Robotics is the study of reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulators designed to move materials, parts, tools, or specialized devices through programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks (Robot Institute of America, 1979). Taking a more general view, robots can be said to be programmable machines that either in performance or appearance imitate human activities. In contrast to purely algorithmic computing, which is concerned with the transformation of information from input to output, robotics is concerned with the transformation of the physical world from an input state to an output state. Robotics programs are real-time systems (q.v.); robotics programs must be able to service commands as close to instantaneously as possible.
Robotics. (2003). In E. D. Reilly, A. Ralston, & D. Hemmendinger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of computer science (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.