A Quick History of Robotics


When it comes to robots and society, there is a marked difference between the associations people make and the reality of the situation. The history of robotics is undoubtedly an interesting subject. We are currently in an era of robot innovation, and the consequences are much less dire. In fact, humanity is much better.

history of robotics

The positive social, economic and ecological effects of robotics should not be underestimated. A robot is simply a machine with a degree of autonomy that relies on sensors and calculations to make decisions. Little disappointing, but given the process, a robot uses its sensors to show that it is sending data to its control system to determine an action. This is nothing short of extraordinary. With today’s phenomena, let us briefly summarize the historical history of robotics.

Origin of Robotics

The cornerstone of robotics is “boring, dirty and dangerous”. All of this somehow describes the work in the factories. Modern robotics began in the 1950s when engineer George Devel’s patent for a mechanical arm became the Unimate, now known as the world’s first industrial robot. Taking advantage of the repetitive work on assembly lines, this arm has been programmed for stacking and welding.

George Devel's patent for a mechanical arm

Within two years of the Unimate’s introduction to speed up work along assembly lines, more than 450 Unimate robotic arms have been deployed in factories. The next big step was taken in the mid-1970s with the IRB-6, which was equipped with microcomputer controls and 16 kB of memory. The IRB-6 set a new standard for what was possible with robot programming and application.

A New Digital Age

When programming, engineers were limited to the tasks they could program because robots could not accurately measure their surroundings. It seems inevitable that engineers want robots to reflect human characteristics such as perception and thinking. While research in artificial intelligence had advanced since the mid-1950s, practical applications did not appear until much later.

retro robots

With the spate of patents pending in the 1970s, it isn’t easy to pinpoint exactly. Still, the sensor capabilities they made available to robots ushered in a new era in robot design. In the late 1970s, the advancement of algorithms made it possible for robots to recognize shapes, objects, and even subtle visual cues like shadows and patterns. Redefining the way the factory worked, engineers once again took advantage of the ability of robots to identify objects, and General Motors quickly adopted that solution, the Consight robotic system. Using advanced sensor technology, Consight identified and classified up to six different objects on a conveyor belt that contained up to 1,400 parts per hour.

21st Century Robotics

In the 21st century, there have been innovations on all fronts of robot development, evolving in terms of mobility, strength, and processing power, to name a few. The most notable impact of today’s expansion of robotics and unmanned systems is the ability of these systems to increase human effort outside of the factory in the real “unstructured” world.

endevour robotics

Robots are ubiquitous not only in research laboratories and assembly lines but also in hospitals and homes. Kinesis is a testament to the steps that have been taken in robot innovation and is critical to the further expansion of robotics and unmanned systems in our daily lives.

Modern Household Robotics

In 2021, it is not uncommon to see a robot vacuum in the household. Robot lawnmowers are also becoming quite popular in some regions. However, if you had asked someone in 1950 what they thought the future would look like in 70 years, their answer would probably be that they would expect our households to be completely automated. The adoptions of household robotics have not taken off as quickly as we thought it would.

domestic robots

Today we have a robotic lawnmower, vacuum, pool cleaner, window cleaner and voice-activated household appliances. The thought of having your household chores automated is quite grand, yet the technology is not here just yet. We would like to say that most of our household chores will be automated in the next decade or so. However, it isn’t very easy to predict the advancement of any technology.

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