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makes a machine a robot

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Re: makes a machine a robot

Postby trogluddite » Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:34 am

...I wonder if the term "robot" really does have a 'scientific' definition though...

The word "robot" as we use it first started as a term for the characters in a drama by playwright Karel Capek. They were not 'mechanical' in any way - more like human 'clones' designed to be slave workers in the factories.
He used the word "Robot" based on an east european word "robota" - referring to the unpaid work which serfs had to do for their lords.
So, looking at it that way, we could say that any 'automatic' device that does work for humans can be considered a robot, even a 'lobotomised' human only capable of obeying orders.

Then of course there came "Metropolis", "The day the earth stood still", "Forbidden Planet", "Star Wars", "Metal Mickey", Arthur C. Clarke's "Laws of robotics"...etc...
So, I'd say that "robot" is not a technical term at all - the literary, artistic and cultural meanings of the word long preceded any software controlled automata being built. In a sense, the engineers stole the word to use as a "marketing" tool because it conjures up an exciting image in the minds of the public - it is they who are probably wrong by trying to give the word a meaning which is too precise.

So, maybe "robots" is not a good word to use at all. Most 'robots' I see for sale are simply automata, just like a washing machine - sure you can make your own program, but still, it is only acting in a pre-programmed way based on the inputs from its sensors, and using actuators to carry out actions.

The distinction, maybe, should be between 'automata' and 'artificial intelligence' - all of the "robots" that capture the public's imagination have something in common - they can think for themselves. "R2D2", "C3PO", "Marvin" all share the fictional ability to reason for themselves, and show self awareness.

By this test, a true "robot" has not yet been built - but that won't stop the marketing men from using the word to make their little "washing machines with wheels/legs" sound more exciting than they really are!!

PS) Yes, cynical maybe - but I work for a company in the embedded engineering field, and I would rather have an 'automaton' do my laundry than anything made by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation any day!! :lol:
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Re: makes a machine a robot

Postby tester » Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:46 pm

Talking to spam robot Troggie? :mrgreen:
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Re: makes a machine a robot

Postby Tzarls » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:41 am

I´d say, since all robots should follow the universal laws proposed by Isaac Asimov, a robot would be a machine with the ability to follow (or to decide not to follow) the rules.
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Re: makes a machine a robot

Postby MegaHurtz » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:23 am

This is kida cool took it right off the wiki..

1st century AD and earlier Descriptions of over a hundred machines and automata, including a fire engine, wind organ, coin-operated machine, and steam-powered aeliopile, in Pneumatica and Automata by Heron Ctesibius, Philo, Heron, and others
1206 Early programmable automata Robot band[12] Al-Jazari
c. 1495 Designs for a humanoid robot Mechanical knight Leonardo da Vinci
Early 18th century Japanese mechanical toys that served tea, fired arrows, and painted Karakuri ningyō Hisashige Tanaka
1738 Mechanical duck that was able to eat, flap its wings, and excrete Digesting Duck Jacques de Vaucanson
1860s Remotely (mechanical) steered clockwork fire ship (Coastal fireship) Giovanni Luppis
1860s-1870s Remotely controlled torpedos by John Ericsson (pneumatic), John Louis Lay (electric wire guided), and Victor von Scheliha (electric wire guided)[13] (torpedo) John Ericsson, John Louis Lay, Victor von Scheliha
1898 Tesla demonstrates the first radio controlled (wireless) vessel (torpedo) (torpedo) Nikola Tesla
1921 First fictional automata called "robots" appear in the play R.U.R. Rossum's Universal Robots Karel Čapek
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
1935-1940 Remotely controlled humanoid robot exhibited at the 1939 and 1940 World's Fairs Elektro Westinghouse Electric Corporation
1948 Simple robots exhibiting biological behaviors[14] Elsie and Elmer William Grey Walter
1956 First commercial robot, from the Unimation company founded by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger, based on Devol's patents[15] Unimate George Devol
1961 First installed industrial robot Unimate George Devol
1963 First palletizing robot[16] Palletizer Fuji Yusoki Kogyo
1973 First robot with six electromechanically driven axes[17][18] Famulus KUKA Robotics
1976 Programmable universal manipulation arm, a Unimation product
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Re: makes a machine a robot

Postby trogluddite » Tue Sep 03, 2013 8:58 pm

tester wrote:Talking to spam robot Troggie? :mrgreen:

He he, I know, but seeing how I'm not a mod with superpowers here, why not make a little fun out of it - seemed kind of interesting to see what a bunch of folks using "robot" software thought about it!

@MHz - he he, I remember as a lad reading about the the de Vauconson sh*tt*ng duck - still a damn sight less creepy than those Furby things!
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