureau & Statistical Research and Training Institute. Archived from the original on 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- "Robotic future of patient care". E-Health Insider. 2007-08-16. Archived from the original on 21 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- Michael Hahn (1997-04-01). "Fullerene Nanogears". NASA. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
- "Nanobots Play Football". Techbirbal. Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- "KurzweilAI.net". 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
- "(Eric Drexler 1986) Engines of Creation, The Coming Era of Nanotechnology". E-drexler.com. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Chris Phoenix (December 2003). "Of Chemistry, Nanobots, and Policy". Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "Nanotechnology pioneer slays 'grey goo' myths". Institute of Physics Electronics Journals. 2004-06-07. Retrieved 2007-10-28.[permanent dead link]
- (1996) LEGO(TM)s to the Stars: Active MesoStructures, Kinetic Cellular Automata, and Parallel Nanomachines for Space Applications
- (Robert Fitch, Zack Butler and Daniela Rus) Reconfiguration Planning for Heterogeneous Self-Reconfiguring Robots
- John Schwartz (2007-03-27). "In the Lab: Robots That Slink and Squirm". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
- "SRI/MobileRobots". activrobots.com. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12.
- "Open-source micro-robotic project". Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- "Swarm". iRobot Corporation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- Knapp, Louise (2000-12-21). "Look, Up in the Sky: Robofly". Wired. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "The Cutting Edge of Haptics". MIT Technology review. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "Comic Potential : Q&A with Director Stephen Cole". Cornell University. Archived from the original on 3 January 2009. Retrieved 2007-11-21.
- Freedman, ed. by Carl (2005). Conversations with Isaac Asimov (1. ed.). Jackson: Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. vii. ISBN 978-1-57806-738-1. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
... quite possibly the most prolific
- Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2004). American writers. New York: Facts on File. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-8160-5158-8. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- He wrote "over 460 books as well as thousands of articles and reviews", and was the "third most prolific writer of all time [and] one of the founding fathers of modern science fiction". White, Michael (2005). Isaac Asimov: a life of the grand master of science fiction. Carroll & Graf. pp. 1–2. ISBN 978-0-7867-1518-3.
- R. Clarke. "Asimov's Laws of Robotics – Implications for Information Technology". Australian National University/IEEE. Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- Seiler, Edward; Jenkins, John H. (2008-06-27). "Isaac Asimov FAQ". Isaac Asimov Home Page. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
- White, Michael (2005). Isaac Asimov: A Life of the Grand Master of Science Fiction. Carroll & Graf. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7867-1518-3.
- "Campaign launched against 'harmful' sex robots". CNBC. 2015-09-15.
- "Intelligent machines: Call for a ban on robots designed as sex toys". BBC News. 2015-09-15.
- "Campaign calls for ban on sex robots". Wired UK. 2005-09-15.
- Justin Wm. Moyer (15 September 2015). "Having sex with robots is really, really bad, Campaign Against Sex Robots says". Washington Post.
- Čapek, Karel (1920). R.U.R., Aventinum, Prague.
- Margolius, Ivan. 'The Robot of Prague', Newsletter, The Friends of Czech Heritage no. 17, Autumn 2017, pp. 3 – 6. https://czechfriends.net/images/RobotsMargoliusJul2017.pdf
- Glaser, Horst Albert and Rossbach, Sabine: The Artificial Human, Frankfurt/M., Bern, New York 2011 "A Tragical History"
- 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. (2006). Almost Human: Making Robots Think. 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. War in the Age of Intelligent Machines. 1991. Swerve. New York.
- Journal of Field Robotics