Monday, March 10, 2008

Robot History`s Greatest Moments (must read!!!)

Here are some of the most memorable moments in the robotics field which changed the robot universe as we know:

The events in the evolution of robo-kind that we've discussed so far only scratch the surface. There are more, so many more.But in the meantime, let's fast forward at 4x speed through some other significant milestones along the road to our robotic future.

Third Century B.C.— Aristotle gets the robo-ball rolling by penning these words: "If every instrument could accomplish its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others...if the shuttle could weave, & the pick touch the lyre, without a hand to guide them, chief workmen would not need servants."

Eighteenth Century— Automatons, clockwork "robots" built by inventors & watchmakers in France, Germany, & elsewhere, become a courtly rage. These mechanically animated dolls can play musical instruments, draw, & quack like a duck (well, the duck one could, anyway). Some of these automatons even had different "programs" (interchangeable cam sets) that would alter their actions.

1801— Joseph Jacquard invents a "programmable loom" that operates via punch cards.

1898— Nicola Tesla, inventor of the induction motor, alternating current (AC) transmission, & the actual inventor of radio (& a bunch of other stuff he's not given credit for) patents the teleautomaton. Children around the world will come to know it as the remote-controlled toy. The stage is set for a future of Battlebots.

1940— Westinghouse's Electro & Sparko spokesbots entertain crowds at the World's Fair in New York. These animatronic wonders marked the first time that electric motors were used to power & actuate robots.

1956— MIT's John McCarthy coins the term "Artificial Intelligence" during a Dartmouth computer workshop.

1960— The Johns Hopkins "Beast" begins prowling the university's hallways. Similar in functionality to Grey Walter's Elmer & Elsie, it sports more complex sonar navigation & can seek out wall sockets when its Beastly batteries get that empty feeling.

1973— Tokyo's Waseda University, under the direction of Ichiro Kato, develops WABOT-1, the first humanoid walking robot. Honda is impressed & secretly begins work on its own humanoid (which will become the infamous P3).

1976— Robot arms in space! Viking 1 & 2 Martian landers are outfitted with robotic arms first developed at Stanford University.

1979— The Stanford Cart is rebuilt by a young Hans Moravec (see Heroes of the Robolution trading cards, Chapter 2). Work had actually begun on the cart in 1965. It is billed as the first computer-controlled autonomous vehicle after it successfully crosses a chair-filled room without human intervention.

1982— The Heath Company begins sales of their HERO 1 personal robot kit.

1983— Androbot, Inc., a company founded by Nolan Bushnell of Atari Computers fame, releases TOPO I, a personal home robot, followed by BOB (Brains on Board), a surprisingly sophisticated robot for its time. Androbots' futuristic good looks, shared by many imitators that followed, spur a small home robot boom. But ultimately, given computer tech of the time, the bots do not live up to expectations & the boom goes bust.

1984— Red Whittaker's team from Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) sends its RRV robot into the irradiated landscape of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant site & the "field robotics" industry (mobile robots doing actual work) is born.

1994— CMU's six-legged extreme environments robot, aptly named Dante II, successfully climbs into the Mt. Spurr volcano in Alaska.

1997— IBM's Deep Blue computer beats world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a match.

1997— Shockingly, the Mars Pathfinder actually lands. Its Sojourner Rover delights & amazes armchair astronauts around the world, who watch near real-time coverage on TV & the Internet. Suddenly, kids think robots are cool again.

1997— Honda stuns the world with its P3 humanoid robot. Unnerved skeptics swear it must be a child in a plastic space suit. It isn't.

1999— Sony begins selling its AIBO robotic pet. The product is almost affordable & extremely sophisticated. Anti-cutesy Web site critics the world over shudder at the thought of personal AIBO pet pages (there are now hundreds).

2000— Battlebots premieres on Comedy Central. Gearheads all over America head to the garage to cannibalize the family mower.

2008- ROBOTICA show based on robots airing in amercan homes



© | Irecipe