... Well, we've all seen the films where robots are massacring every human in sight or taking over the world, but real robots are nothing like as scary. Though they can be a bit dangerous to hang around with while they're working, they're certainly not likely to kill us all - well, not yet anyway.
Films and stories make us think that robots are riotous but the reality is very different. Although a lot of robot scientists around today are strongly influenced by fictional robots (which well be meeting in the next chapter), the robots they build aren't quite the same. For one thing, fictional robots are able to act like people and can have a go at anything from dressmaking to falling in love, while real robots are normally designed to do just one sort of thing, like building cars or exploring Mars. That's why most real robots don't look like humans - our bodies have evolved to do absolutely loads of things fairly well, while robot bodies are designed to do a few things very well. Real robots are incredibly complicated machines that are far better at their jobs than people are and in this book you'll discover a whole host of them. We'll be meeting robots that can:
• feed on slugs using a three-fingered hand equipped with a slime scraper
• change shape using jets of quick-setting plastic
• crawl around inside you carrying spikes and knives
• use electric sandwiches to handle delicate things.
Read on and decide for yourself if humans are still in control of robots like these, or if our metal friends are about to take over the world...