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"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

Skrode  
  A small mobile platform designed for a legless race.  

Ravna looked across the surf. When the waves backed down the sand, she could see the Skroderiders' fronds peeping out of the spray... They sat in the surf, thinking thoughts that left no imprint on their minds...

Then some unknown race had chanced upon the dreamers and decided to "help them out." Someone had put them on mobile platforms, the skrodes. With wheels they could move along the seashores, could reach and manipulate with their fronds and tendrils. With the skrode's mechanical short-term memory, they could learn fast enough that their new mobility would not kill them...

From A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge.
Published by Tor Books in 1992
Additional resources -

Skroderiders sometimes performed an action repeatedly; their only short-term memory lay in their skrodes:

When the Riders tried to think on more than one thing at a time, their Skrodes were sometimes unable to maintain short-term memory. Blueshell especially got trapped into cycles of behavior, repeating an action and then immediately forgetting the accomplishment.

Compare to the Martian perambulators from Between Planets (1951) by Robert Heinlein.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from A Fire Upon The Deep
  More Ideas and Technology by Vernor Vinge
  Tech news articles related to A Fire Upon The Deep
  Tech news articles related to works by Vernor Vinge

Skrode-related news articles:
  - Cockroach-Controlled Mobile Robot
  - Terranaut - Fish Explore Land With Robotic Vehicle
  - Mothbot: Moth Controls Robotic Vehicle
  - PlantBot: Humans Provide Gift Of Greater Mobility With 'Skrodes'
  - Solar Nomad Plant A Robotic Urban Parasite
  - Hamster Powers, Controls Strandbeest Walking Robot
  - Project Shellter 3D Prints Homes For Crabs
  - Pepper The Parrot's Bird Buggy
  - Male Moths Cruise For Girls In Robotic Vehicle
  - Mattel Bug Racer Driven By Live Cricket
  - HEXA Robotic Help For Plants

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