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Robots Drive, Swarm, Jump into Smithsonian Collection

C-3PO of "Star Wars" movie fame lives here. So, does his side-kick R2D2. They are part of the robot collection at the National Museum of American History in Washington. Curator Carlene Stephens says even though these androids are just movie props, they represent something much more. “They have a long history. And, as a history museum, they fit directly into our interest in things relating to industry, things relating to invention and innovation."

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This 16th century friar automaton is driven by a key-wound spring and remains in good working condition. (Smithsonian)
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This 16th century friar automaton is driven by a key-wound spring and remains in good working condition. (Smithsonian)

The friar's dress covers its clock-like interworkings. (Smithsonian)
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The friar's dress covers its clock-like interworkings. (Smithsonian)

Model for a creep baby doll, which was patented in 1871. (Smithsonian)
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Model for a creep baby doll, which was patented in 1871. (Smithsonian)

The driver-less car, Stanley, sees the road ahead through roof-mounted laser sensors, video cameras, radar and GPS resources. It uses sophisticated computers to navigate the environment and avoid obstacles. (Smithsonian)
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The driver-less car, Stanley, sees the road ahead through roof-mounted laser sensors, video cameras, radar and GPS resources. It uses sophisticated computers to navigate the environment and avoid obstacles. (Smithsonian)

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