Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

" I sometimes suspect that we're seeing something in the Internet as significant as the birth of cities. It's really something new, it's a new kind of civilization."
- William Gibson

Usuform Robot  
  A robot designed strictly along functional lines.  

In the story, there is a robot epidemic. Arms and legs become weak and need maintenance - maybe it's because a robot that sits all day doesn't need legs.

What good is a robot shaped like a man, when when it does a simple, repetitive job?

"Almost every robot, except perhaps a few like farmhands, does only one or two things and does those things constantly. All right. Shape them so that they can best do just those things, with no parts left over. give them a brain, eyes and ears to receive commands, and whatever [sensory] organs they need to do their work...

That's the source of your whole robot epidemic. They were all burdened down with things they didn't need...

"But this can't be done overnight. People are used to android robots... They'll be scared of your unhuman-looking contraptions... Give'em a name. A good name... Keep 'robots' thats common domain... I've got it. Usuform. Quinby's Usuform Robots. Q.U.R."

From Q.U.R., by Anthony Boucher.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1943
Additional resources -

Another fascinating part of this story is the discussion of how wasteful it is to have a full "mechanical man" when all you need is just a brain, sensory devices and some sort of manipulators for most tasks.

"Robinc is slowly using up all our resources of metallic and radioactive ore, isn't it?" Quinby asked... "And our usuforms will use only a fraction of what Robinc's androids need."

"A good point... You have convinced me that android robots are a prime example of conspicuous waste..."

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Q.U.R.
  More Ideas and Technology by Anthony Boucher
  Tech news articles related to Q.U.R.
  Tech news articles related to works by Anthony Boucher

Usuform Robot-related news articles:
  - Do People Prefer Humanoid Robots?
  - Robots Don't Need To Be Humanoid
  - A Bayesian Approach to Safe Imitation Learning For AIs and Robots

Articles related to Robotics
Pengxing Intelligent Robot Horse You Can Ride
Tesla Bot Humanoid 'Robot' Vs. Boston Dynamics Atlas Parkour Robot
Smartphone Microdrone Concept - Viva Vivo!
Feisty Little Robot Dog Cheaper Than Boston Dynamics

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

Ingenious Engineer Creates DIY Feeding Robot
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'

Do Smart Glasses Need Forward-Facing Cameras?
'They were stylish, with yellow-tinted lenses and hip frames, but the posts were unusually thick.'

Adorable One-Seater Electric Car From Wuxi Sinotech
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'

Zoom Adds Real-Time, Live Translation
'He immediately turned the small shining disc of the Language Rectifier..'

It's Spacewalk Sunday, Thanks To The ESA
'The delicious, indescribable pleasure of being a little planet swinging through space...'

Pengxing Intelligent Robot Horse You Can Ride
'The horse reared up, pawing the air, then sprang into a gallop.'

Tesla Bot Humanoid 'Robot' Vs. Boston Dynamics Atlas Parkour Robot
'...most jobs that require a human form are better done by those organic alternatives.'

Altos Labs' Bezos Wants An Anti-Agathic (To Live Forever)
'So what we're looking for now is... an anti-agathic, an anti-death drug.'

Carver EV Single Person Microcar Leans In
'Farr paid his fare, summoned a one-man car...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.