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Leonardo da Vinci designed what may be the first humanoid robot though it cannot be confirmed if the design was actually ever produced. The robot was designed to sit up, wave its arms, and move its head via a flexible neck while opening and closing its jaw.
Blaise Pascal invented a calculating machine to help his father with taxes. The device was called the Pascaline and about 50 Pascalines were built. Only a few can be found in museums such as the one on display in the Des Arts et Metiers Museum in Paris.
Jacques de Vaucanson’s most famous creation was undoubtedly "The Duck." This mechanical device could flap its wings, eat, and digest grain. Each wing contained over four hundred moving parts and even today it remains something of a mystery. The original Duck has disappeared.
The first patents were awarded for the construction of a “printed wire” which came into use after World War 2. The concept was to replace radio tube with something less bulky.
Westinghouse creates ELEKTRO a human-like robot that could walk, talk, and smoke. ELEKTRO was first unveiled at the 1939 world’s fair.
Isaac Asimov wrote the "Three Laws of Robotics”. A zeroth law was later added (law zero below). Law One: A robot may not injure a human (or humanity), or, through inaction, allow a human (or humanity) to come to harm. Law Two: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with a higher order law. Law Three: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with a higher order law] Law Zero: A robot may not injure a human being, o
George Devol patented a general purpose playback device for controlling machines using magnetic recordings.
W. Grey Walter created his first robots; Elmer and Elsie, also known as the turtle robots. The robots were capable of finding their charging station when their battery power ran low.
Raymond Goertz designed the first tele-operated articulated arm for the Atomic Energy Commission. This is generally regarded as a major milestone in force feedback (haptic) technology.
George Devol designed the first truly programmable robot and called it UNIMATE for "Universal Automation." (US patent 2 998 237)  Later, in 1956, George Devol and Joseph Engelberger formed the world's first robot company “Unimation” which stands for “universal automation”.  As a result, Engelberger has been called the 'father of robotics’.  Unimation is still in production today, with robots for sale.
History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world's first autonomous, artificial satellite was 22.8 inches in diameter and weighed only 183.9 pounds.
The first computer controlled walking machine was created by Mcgee and Frank at the University of South Carolina.
Victor Scheinman created the Stanford Arm, which was the first successful electrically-powered, computer-controlled robot arm.
Ichiro Kato created WABOT I which was the first full-scale anthropomorphic robot in the world. It had a system for controlling limbs, vision, and conversation! It was estimated that it had the mental ability of a 18 month old child.
The MITS ALTAIR was the first 8080 chip based kit computer and is arguably the start of the personal computer.
Created by the General Robotics Corp. the RB5X was a programmable robot equipped with infrared sensors, remote audio/video transmission, bump sensors, and a voice synthesizer. It had software that could enable it to learn about its environment.
NASA's PathFinder landed on Mars. The wheeled robotic rover sent images and data about Mars back to Earth.
iRobot released the first generation of Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners
Baxter is the Robot of the year for 2012. He was created by Rodney Brooks. This robot do light repetitive duties such as packing and sorting.
10-70AD The Hero of Alexandria, a Mathematician, Physicist and Engineer (10-70AD) wrote a book titled Automata (Arabic translation, or in Greek “moving itself”) which is a collection of different devices which could have been used in temples. The Hero of Alexandria designed an odometer to be mounted on a cart and measure distances travelled. Among his other inventions are a wind powered organ, animated statues and the Aeolipile. Although conceived simply as a trinket, the Aeolipile can be considered the for
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