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History of Robotics

For centuries, human beings have built machines that mimic parts of the human body. The ancient Egyptians joined mechanical arms to the statues of their gods; The Greeks built statues that operated with hydraulic systems, which were used to fascinate temple worshipers.

The beginning of the current robotics can be fixed in the textile industry of the eighteenth century when Joseph Jacquard invented in 1801 the textile machine programmable by punched cards. Then, the Industrial Revolution promoted the development of these mechanical agents. In addition to this, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe were built very clever mechanical dolls that had some characteristics of robots. Jacques de Vauncansos built several human-sized musicians in the mid-18th century. In 1805, Henri Maillardert built a mechanical doll that was capable of drawing.

The word robot was used for the first time in 1920 in a work called “The Universal Robots of Rossum”, written by the Czech playwright Karel Capek. Its plot was about a man who made a robot and then the latter killed the man. The Czech word ‘Robota’ means servitude or forced labor, and when translated into English it became the term robot.

Soon, Isaac Asimov began in 1939 to contribute with several relations referred to robots and to him is attributed the coining of the Robotic term and with the so-called “Three Laws of Robotics” that are the following:

A robot can not act against a human being or, through inaction, a human being suffers damage.

A robot must obey the orders given by human beings unless they are in conflict with the first law.

A robot must protect its own existence unless it is in conflict with the first two laws.

There are several factors that intervene to develop the first robots in the decade of the ’50s. Artificial intelligence research developed ways to emulate the processing of human information with electronic computers and invented a variety of mechanisms to test their theories. The first patents appeared in 1946 with the very primitive robots for the transfer of machinery from Devol. Also in that year appear the first computers. In 1954, Devol designs the first programmable robot.

In 1960, the first “Unimate” robot was introduced, based on the transfer of items

In 1961, a Unimate robot was installed at the Ford Motors Company to service a die-casting machine.

In 1966 Trallfa, a Norwegian firm, built and installed a spray painting robot.

In 1971, the “Standford Arm ”, a small electric-powered robot arm, was developed at Standford University

in 1978. The PUMA robot was introduced for assembly tasks by Unimation, based on designs obtained from a study by General Motors. .

Currently, the concept of robotics has evolved into autonomous mobile systems, which are those that are able to fend for themselves in unfamiliar and partially changing environments without supervision.

In the seventies, NASA began a program of cooperation with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to develop platforms capable of exploring hostile terrain.

Currently, robotics is torn between extremely ambitious models, such as IT, designed to express emotions, the COG, also known as the four-way robot, the famous SOUJOURNER or the LUNAR ROVER, a touring vehicle with control remote, and others much more specific as the CYPHER, a military robot helicopter, the Japanese traffic guard ANZEN TARO or Sony’s pet robots.

In general, the history of robotics can be classified into five generations: the first two, already achieved in the eighties, included the management of repetitive tasks with very limited autonomy. The third generation would include artificial vision, in which much progress has been made in the eighties and nineties. The fourth includes advanced mobility in exteriors and interiors and the fifth would enter the domain of artificial intelligence in which it is currently working.