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"...a market economy is essentially a genetic algorithm for solving resource allocation problems..."
- Charles Stross

Robot Crab  
  An automated gardener.  

Every passage from this award-winning novel has a sort of lyrical beauty, even when describing common objects.

It was Sunday afternoon and he stood with Molly in a sort of courtyard. White boulders, a stand of green bamboo, black gravel raked into smooth waves. A gardener, a thing like a large metal crab, was tending the bamboo...

The robot crab moved toward them, picking its way over the waves of gravel. Its bronze carapace might have been a thousand years old. When it was within a meter of her boots, it fired a burst of light, then froze for an instant, analyzing data obtained...

The crab had altered course to avoid her, but she kicked it with a smooth precision, the silver boot-tip clanging on the silver carapace. The thing fell on its back, but the bronze limbs soon righted it.

From Neuromancer, by William Gibson.
Published by Phantasia Press in 1984
Additional resources -

The problem of enclosing a power source, mechanics for movement and functionality, sensors and a brain to interpret sensory input is a difficult one. One solution used is to have the robot pause to consider its data.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Neuromancer
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Neuromancer
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

Robot Crab-related news articles:
  - Robovac Visualizes Your Home
  - ThereminVision Sensor: Robot Proximity Detection
  - AgBots: Agricultural Robots Take The Field
  - Robot Crab: Crustacean Clockwork Automata
  - Hexbug Robot Crab

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