The Evolution of Robotics

Since the time of the ancients, human beings have entertained the possibility of man-made humanoids capable of artificial intelligence. Philosophers, artists, mathematicians and kings have all contributed to the emergence of the modern robot which is now capable of achieving myriad tasks in our contemporary world.

The role of the ancients

Leonardo Da'Vincis Robot

The great visionary, Leonardo da Vinci, left detailed sketches of a robot in the guise of a knight in full regalia, while the celebrated Greek philosopher, Aristotle suggested automatons could one day be the death knell of slavery.

It took a game changer of the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution to act as a viable catalyst for the design and development of mainstream robotics. Although crude, mechanised automata were quickly developed, most of them were designed to entrance and entertain the upper crust of European society.

Industrial solutions

Jacquard Loom

The very first ‘robot’ to act as a precursor of today’s industrial engineering automation solutions was an automated loom ingeniously controlled by punch cards, a concept which would be further developed as the chosen input method of the earliest computers.

Although robotics was moving into the realm of innovative machine design and tool making for the first time, a move which would eventually transform the manufacturing process into a sleek, streamlined production line, robots had lost none of their intrigue and allure, becoming some of the most famous characters in the sci-fi novels and movies of the day.

Robots in the arts

Isaac Asimov, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas and Ridley Scott, amongst others, all included robots in their popular contributions to the arts – I, Robot; 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars and Blade Runner, while the first organised event embracing robotics kicked off at Dartmouth College in 1956, headlining under “The Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence”.

Precursors to conceptual industrial engineering


In 1962, General Motors unveiled the first ever industrial robot to the world, the Unimate, which was tasked to undertake dangerous or boringly repetitive work on the automotive production line. This ingenious mechanised tool was quickly followed by a host of ‘working robots’ including the Silver Arm, the Soft Gripper and the Japanese inspired Direct Drive Arm, the first to feature motors installed directly into the joints.

Advanced robotics capable of multiple tasks

By the mid to late 1980’s robots were exploring space, taking on and beating chess Grand Masters and collecting data in the dangerous depths of active volcanoes, while a decade later, the robotic rover, Sojourner was effectively scanning the surface of mars and broadcasting the information back to earth!

Robots are part of our everyday lives

Robot Dog

Today, thanks to the vision and hard work of countless industrial engineering prophets and computing wizards, robots are part and parcel of our everyday lives. Intelligent automated toys and robotic pets are a dime a dozen, humanoid robots are commonplace on production lines and are even capable of detecting and treating cancerous tumours within the human body, while an entire bevy of robotic rovers are providing vital knowledge on deep space.

Retain the competitive edge with advanced robotics

To retain the competitive edge, it’s essential to embrace new age technologies into the production process. Robots and robotics have been so refined over the years they are now capable of undertaking multiple manufacturing tasks with incomparable speed and efficiency. Go on, become part of the Robotic Revolution and contact an industrial engineering firm with vision today!