Android and Gynoid
Androids, rarely called Mechanoids, are a type of robot that typically resemble humans, usually male ones. Gynoids are similar, but typically resemble female humans. Androgynoid, while rarely used, can refer to robots with both masculine and feminine characteristics.
The word android was originally used to refer to all human-looking robots, but has since been used to refer to human male-presenting robots. Human female presenting robots are called gynoids. The Greek prefix "andr-" refers to man in the masculine sense, while the prefix "gyne-" refers to woman in the feminine sense.
The earliest use of the word android appears to have originated in 1728 encyclopedia Cyclopædia by Ephraim Chambers (then called "Androides"), which was in reference to a human-looking automaton supposedly created by St. Albertus Magnus. By the late 1700s, androids started to appear in exhibits for display purposes and by 1863, the word android would appear in US patents referring to human-looking automaton toys. The word gynoid originated from a 1979 editorial written by Isaac Asimov.
With the introduction of Karel Čapek's famous play, R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), the word 'robot' was introduced, which was often used interchangeably with android. Though, robot was used more to refer to mechanical humans, animals and other beings. Authors of stories have often used android in more diverse ways, such as in the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, where the artificially-created humans called Replicants are used as slaves. These Replicants have no mechanical components, but are called androids nonetheless.
In popular culture
- Data (Star Trek)
- Replicants (Blade Runner)
- Galatea (Bicentennial Man)