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History Of Robotics

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Vision: What will robots hold for us in the future?

Objective: Learn about the history of robotics

Goal: Inform my readers about the history of robotics

Task: Researching the history of robotics and reporting on this topic.

There’s no precise definition, but by general agreement, a robot is a programmable machine that imitates the actions or appearance of an intelligent creature–usually a human. To qualify as a robot, a machine has to be able to get information from its surroundings and do something physical–such as move or manipulate objects.

The word robot comes from the Czech word robota, which means drudgery or slave-like labor. the word was first used to describe fabricated workers in a fictional 1920s play by Czech author Karel Capek called Rossum’s Universal Robots. During the play, a scientist invents robots to help people by performing simple, repetitive tasks. However, once the robots are used to fight wars, they turn on their human owners and take over the world.

If you think robots are mainly the thing you see in space movies, think again. Right now, all over the world, robots are on the move doing various tasks. They are painting cars at Ford plants, assembling Milano cookies for Pepperidge Farms, walking into live volcanoes, driving trains in Paris , and defusing bombs in Northern Ireland . As they grow tougher, nimbler, and smarter, today’s robots are doing more and more things humans can’t do, or in many cases, wouldn’t want to do anyway.

Robots have been around for less than fifty years, but the idea of metal creations that do our bidding is much older. The ancient Greek poet Homer described maidens of gold, mechanical helpers built by Hephaistos, the Greek god of metal smiths. The golems of medieval Jewish legend were robot-like servants made of clay, brought to life by a spoken charm. In 1495, Leonardo da Vinci drew plans for a mechanical man. However, real robots wouldn’t become possible until the 1950s and 1960s, with the invention of transistors and integrated circuits. Compact, reliable electronics and a growing computer industry added brains to already existing machines. In 1959, researchers demonstrated the possibility of robotic manufacturing when they unveiled a computer-controlled milling machine that made ashtrays.

Public fascination with robotics peaked in the early 1980s, spurred in part by movies like Star Wars, which featured robots C3-PO and R2-D2 as helpful sidekicks to human masters.

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