Robots- History and its Milestones


I am sure you must have watched iRobot, Big Hero 6 etc. These are the movies who basically showed us the future. Soon Robots will become our companion, you will be seeing them in service sector, industrial sector, in households, commercial platform such as handling Online Reputation Management and more. They will be covering every industry now. However we don’t need to worry since humans are developing friendly Robots known as Humanoid/ Human Friendly Robots. Military are using drones and industrial sector like Manufacturing departments use Robots for increasing efficiency of work as well as getting data from it. With this arises our first question, who invented Robot? From where did this concept of Robot came from? But before that lets define what a Robot is: According to International Federation of Robots, “an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications”. They are categorized as Industrial and service Robots by IFR.

So let’s get into it’s history and milestones:

Well Robots are no new invention, it existed from ancient times however they were not  known as robots. These are some well engineered machines those reduced human efforts and did their tricky work that used thousands of man’s energy. However they were brilliantly constructed on the basis of law of physics unlike today’s Robot that are based on codes, machine learning and algorithms. Some of the examples are “The Flying Pigeon“, “The String-Code Cart” Robot and “Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lion and Knight“. These examples depict the story of ancient as well as modern past. The term “Robot” was heard for the first time in the 20th Century, Karel Capek in 1921 wrote a play “Rossum’s Universal Robots“(RUR) that introduced the concept of Robotics to the common people.

Rossum’s Universal Robots Play

Followed by Capek, Issac Asimov popularized robotics further more with his short story collection between 1938 and 1942. Asimov also published his most popular three laws governing Robots behaviour:

  1. A Robot may not injure a human being or through inaction allow a human to come to harm.
  2. A Robot must obey orders given by humans except when doing so conflicts with the first law.
  3. A Robot must protect its own existence as long as this does not conflict with the first or second law.
Issac Asimov and his work

Asimov’s work led to the entry of Robots in literal terms and gave a subject to cinemas to create films on it like Robot( A human friend). In 1954, George Devol invented first digitally operated and a programmable Robot named as Unimate Which was later sold to General Motors in 1961. Unimate was an industrial Robot which assisted men in automobiles. It used to life pieces of hot metal from die casting machines at the Inland Fisher Guide Plant in the Western Trenton of Ewing Township, New Jersey.

You can also watch the documentary of Unimate of its working:

John McCarthy( On the Left) and Marvin Minsky(On the Right)

John McCarthy(American Computer Scientists and Cognitive Scientists, also one of the founders of discipline of artificial intelligence) and Marvin Minsky(American Cognitive Scientists and co-founder of Massachussetts Institute of Technology’s AI Laboratory and author of several concerning AI and Philosophy) in 1959 established AI laboratory at MIT.


In 1966, Stanford Research Institute created “Shakey” , The First mobile Robot that could react to its own action. A mechanical engineering student working in Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab(SAIL) named as Victor Scheinman created “Stanford Arm“.

Victor Scheinman with Stanford Robot Arm

Later he invented “Silver Arm” in 1974, this was the first robotic arm that used touch sensors. “Soft Gripper” was designed to wrap around an object created by Shigeo Hirose from Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1976.

Soft Gripper

NASA in 1977 launched its highly automated “Voyager probe” to explore the outer solar system.


With these wonderful inventions, robotics reached to its very advanced stage in the second half of 20th Industry. And now in 21st century, with the usage of various algorithms, secured codes, data etc. it is going to grow more endlessly.

Thank you for taking out time to read my blog. I hope you found this blog informative. For detailed information of Robot History, you can go through this website’s link:

You can also check out my blog regarding types of Robot:

So hang on guys and do check my upcoming blogs. Thank you once again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s