The concept of robots dates back to ancient times, when some myths told of mechanical beings brought to life. Suchautomata also appeared in the clockwork figures of medieval churches, and in the 18th century some clockmakers gained fame for the clever mechanical figures that they constructed. Today the termautomatonis usually applied to these handcrafted, mechanical (rather than electromechanical) devices that imitate the motions of living creatures. Some of the «robots» used in advertising and entertainment are actually automata, even with the addition of remote radio control.
The term robot itself is derived from the Czech word robota, meaning «compulsory labour». It was first used by the Czech novelist and playwright Karel Chapek, to describe a mechanical device that looks like a human but, lacking human sensibility, can perform only automatic, mechanical operations. Robots as they are known today do not only imitate human or other living forms. True robots did not become possible, however, until the invention of the computer in the 1940s and the miniaturization of computer parts. One of the first true robots was an experimental model designed by researchers at the Stanford Research Institute in the late 1960s. It was capable of arranging blocks into stacks through the use of a television camera as a visual sensor, processing this information in a small computer.
Computers today are equipped with microprocessors that can handle the data being fed to them by various sensors of the surrounding environment. Making use of the principle of feedback, robots can change their operations to some degree in response to changes in that environment. The commercial use of robots is spreading, with the increasing automation of factories, and they have become essential to many laboratory procedures. Japan is the most advanced nation exploring robot technology. Nowadays robots continue to expand their applications. The home-made robots (горничная) available today may be one sign of the future
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