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"I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander."
- Isaac Asimov

Droid  
  A contraction of "android", it actually describes one of a variety of robots.  

Unique to the Star Wars universe (LucasFilms has a trademark on it, so you are unlikely to see it elsewhere), this contraction has entered the common language of science fiction.

The only reasonable derivation of the word "droid" is from "android" which means "having human features." However, in the Star Wars universe, the term droid is always used to describe mechanical robots; not all of them have recognizable human shapes. One robot that is human-shaped is C-3PO (See Threepio).

...the farmer's eyes narrowed as he concentrated on the sand-scoured but still flashy bronze finish of the tall, humanoid Threepio.

"I presume you function," he grumbled at the robot. "Do you know customs and protocol?"

"Do I know protocol?" Threepio echoed as the farmer looked him up and down. Threepio was determined to embarass the jawa when it came to selling his abilities, "Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function. I am also well-"

"Don't need a protocol 'droid," the farmer snapped dryly.

"I don't blame you, sir," Threepio rapidly agreed. "I couldn't be more in agreement...For someone of your interests, sir, a protocol 'droid would be a useless waste of money. No, sir - versatility is my middle name. See Vee Threepio - Vee for versatility - at your service...

"I need," the farmer broke in... "a 'droid that knows something about the binary language of independently programmable moisture vaporators."

From Star Wars, by George Lucas.
Published by Del Rey in 1976
Additional resources -

Low moisture planets were much in the minds of science fiction authors; read more about the vaporators of Tatooine.

Alternatively, you might enjoy a look at another kind of automaton with its own point of view; see the self-satisfied door from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Star Wars
  More Ideas and Technology by George Lucas
  Tech news articles related to Star Wars
  Tech news articles related to works by George Lucas

Droid-related news articles:
  - GRACE Robot Specializes In Etiquette And Protocol
  - Dexter Dynamically Balancing Humanoid Robot
  - US Army To Be 30 Percent Droid By 2020?
  - Lingodroid Robots Invent Spoken Language
  - Aldebaran Robot Talks Like C3PO - Almost

Articles related to Robotics
ElliQ Robot To Help Israel's Grandmas And Grandpas
Robot Motion Planning 10K Times Faster
Festo's eMotionButterfly, AirJelly And AirPenguin Robots
Robot Animals Set To 'Spy in the Wild'

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