100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time

By Kendall Haven | Go to book overview

Robots
Year of Invention: 1956

What Is It? A machine guided by automatic controls or programming that per-
forms complicated and often repetitive tasks.

Who Invented It? Joe Engelberger and George Devol (in Stamford, Connecticut)


Why Is This Invention One of the 100 Greatest?

Over 1.4 million robots are currently on the job in industrial plants, performing the most dangerous, backbreaking jobs 24 hours a day without complaint. Robots have already vastly multiplied the productivity of every human worker. Even though their full potential and importance lie in the future, robots have already redesigned and redefined the workplace and may soon do the same for the home.


History of the Invention

What Did People Do Before?

In a 1921 play, Czech playwright Karel Capek invented the word robot from the Czech word for “compulsory labor.” But the idea of robots—machines that do specific, preprogrammed work—started centuries earlier. In 1350, German clockmakers built a mechanical rooster on top of a Strasbourg, Germany, cathedral that automatically flapped its wings and crowed exactly at noon. In 1497 Italian clockmakers built two bell-ringing giants atop the clock tower in Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy.

In 1942, American science writer Isaac Asimov created the word robotics in his collection of stories, I Robot. In the same year, the Johns Hopkins Engineering Department built “the Beast,” a four-legged walking vehicle. In 1943, Doug Ross at MIT created MPT (Machine Programming Tools), a language to instruct mill machines.

By 1945, the Ford Motor Company had converted its Detroit plants to use automatons, single-purpose machines built to do specific jobs along the assembly line. But automatons were still machines, not thinking robots.


How Were Robots Invented?

Initially, researchers thought that the great challenge in building a robot would be devising ways to mimic human motion. Hands and arms reach, grasp, pick up, turn over, and

-261-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 336

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.