10 Everyday Technologies You Don't Realize You Use


It's true. We're actually using robots for all sorts of things in our daily lives without giving our artificially intelligent friends so much as a thank-you.

To be fair, it might be because we're looking for C3PO. But robots aren't necessarily humanoid. As pointed out in How Robots Work, robots just need to have mechanized parts that respond like human parts. Even though they don't have an actual brain, they have a processor or computer that gives their motor an idea of how to move the robot's parts. Put like that, you can see how robots are sneaking into our lives more easily than you might have thought.

One big way is in the manufactured products we use (i.e., everything), especially if that product is made in Japan. In 2007, a Japanese government plan called for a million robots to be installed in factory assembly lines by 2025. It was a figure that seemed possible, considering that about 400,000 Japanese robots were already punching their time cards in 2005 [source: Tabuchi and Kambayashi]. Globally, robots are also heavily used in the automobile industry and have been since the 1960s. Yes, if you have a car, you can thank a robot for installing -- or even helping to manufacture -- some of its components. Robots are moving heavy objects, welding and even spray painting manufactured products.

Let's look at one more stealth application we're constantly using.