avatars of vishnu
When there was trouble in the world, Vishnu would allow a portion of himself to be incarnated as a mortal: a fish, a boar, a dwarf, a semi-human semi-man, heroes like Rama, wise men like Krishna and Buddha. These were his avatars. A Hindu site explains this in detail, as does the Encyclopedia Britannica, though the latter may be subscription only.
Kalki, the avatar that is yet to come (though some believe he is here already), will be a machine-man, says this completely unauthorised site, but the Encyclopedia Britannica unfortunately refuses to confirm this – if true it would be a nice tidbit for a talk on avatars and machines.