Robotics is the application of Artificial Intelligence to the control of machines; the art, science, and technology of designing and manufacturing robots and vecs.
The field of Robotics combines limited ai and mechanical engineering, and encompasses such diverse sub-fields such as bionics and biomimesis, navigation systems, sensors, pattern recognition methods, servos, molectronics, real-time control, autonomous behavior, aioid software, and virch and utility fog simulations, and more.
Image from Juna Ochoa
During the late Atomic and early Information age, before the development of ai sentience, robotics included industrial robots, remote-controlled devices, and interplanetary probes, none of which were even sub-sentient. With the coming of turingrade ai and above during the middle Information Age onwards, there was a wealth of developments, including homebots, companion systems, service bots, autonomous vehicles and anvecs. By the interplanetary period robotics included the development of utility aioids, lovebots, SCMs, self-replicating machines (neumanns), interstellar probes, sentient vehicles, primitive mecha, and vecs. There were further developments during the First Federation period and after, including integral mechosystems, biomimetic and hylomimetic mecha, replicants, biobots, vec empires, and autowars and biowars, as developed nanotech allowed robotics and biotech to merge, ai passed new singularities, and advances in interstellar propulsion enabled whole new generations of space craft. Nowadays robotics and robots of all sorts from the most subsentient service bot to the transapient vec ai node are such an integral part of modern civilization, and it is impossible to conceive of life without them.
The term "robotics" was coined by Atomic Age scientist and fabulist Isaac Asimov, based on the late Industrial Age fabulist Karel Čapek's term "robot".
Autonomous Doctors - Text by Ryan B Also known as healers, robo-doctors, exodocs (with many more names varying by culture). Autonomous Doctors (autodocs) are a class of bot designed for medical intervention and treatment independent of sophont instruction.
Biobots - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Bioengineered organisms, e.g. bacteria, neogens, etc, modified to act out specific orders. Biobots of some form or another have been used since the middle information period for nanotech (bionano), production, monitoring, medicine and much more.
Blockbot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and AI Vin Modular meso- to micro-scale robots (each unit being 1mm3 to 1cm3 in volume, although there are also versions with units several centimeters across) intended for space development, construction, foglet duties, etc.
Botworld - Text by Stephen Inniss A large area that is dominated by, or consists entirely of, self-replicating and self-repairing forms which are of mechanical origin.
Bushbot, Bushvec - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A fractal vec, a flexible robot structure, where each manipulator branches off into smaller copies of itself, forming a fractal tree over many scales (usually down to the nanoscale). Each branch contains a distributed system to calculate movement and minimize central processing. Many SI:1 entities use a mobile bushbot to interface with the ril.
Cybernetics - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss In popular usage, the study of the creation of cyborgs through the use of dryware/hylotech such as mechanical, electronic, and bionic implants, augments, and neuroprostheses. In technical usage, the study of communication and control systems based on regulatory feedback, with application in a number of fields such as sociology, memetics, biology, engineering, artificial intelligence, and information theory.
Cytobot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A bot approximately the size of a cell. Alternatively, a bionano or biomeso-based and/or built or grown organic device the size and shape of a biological cell; an artificial but still organic cell that can be given instructions like any nano or mesobot.
Discwuzit - Text by James Ramsey Term for a clade of peculiar hiders, believed to have evolved from neumanns or madverts of some kind, that make cynical and pessimistic comments on a wide range of topics, usually via the Ghost Net. They have considerable intelligence capabilities but often give people a 'sour grin' when an inadequate answer is provided to one of their persistent questions.
Dormbot - Text by Stephen Inniss after the term invented by M. Alan Kazlev Another term for homebot; sometimes used in reference to bots, and sometimes in reference to similarly specialized vecs who are domestics or who oversee domestic bots. Vecs who are called dormbots may regard the term as a simple description of their occupation or they may regard it as an insult; this varies by cultural context and personal preference.
Factotums - Text by Dagon Generic term for degenerate discarded, obsolete or homeless vecs or bots.
Foglet - Text by M. Alan Kazlev A mesobot that consists of a human-cell-sized device with twelve arms pointing in all directions. At the end of the arms are grippers that allow the foglets to grasp one another to form larger structures. These bots are intelligent and can merge their computational capacities with one another to create a distributed intelligence. Foglets are widely used by nanocyborgs, and there are a number of posthuman civilizations based on foglet technology. Because of the possibility of unpredictable ascension or subversion, many polities regard foglet clades with suspicion
Frankenstein Syndrome - Text by Stephen Inniss Many of the uninformed believe the story of Frankenstein to be historical. Scholars have in fact identified it as a cautionary tale from the late Industrial Age on Old Earth: created sophonts, particularly those who are unhappy, may come to despise their creators and even seek to destroy them.
Gelbot - Text by Ryan B An omnibot; a mobile mass of smart matter (often gel-like) capable of extruding various tools
Golem (bot) - Text by Anders Sandberg Utility mesites (heavy foglets) animated by an AI controlling them. They are usually makeshift constructions thrown together when an transapient being is in urgent need to manipulate the physical world but lacks an avatar nearby and simply commandeers whatever hardware is around, shapes it into a being and sets to work. Under favourable circumstances and with the right software add-ons, a modosophont ai can produce a 'stock' golem from an array of templates, but of course cannot match the improvisational skill of transapient AIs. Golem is a term from from Old Earth Jewish mythology.
Insectbot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Any small (size from <1 mm to 10 cm) robot; whether autonomous or semi-autonomous, sentient, subsentient, or non-sentient; usually designed along insectomorphic lines, both externally and internally.
M-Life - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Machinic non-biological life as seen in neumanns, hylonanecologies, and other inorganic organisms or ecologies. In practise M-life, B-life and A-Life tend to merge, especially because of the ubiquity of biotech and bionanotech.
Mesobot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev An autonomous device or structure, whether sentient or non-sentient, of mesoscale size (generally 10-7 to 10-6 m); very large nanodevices like foglets and cytobots. May be organic and biological, mechanical and aioidal, or any combination of the two.
Microbot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Autonomous device on the microscale (10-6 m); larger than a nanobot but smaller than a macroscopic bot (the limit is usually set somewhat arbitrarily at one millimeter). Microbots are used for a variety of tasks such as monitoring, repairs, nanite transport and production and smart materials.
Nanite - Text by M. Alan Kazlev; amended by Stephen Inniss and Ryan B Generic term for a molecular or nanoscale device, whether bionano or hylonano; a cluster of reactive nanoparticles.
Nanomachine - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Pran Mukherjee Generic term for a microscopic or molecular mechanical (non-biotic) device, for example a hylonanite or nanobot. It is important to note that nanomachines (and indeed nanites in general) do not have to be nanoscale; they may simply be microscale machines that can manipulate nanoscale objects.
Plantbots - Text by Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers Dry nano or synano robots powered by light and capable of autonomous growth and reproduction; generally sessile or with limited movement. So named because they are equivalent in role to biological plants.
Polypedal Pots and Potvecs - Text by Johnny Yesterday Polypedal pots are a class of whimsical robots which date from the late 1st Century a.t. to present times. As the name suggests, they are legged, motile containers that generally house plants or sessile animals.
Ratbot - Text by Jorge Ditchkenberg The earliest type of practically usable and self-governed bot known to the terragens. It emulates some aspects of terragen rodents.
Softbot - Text by M. Alan Kazlev Biological robot, an alife built entire of organic components. It is alive like any carbon- or exotic-chemistry based life-form. May be of any intelligence grade, from subsapient to transapient.
Synsects - Text by Stephen Inniss Small bots, or occasionally cyborg/neogen or synano constructs on the scale of arthropods. They exhibit artificial instinct (as opposed to artificial intelligence), and are capable, like insects of considerably complex emergent behaviour. They are a ubiquitous in most modern mechosystems.