The Shadow robot hand system
Mechanical construction
Electrical aspect
A level of programming
The InSight lander with solar panels deployed in a cleanroom
A robotic leg powered by air muscles
KUKA industrial robot operating in a foundry
Puma, one of the first industrial robots
Baxter, a modern and versatile industrial robot developed by Rodney Brooks
Lefty, first checker playing robot
Segway in the Robot museum in Nagoya
TALON military robots used by the United States Army
Two robot snakes. Left one has 64 motors (with 2 degrees of freedom per segment), the right one 10.
Capuchin, a climbing robot
Robotic Fish: iSplash-II
The autonomous sailboat robot Vaimos
Radar, GPS, and lidar, are all combined to provide proper navigation and obstacle avoidance (vehicle developed for 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge)
Kismet can produce a range of facial expressions.
Puppet Magnus, a robot-manipulated marionette with complex control systems.
Experimental planar robot arm and sensor-based, open-architecture robot controller developed at Sunderland University, UK in 2000
RuBot II can manually resolve Rubik's cubes.
TOPIO, a humanoid robot, played ping pong at Tokyo IREX 2009.
Two Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers stand with three vehicles, providing a size comparison of three generations of Mars rovers. Front and center is the flight spare for the first Mars rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997 as part of the Mars Pathfinder Project. On the left is a Mars Exploration Rover (MER) test vehicle that is a working sibling to Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on Mars in 2004. On the right is a test rover for the Mars Science Laboratory, which landed Curiosity on Mars in 2012. Sojourner is 65 cm long. The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) are 1.6 m long. Curiosity on the right is 3 m long.
The SCORBOT-ER 4u educational robot
A robot technician builds small all-terrain robots. (Courtesy: MobileRobots, Inc.)

Interdisciplinary branch of computer science and engineering.

- Robotics

500 related topics



Machine—especially one programmable by a computer—capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically.

ASIMO (2000) at the Expo 2005
Articulated welding robots used in a factory are a type of industrial robot
The quadrupedal military robot Cheetah, an evolution of BigDog (pictured), was clocked as the world's fastest legged robot in 2012, beating the record set by an MIT bipedal robot in 1989.
KITT (a fictional robot) is mentally anthropomorphic.
iCub is physically anthropomorphic.
Al-Jazari – A Musical Toy
Su Song's astronomical clock tower showing the mechanical figurines which chimed the hours.
Model of Leonardo's robot with inner workings. Possibly constructed by Leonardo da Vinci around 1495.
The Brennan torpedo, one of the earliest 'guided missiles'
W. H. Richards with "George", 1932
U.S. Patent 2,988,237, issued in 1961 to Devol.
A scene from Karel Čapek's 1920 play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), showing three robots
A laparoscopic robotic surgery machine
A pick and place robot in a factory
TOPIO, a humanoid robot, played ping pong at Tokyo International Robot Exhibition (IREX) 2009
An android, or robot designed to resemble a human, can appear comforting to some people and disturbing to others
A general-purpose robot acts as a guide during the day and a security guard at night.
An intelligent AGV drops-off goods without needing lines or beacons in the workspace.
A U.S. Marine Corps technician prepares to use a telerobot to detonate a buried improvised explosive device near Camp Fallujah, Iraq.
The Roomba domestic vacuum cleaner robot does a single, menial job
The Care-Providing Robot FRIEND
Toy robots on display at the Museo del Objeto del Objeto in Mexico City.
Italian movie The Mechanical Man (1921), the first film to have shown a battle between robots.

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.

Mechanical engineering

Engineering branch that combines engineering physics and mathematics principles with materials science, to design, analyze, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems.

Archimedes' screw was operated by hand and could efficiently raise water, as the animated red ball demonstrates.
Mohr's circle, a common tool to study stresses in a mechanical element
Training FMS with learning robot SCORBOT-ER 4u, workbench CNC Mill and CNC Lathe
A CAD model of a mechanical double seal
An oblique view of a four-cylinder inline crankshaft with pistons
Composite cloth consisting of woven carbon fiber

In addition to these core principles, mechanical engineers use tools such as computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing plants, industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling systems, transport systems, aircraft, watercraft, robotics, medical devices, weapons, and others.

Android (robot)

Humanoid robot or other artificial being often made from a flesh-like material.

Early example of the term androides used to describe human-like mechanical devices, London Times, 22 December 1795
DER 01, a Japanese actroid
EveR-2, the first android that can sing
Dr. William Barry (left) with Maria Bot (right)
Dr. William Barry (right) and a fan pose with Maria Bot (center)

Historically, androids were completely within the domain of science fiction and frequently seen in film and television, but recent advances in robot technology now allow the design of functional and realistic humanoid robots.

Computer engineering

Branch of electrical engineering that integrates several fields of computer science and electronic engineering required to develop computer hardware and software.

This computer motherboard used in a personal computer is the result of computer engineering efforts.
The Difference Engine, the first mechanical computer.
ENIAC, the first electronic computer.
Source code written in the C programming language.
Windows 10, an example of an operating system.
An example of a computer CPU.
An example of a humanoid robot.
Examples of devices that use embedded systems.

Computer engineers are also suited for robotics research, which relies heavily on using digital systems to control and monitor electrical systems like motors, communications, and sensors.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics

Broad term used to group together these academic disciplines.

"Woman teaching geometry" Illustration at the beginning of a medieval translation of Euclid's Elements (c. 1310 AD)

STREM (science, technology, robotics, engineering, and mathematics); adds robotics as a field


Wide-ranging field concerned with regulatory and purposive systems.

Principle diagram of a cybernetic system with a feedback loop
Simple feedback model. AB < 0 for negative feedback.
Ctesibius' water clock, as visualized by the 17th-century French architect Claude Perrault
James Watt
Norbert Wiener

At its most prominent during the 1950s and 1960s, cybernetics is a precursor to fields such as computing, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, complexity science, and robotics amongst others.


Mechatronic system
Aerial Euler diagram from RPI's website describes the fields that make up mechatronics
Applied mechatronics

Mechatronics, also called mechatronics engineering, is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on the integration of mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering systems, and also includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computer science, telecommunications, systems, control, and product engineering.


Use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings.

The InSight lander with solar panels deployed in a cleanroom
The steam engine, the major driver in the Industrial Revolution, underscores the importance of engineering in modern history. This beam engine is on display in the Technical University of Madrid.
Relief map of the Citadel of Lille, designed in 1668 by Vauban, the foremost military engineer of his age.
The Ancient Romans built aqueducts to bring a steady supply of clean and fresh water to cities and towns in the empire.
A water-powered mine hoist used for raising ore, ca. 1556
The application of the steam engine allowed coke to be substituted for charcoal in iron making, lowering the cost of iron, which provided engineers with a new material for building bridges. This bridge was made of cast iron, which was soon displaced by less brittle wrought iron as a structural material
Jumbo Jet
Offshore platform, Gulf of Mexico
The solar furnace at Odeillo in the Pyrénées-Orientales in France can reach temperatures up to 3500 C
Hoover Dam
Electric motor
Design of a turbine requires collaboration of engineers from many fields, as the system involves mechanical, electro-magnetic and chemical processes. The blades, rotor and stator as well as the steam cycle all need to be carefully designed and optimized.
A drawing for a booster engine for steam locomotives. Engineering is applied to design, with emphasis on function and the utilization of mathematics and science.
A computer simulation of high velocity air flow around a Space Shuttle orbiter during re-entry. Solutions to the flow require modelling of the combined effects of fluid flow and the heat equations.
Graphic representation of a minute fraction of the WWW, demonstrating hyperlinks
Robotic Kismet can produce a range of facial expressions.
Radar, GPS, lidar, ... are all combined to provide proper navigation and obstacle avoidance (vehicle developed for 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge)
Engineers, scientists and technicians at work on target positioner inside National Ignition Facility (NIF) target chamber
The International Space Station is used to conduct science experiments in space
A 3 tesla clinical MRI scanner.
Genetically engineered mice expressing green fluorescent protein, which glows green under blue light. The central mouse is wild-type.
Leonardo da Vinci, seen here in a self-portrait, has been described as the epitome of the artist/engineer. He is also known for his studies on human anatomy and physiology.

Some of Archimedes' inventions as well as the Antikythera mechanism required sophisticated knowledge of differential gearing or epicyclic gearing, two key principles in machine theory that helped design the gear trains of the Industrial Revolution, and are still widely used today in diverse fields such as robotics and automotive engineering.

Norbert Wiener

American mathematician and philosopher.

Norbert Wiener was regarded as a semi-legendary figure at MIT
Norbert (standing) and Margaret (sitting) Wiener at the International Congress of Mathematicians, Zurich 1932
In the mathematical field of probability, the "Wiener sausage" is a neighborhood of the trace of a Brownian motion up to a time t, given by taking all points within a fixed distance of Brownian motion. It can be visualized as a cylinder of fixed radius the centerline of which is Brownian motion.

Wiener later helped develop the theories of cybernetics, robotics, computer control, and automation.

Degrees of freedom (mechanics)

Number of independent parameters that define its configuration or state.

The six degrees of freedom of movement of a ship
Attitude degrees of freedom for an airplane
An articulated robot with six DOF in a kinematic chain.

It is important in the analysis of systems of bodies in mechanical engineering, structural engineering, aerospace engineering, robotics, and other fields.