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"The whole problem of energy sources is going to be solved by little solutions, not by some big new piece of technology that does everything. We got into this crisis by believing that we had one big piece of technology that would do everything (oil)."
- Gregory Benford

Serving Robot  
  A non-humanoid robot designed to serve.  

As they sat down, he aimed his ultraviolet light-pencil at a serving robot. Unlike Mardukan robots, which looked like surrealist conceptions of Pre-Atomic armored knights, it was a smooth ovoid floating a few inches from the floor on its own contragravity; as it approached, its top opened like a bursting beetle shell and hinged trays of food swung out. The boy looked at it in fascination.

"Is that a Sword-World robot, sir, or did you capture it somewhere?"

"It's one of our own." He was pardonably proud; it had been built on Tanith a year before. "Has an ultrasonic dishwasher underneath, and it does some cooking on top, at the back."

From Space Viking, by H. Beam Piper.
Published by Analog in 1962
Additional resources -

Compare to the usuform robots from Anthony Boucher's story Q.U.R..

Thanks to Winchell Chung (aka @nyrath) for the tip.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Space Viking
  More Ideas and Technology by H. Beam Piper
  Tech news articles related to Space Viking
  Tech news articles related to works by H. Beam Piper

Serving Robot-related news articles:
  - The First 'Drone Cafe' Started By Dutch Students
  - Flying Robot Waiters From Infinium Robotics
  - 7-Eleven Drone Delivers Chix Sandwich And Slurpee

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