The Brennan torpedo, invented by Louis Brennan in 1877 was powered by two contra-rotating propellors that were spun by rapidly pulling out wires from drums wound inside the torpedo.
Differential speed on the wires connected to the shore station allowed the torpedo to be guided to its target, making it "the world's first practical guided missile".
270 BC) "applied a knowledge of pneumatics and hydraulics to produce the first organ and water clocks with moving figures." The 11th century Lokapannatti tells of how the Buddha's relics were protected by mechanical robots (bhuta vahana yanta), from the kingdom of Roma visaya (Rome); until they were disarmed by King Ashoka.
In ancient China, the 3rd century text of the Lie Zi describes an account of humanoid automata, involving a much earlier encounter between Chinese emperor King Mu of Zhou and a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an 'artificer'.
Robots can be autonomous or semi-autonomous and range from humanoids such as Honda's Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility (ASIMO) and TOSY's TOSY Ping Pong Playing Robot (TOPIO) to industrial robots, medical operating robots, patient assist robots, dog therapy robots, collectively programmed swarm robots, UAV drones such as General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, and even microscopic nano robots.
By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense of intelligence or thought of its own.
Since circa 400 BC, myths of Crete include Talos, a man of bronze who guarded the Cretan island of Europa from pirates.
In ancient Greece, the Greek engineer Ctesibius (c.
There is no consensus on which machines qualify as robots but there is general agreement among experts, and the public, that robots tend to possess some or all of the following abilities and functions: accept electronic programming, process data or physical perceptions electronically, operate autonomously to some degree, move around, operate physical parts of itself or physical processes, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior, especially behavior which mimics humans or other animals.
(Vulcan to the Romans), the clay golems of Jewish legend and clay giants of Norse legend, and Galatea, the mythical statue of Pygmalion that came to life.
In France, between 17, Jacques de Vaucanson exhibited several life-sized automatons: a flute player, a pipe player and a duck.