U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men

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Not to be confused with USRobotics.

U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, Inc. is a fictional 21st century manufacturer of robots that appears in Isaac Asimov's Robot series of novels and short stories.

U.S. Robots was founded in 1982 by Lawrence Robertson. Dr. Susan Calvin was the first, and for many years, the only robopsychologist at U.S. Robots, and is the main character in many of Asimov's short stories, usually dealing with robot problems in the laboratory. In other robot stories Greg Powell and Mike Donovan, field engineers for the company, try to solve robot issues in the field. The short stories also mention Alfred Lanning and Peter Bogert, the Directors of Research (first Lanning, and then Bogert) during Calvin's time at the corporation.

The physical location of the company is unclear. Ultimately, factories are established in many parts of the world, but in one story, "Robot AL-76 Goes Astray", the main factory is said to be located in Schenectady, New York.

In "Catch that Rabbit", the company's unofficial motto is revealed to be "No employee makes the same mistake twice. He is fired the first time." The factory of U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men is the only place on Earth where robots are allowed to be present in an assembled condition.

Robertson, together with associates, are constantly trying to reverse what they call the Frankenstein complex, and prove to the world that robots are in fact harmless. In one novel, however, Calvin suggests another approach: let people know of the danger, and so increase the thrill, and that way make the subject more demanded among the public.

As depicted by Asimov, the company keeps its name even after the US itself was absorbed into a bigger political unit and no longer exists as such. There are many actual cases of a company preserving a name which reflects the historical conditions under which it was first formed, particularly if that name is a well-known brand name in its field - as that of U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men clearly is.

Under the name U.S. Robotics, this company is also featured in I, Robot, the 2004 Will Smith movie loosely inspired by Asimov's short story collection of the same name. Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) appears in this film in her role at U.S. Robotics as a specialist in robot psychology. This movie presents an attractive woman in her early thirties, while the Dr. Calvin of the written stories has an advanced age, gray or white hair, and is no particular beauty in the Asimov stories.

The computer modem manufacturer USRobotics was named after the fictional corporation of Asimov's.[1]


  1. ^ http://www.usr.com/download/brochures/press-backgrounder.pdf