Robotics - History


Main article: History of robots See also: Robot

Stories of artificial helpers and companions and attempts to create them have a long history.

The word robot was introduced to the public by the Czech writer Karel Čapek in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), published in 1920. The play begins in a factory that makes artificial people called robots creatures who can be mistaken for humans – though they are closer to the modern ideas of androids. Karel Čapek himself did not coin the word. He wrote a short letter in reference to an etymology in the Oxford English Dictionary in which he named his brother Josef Čapek as its actual originator.

In 1927 the Maschinenmensch ("machine-human") gynoid humanoid robot (also called "Parody", "Futura", "Robotrix", or the "Maria impersonator") was the first and perhaps the most memorable depiction of a robot ever to appear on film was played by German actress Brigitte Helm in Fritz Lang's film Metropolis.

In 1942 the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov formulated his Three Laws of Robotics and, in the process of doing so, coined the word "robotics" (see details in "Etymology" section above).

In 1948 Norbert Wiener formulated the principles of cybernetics, the basis of practical robotics.

Fully autonomous robots only appeared in the second half of the 20th century. The first digitally operated and programmable robot, the Unimate, was installed in 1961 to lift hot pieces of metal from a die casting machine and stack them. Commercial and industrial robots are widespread today and used to perform jobs more cheaply, or more accurately and reliably, than humans. They are also employed in jobs which are too dirty, dangerous, or dull to be suitable for humans. Robots are widely used in manufacturing, assembly, packing and packaging, transport, earth and space exploration, surgery, weaponry, laboratory research, safety, and the mass production of consumer and industrial goods.

Date Significance Robot Name Inventor
Third century B.C. and earlier One of the earliest descriptions of automata appears in the Lie Zi text, on a much earlier encounter between King Mu of Zhou (1023–957 BC) and a mechanical engineer known as Yan Shi, an 'artificer'. The latter allegedly presented the king with a life-size, human-shaped figure of his mechanical handiwork. Yan Shi
First century A.D. and earlier Descriptions of more than 100 machines and automata, including a fire engine, a wind organ, a coin-operated machine, and a steam-powered engine, in Pneumatica and Automata by Heron of Alexandria Ctesibius, Philo of Byzantium, Heron of Alexandria, and others
c. 420 B.C.E A wooden, steam propelled bird, which was able to fly Archytas of Tarentum
1206 Created early humanoid automata, programmable automaton band Robot band, hand-washing automaton, automated moving peacocks Al-Jazari
1495 Designs for a humanoid robot Mechanical knight Leonardo da Vinci
1738 Mechanical duck that was able to eat, flap its wings, and excrete Digesting Duck Jacques de Vaucanson
1898 Nikola Tesla demonstrates first radio-controlled vessel. Teleautomaton Nikola Tesla
1921 First fictional automatons called "robots" appear in the play R.U.R. Rossum's Universal Robots Karel Čapek
1930s Humanoid robot exhibited at the 1939 and 1940 World's Fairs Elektro Westinghouse Electric Corporation
1948 Simple robots exhibiting biological behaviors Elsie and Elmer William Grey Walter
1956 First commercial robot, from the Unimation company founded by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger, based on Devol's patents Unimate George Devol
1961 First installed industrial robot. Unimate George Devol
1973 First industrial robot with six electromechanically driven axes Famulus KUKA Robot Group
1974 The world’s first microcomputer controlled electric industrial robot, IRB 6 from ASEA, was delivered to a small mechanical engineering company in southern Sweden. The design of this robot had been patented already 1972. IRB 6 ABB Robot Group
1975 Programmable universal manipulation arm, a Unimation product PUMA Victor Scheinman
2004 Launch of IRC5

It sets new standards with its modular concept, a completely new ergonomically-designed Windows CE interface unit (touch screen) to speed up programming.

IRC5 ABB Robot Group

Read more about this topic:  Robotics

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