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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Self-Repairing Robot  
  A mechanism that can detect faults in itself and repair them.  

An early example of the idea of a self-repairing mechanism.

He balanced the toaster in his hand and burned a small hole in the little wheeled monster. Tentacles emerged from the side of the machine and felt puzzledly at the damaged area. The tentacles were withdrawn and presently reappeared with a small torch and began welding.

Jordan pulled the unconscious pilot toward him. He leaned against the machine, raised the inert form over his head and laid it gently on the top flat surface. Another tentacle reached out to investigate the body of the pilot. Jordan welded the joints solid with the toaster. Three times he repeated the process until the pilot was fastened to the robot.

"The thing will stay here, repairing itself, until it's completely sound again," remarked Jordan. "However, that can be fixed." He adjusted the toaster beam to an imperceptible thickness. Deftly he sliced through the control case and removed a circular section. He reached inside and ripped out circuits. "No further self-repair," he said cheerfully. "Now I'm going to need your help.

From Accidental Flight, by W.F. Wallace.
Published by Galaxy in 1952
Additional resources -

Compare to the repair robot from The Invincible (1954), by Stanislaw Lem.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Accidental Flight
  More Ideas and Technology by W.F. Wallace
  Tech news articles related to Accidental Flight
  Tech news articles related to works by W.F. Wallace

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