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10 robots and machines from the history books

"Vulcan" by Peter Paul Rubens

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Mr. Roboto

Humanity has toyed with the idea of robots since well before modern times. Homer wrote in the "Iliad" that the Greek god Hephaestus (pictured here as the Roman equivalent, Vulcan) created golden mechanical handmaidens. Through the centuries, inventors have spent considerable brain power and energy devising ways that machines could aid man. Originally known as automatons, or self-operating machines, the word "robot" was popularized by a 1921 play called "R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)" by Czech author Karel Capek. But long before this text was published, the road to artificial intelligence was already well-paved. Here are some of the famous robots and machines from the history books. (Text: Katherine Butler)