Although the word "robot" was first heard early last century and has fuelled our imagination ever since, the first industrial robot, Unimate, did not appear on General Motor's assembly line until 1961. Robotics is a discipline that is now well-rooted in the manufacturing industry and has substantially changed the way our production tools are organized. 50 years after Unimate the Chair in Technological Innovation - Liliane Bettencourt has turned its attention to robotics; the brief is to report on 50 years of research originally dominated by PLCs (programmed logic controllers), supported by the fast progression (in terms of power and miniaturization) of computing technologies that participated in the emergence of new disciplines in areas such as automation and signal processing. Borrowing from information technology, stimulated by the huge areas of application that extend way beyond the industrial production sector, the discipline has been crowned by some very successful results, making our former dreams come true . From all these ideas and the opportunities they open, emerge issues concerning the relationship between machines and the real world. These are the issues we shall focus on in the lectures and associated seminars.