What's a robot?

Thinking of the old Bill Cosby sketch on Noah and the Ark - “What’s a Cubit?”

Which leads me to ask “What’s a robot”?

How would you distinguish between a “real” robot and a sub-robotic toy?

If someone asked you to define what exactly is and is not a robot, what would you say?

Though I believe that the GoPiGo qualifies, at least my own simple experiments are more sub-robotic than not.


  1. Programming Charlie to drive forward to within “x” distance of an obstacle then stop. If the obstacle moves closer, move backwards. If it moves further away, move forward.

  2. Drive around under my remote control, sending back video.

What say ye?

A robot is defined as an electronic device who can ‘take decisions’ based on sensors, and which decision results in an external change.
Therefore, at least one sensor, and at least one actuator, with a bit of logic behind it.
A standard light switch has a sensor and an actuator but no logic, so it’s not a robot.

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