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Mysteries of vernacular: Robot - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel

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In 1920, Czech writer Karel Čapek wrote a play about human-like machines, thereby inventing the term robot from the Central European word for forced labor. Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel explain how the science fiction staple earned its name.

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  • Educator Jessica Oreck
  • Producer Rachael Teel

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
R.U.R. is a 1920 science fictio nplay in the Czech language by Karel Čapek. R.U.R. stands for Rossum's Universal Robots, an English phrase used as the subtitle in the Czech original. It premiered in 1921 and introduced the word "robot" to the English language and to science fiction as a whole. For a plot summary, see here.There are three major rules that we want our robots to follow: do not harm a human, obey us, and protect us. The prerequisite for these rules? We need to make robots smarter. Ayanna Howard explains how robots can become smarter (hint: it is related to how smart we humans are).The more that robots ingrain themselves into our everyday lives, the more we're forced to examine ourselves as people. At TEDxBerkeley, Ken Goldberg shares four very human lessons that he's learned from working with robots.In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams -- for construction, surveying disasters and far more.Here's a list of TED Talks about robots: http://www.ted.com/topics/robotsThe scientific method is widely used to make many scientific discoveries, but Robert Full suggests the possibility of finding world-changing results with less formulaic approaches. In his TEDYouth Talk, Full describes the unlikely way he studied gecko’s feet and how these beneficial discoveries could eventually save lives.iRobot is a company that invents and manufactures robots for use in a plethora of practical matters.
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TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jessica Oreck
  • Producer Rachael Teel

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