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"The primary attraction [of writing sf] is the sheer pleasure of creating something from whole cloth."
- Dan Simmons

Nanny Robot  
  A child-care robot with a surprisingly competitive side.  

In the short story Nanny from this collection by Philip K. Dick, we find a very sturdy robot that is designed from top to bottom for the task of childcare.

Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom. Her surface had been sprayed with a dull green enamel, which had become chipped and gouged through wear. There was not much visible in addition to the eye stalks. The treads could not be seen. On each side of the hull was the outline of a door. From these the magnetic grapples came, when they were needed. The front of the hull came to a point, and there the metal was reinforced. The extra plates welded both fore and aft made her look almost like a weapon of war. A tank of some kind. Or a ship, a rounded metal ship that had come up on land. Or like an insect. A sowbug, as they are called.

"Come on!" Bobby shouted.

Abruptly Nanny moved, spinning slightly as her treads gripped the floor and turned her around. One of her side doors opened. A long metal rod shot out. Playfully, Nanny caught Bobby's arm with her grapple and drew him to her. She perched him on her back. Bobby's legs straddled the metal hull. He kicked with his heels excitedly, jumping up and down.

"Race you around the block!" Jean shouted.


(Original nanny robot illustration from Startling Stories)

From Nanny, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Not known in 1955
Additional resources -

I don't want to spoil the story, but Dick uses his skills to expertly explore the hows and the whys of big corporations who really give you what you want, not just what you need.

PKD imagined our world:


(Original nanny robot illustration from Startling Stories)

"Of course, robots are a common sight these days. Certainly more so than a few years ago. You see them everywhere you go, behind counters in stores, driving buses, digging ditches - "
"But Nanny is different," Tom Fields murmured.
"She's - she's not like a machine. She's like a person. A living person. But after all, she's much more complex than any other kind. She has to be. They say she's even more intricate than the kitchen."

Compare to the manufactured wife from A Wife Manufactured to Order (1895) by Alice W. Fuller, the robotess from R.U.R. (1920) by Karel Capek, the psychophonic nurse from The Psychophonic Nurse (1928) by David H. Keller, the teleoperated robot surrogate from The Robot and the Lady (1938) by Manly Wade Wellman, the mechanical bride from The Mechanical Bride (1954) by Fritz Leiber and the maid-robot from The Midas Plague (1954) by Frederik Pohl.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Nanny
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Nanny
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Nanny Robot-related news articles:
  - Robot Nanny - The Fact, The Fiction
  - PaPeRo Robot Childcare In Japan
  - Tmsuk Robot Babysitter Knows Your Kid
  - Book-Reading Robot Reads Aloud
  - iRobiQ Nanny Robot
  - Family Nanny Robot
  - Babies Treat Robots Like Human Beings
  - Morphy Nanny Robot Teaches, Learns From Babies
  - China's Spherical Walking Robot With Retractable Arms
  - Audi Robot Yearns For An Upgrade
  - Robot Daycare With Robot Nannies?
  - New Robot Threat - They Make You Love Them
  - Pepper, Your Robot Companion
  - iPal Nanny Robot Will Raise Your Kids
  - ibotn Toddler-Care Mini-Robot
  - Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
  - IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter

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Dyson's Secret Household Robots
Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs

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