If the computer can be described as a thinking machine, then a robot can be descibed as a thinking and operating machine. Many centuries ago, men like Thomas Aquinas and René Descartes proposed that animals and even people might be regarded as automatic machines. Just to mention, that as of the end of 2010, there are approximately 9 million robots operating in the world.

Some of the inventors of calculating devices, mentioned in other sections of this site, like Leonardo da Vinci, Athanasius Kircher, Leonardo Torres, etc., designed also automatic machines. Other computer pioneers, such as Charles Babbage, used some elements from automata in their machines. That's why the automatic machines (automata) deserve a separate section in this site:

Early (fairy-tale) automata Ctesibius of Alexandria
Philon of Byzantium Heron of Alexandria
The Arabic Automata Villard de Honnecourt
Giovanni de la Fontana Leonardo da Vinci
Juanelo Turriano Salomon de Caus
Athanasius Kircher Friedrich von Knauss
Basile Bouchon Jacques de Vaucanson
Pierre Jaquet-Droz Wolfgang von Kempelen
Henri Maillardet Johann Georg Strasser
Johann Friedrich Kaufmann Steam Man of Zadoc Dederick
Leonardo Torres's chess-machine Electric Dog
Thomas Ross Shakey of SRI
Isaac Azimov The Robots of Westinghouse
The ROBOT of Karel Čapek Eric Robot of Richards and Reffell
Let him that would move the world, first move himself.—Socrates
Katatsuburi soro-soro nobore fuji no yama—Issa