The ROVer Ranch
A Short History of Robots
- ~270BC an ancient Greek engineer named Ctesibus made organs and water
clocks with movable figures.
- 1818 - Mary Shelley wrote "Frankenstein" which was about
a frightening artificial lifeform created by Dr. Frankenstein.
- 1921 - The term "robot" was first used in a play called "R.U.R."
or "Rossum's Universal Robots" by the Czech writer Karel Capek. The plot was
simple: man makes robot then robot kills man!
- 1941 - Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov first used the word
"robotics" to describe the technology of robots and predicted the rise of a
powerful robot industry.
- 1942 - Asimov wrote "Runaround", a story about robots which
contained the "Three Laws of Robotics":
- A robot may not injure a human, or, through inaction, allow a human being
to come to harm.
- A robot must obey the orders it by human beings except where such orders
would conflic with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not
conflict withe the First or Second Law.
- 1948 - "Cybernetics", an influence on artificial intelligence
research was published by Norbert Wiener
- 1956 - George Devol and Joseph Engelberger formed the world's first
- 1959 - Computer-assisted manufacturingg was demonstrated at the
Servomechanisms Lab at MIT.
- 1961 - The first industrial robot was online in a General Motors
automobile factory in New Jersey. It was called UNIMATE.
- 1963 - The first artificial robotic arm to be controlled by a
computer was designed. The Rancho Arm was designed as a tool for the
handicapped and it's six joints gave it the flexibility of a human arm.
- 1965 - DENDRAL was the first expert system or program designed to
execute the accumulated knowledge of subject experts.
- 1968 - The octopus-like Tentacle Arm was developed by Marvin
- 1969 - The Stanford Arm was the first electrically powered,
computer-controlled robot arm.
- 1970 - Shakey was introduced as the first mobile robot controlled
by artificial intellence. It was produced by SRI International.
- 1974 - A robotic arm (the Silver Arm) that performed small-parts
assembly using feedback from touch and pressure sensors was designed.
- 1979 - The Standford Cart crossed a chair-filled room without
human assistance. The cart had a tv camera mounted on a rail which took
pictures from multiple angles and relayed them to a computer. The computer
analyzed the distance between the cart and the obstacles.
A History of Robots in Space