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30 Great Moments In The History Of Robots - Forbes

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David M. Ewalt, Forbes Staff


I write about the technology of the future.

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TEC H | 11/27/2012 @ 9:50AM | 11,633 views

30 Great Moments In The History Of Robots


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#1 The Clepsydra 1400 BCE Babylonians develop the clepsydra, a clock that measures time using the flow of water, which is considered one of the first robotic devices in history. For centuries, inventors refine the design, and some time around 270 BCE, the Greek inventor Csestibus becomes famous for a water clock that utilizes animated human figures. #2 Aristotle 322 BCE The Greek philosopher Aristotle imagines the utility of robots, writing: If every tool, when ordered, or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it then there would be no need either of apprentices for the master workers or of slaves for the lords.

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An early 19th-century illustration of Ctesibius's clepsydra (image via Wikipedia.)

#3 DaVincis Knight 1495 Leonardo DaVinci designs a clockwork knight that is designed to sit up, wave its arms, and move its head and jaw. Its not certain whether the robot was ever built, but the design may constitute the first humanoid robot.

David M. Ewalt Forbes Staff Follow (551)

I've been writing about technology for over a decade, covering everything from video games to aerospace. My book Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It will be published by Scribner in August 2013. I'm a primate and a skeptic. I have root access and I'm not afraid to use it. I'm a beer geek. I can + show more make stone tools and arrowheads. I'm a level 15

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30/Jun/2013 14:50

30 Great Moments In The History Of Robots - Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2012/11/27/30-great-moments-in...

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A modern reconstruction of DaVinci's robot. (photo via Wikipedia)

#4 The Digesting Duck 1737 French inventor Jacques Vaucanson builds a clockwork duck capable of flapping its wings, quacking, eating and digesting food. #5 The Mechanical Turk 1769 Hungarian author and inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen builds The Turk, a maplewood box with a mannequin dressed in cloak and turban protruding from the back. The device gains great fame as an automaton capable of playing chess against skilled opponents until it is discovered that a human operator hides inside the box.

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30/Jun/2013 14:50

30 Great Moments In The History Of Robots - Forbes

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2012/11/27/30-great-moments-in...

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A modern reconstruction of von Kempelen's Turk (image via Wikipedia)

#6 The Jacquard Loom 1801 French silk weaver and inventor Joseph Jacquard invents an automated loom that is controlled by punch-cards. Within a decade it is being mass-produced and thousands are in use across Europe. #7 The Puppet Who Wished To Be A Real Boy 1881 Italian author Carlo Lorenzini writes Pinnochio, a childrens book about a marionette who turns into a real boy. The literary theme of mechanical men who come to life will flourish along with the technological evolution of robots. #8 Tesla, Ahead Of His Time 1898 Nikola Tesla demonstrates a new invention he calls teleautomaton to spectators at Madison Square Garden in New York a radiocontrolled boat. The audience believes its a trick, and remote control technology does not become commonplace until decades later. #9 Rossums Universal Robot 1921 Czech playwright Karl Capek coins the term robot in a play called R.U.R. (Rossums Universal Robot). The word comes from the Czech robota, which means drudging, forced work. The play ends with robots taking over the

Nikola Tesla's radio-controlled boat. (Image via Wikipedia)

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30/Jun/2013 14:50