The past year was a watershed moment for robotics. From defense to exploration, startups to legislation, we saw products, laws, and investments that have shifted robotics out of the lab and into our lives. They have built on decades of basic and applied research, taking advantage of plummeting component costs and maturing core technologies such as batteries and communications. Below are the top 10 stories of 2012. And choosing only 10 from so many successes, research, and new products was extremely difficult. Perhaps that’s really the best story of the year.