The history of robots
The history of
robots or machines similar to robots isn’t really a young one.
Even in the
third century before Christ Heron of Alexandria was able to develop a
machine to open the doors of the temple only by means of a fire in the
was only during the 18th century that scientists managed to
invent machines very similar to the ones we would call robots today.ite
In 1774 Pierre
Jaquet-Droz, a Swiss scientist, developed an “author” that was able to
In addition to
inventions, several writers foresaw a future, in which robots would be
able to free mankind of hard and monotonous work.
One of them
was Karel Capek, who defined the word robot for a permanently working
artificial human being. Actually the word robot comes from the Slavic word
“robota” which means socage.
In his book
“R.U.R.” (Rossums Universal Robots), which was published in 1920,
Capek wrote about mechanical creations, conceived to relieve human beings
of the monotonous work in factories. However, having acquired
high physical and intellectual abilities, they free themselves of human
control and destroy their creators at the end.
The first time
a robot was seen in the cinema was in 1926 in the film “Metropolis”.
It was a very human like creature, because people at that time couldn’t
imagine them in a form different from man-like or similar-to-animals.
In 1927 the
first really useful robot called “Televox” was devised by engineers in
Pittsburgh. It was able to supervise water containers in a high-rise
building and start the pumps if necessary. In addition it was able to
answer questions about the water level, to turn on a ventilator or a
vacuum cleaner, to turn lights on and off or to open windows and close
In 1930 the
audience of circus-, cabaret- and department store attractions gaped at
“Sabor II”, which could move his limbs controlled by radio. It was
also able to talk by means of an installed record-player.
another robot was invented to be used as an attraction. It was called
“Mr. Ohm Kilowatt” and could answer questions that were whispered into
author who wrote several stories about robots was Isaak Asimov. In 1940 he
even formulated rules for robots: the first was not to do any harm to
In 1951 the
robot “Dynamo Joe” from Bristol was even able to ride a bike.
was only in 1954 when the actual development of really useful industrial
robots started. That year George C. Deval applied for the first patent of
a programmable manipulator.
really important installation of 12 robots at Mercedes-Benz, whose task it
was to weld the sidewalls of cars at the beginning of the 70ths, was the
start of the triumphal march of industrial robots