Friday, 30 November 2007

What makes a machine a robot?

We have a variety of machines to do our bidding that are really just electronic or mechanised versions of the same task done manually. I'm classifying washing machines and dishwashers in there. Then there are the robots like Roomba (vacuuming) and Robomow (mowing). So what makes one a robot and one "just a machine"? I think it's a certain level of autonomous action. If my washing machine stalked around the house swallowing unwashed clothes and performing its cleaning duties on its own schedule, I'd be inclined to call it a robot. Same with a dishwasher that cleared the table for you. I want both of those.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I see that iRobot now have a gutter-cleaning model.
PPS - That's pretty cool.

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