The tech-savvy children of today are familiar with the concept of robots. From playing with hi-tech toys to building robot models, their knowledge in the field of robotics has increased by leaps and bounds. For some, robotics is a passion they want to pursue as a career in the future. With rapid developments in the field of technology, robotics as a science has also developed a lot in recent years.
However, did you know that the mechanism behind building robots and humanoids is not a recent phenomenon and man has mastered this science over a thousand years? Read and share with your child interesting facts about robotics that are sure to fire his imagination and get him more interested in this science.
10 interesting facts about robotics
- The first robots were mechanical birds created by the Greek mathematician Archytas in the 5th century BC. The purpose of this creation was to study birds in flight.
- The word ‘robot’ came from a play. Czech playwright and journalist Karel Capek introduced the word in his play R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots) in 1920. The word ‘robot’ comes from the Old Church Slavonic word ‘robota’ meaning ‘drudgery’ or ‘servitude’.
- While robots may be a comparatively new human invention, it was conceptualised much earlier by none other than the famous artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci. Dubbed the ‘mechanical knight’, the robot was a humanoid automation created by the artist in 1495. The robot knight could independently move its arms, sit, stand and even raise his visor. A model of the robot is on display in a museum in Berlin, Germany.
- The first speaking humanoid robot, Elektro, was constructed between 1937-38 by Westinghouse in Ohio, US. The robot was built to be seven feet tall, could walk on voice command, speak about 700 words, blow up balloons and move his head and arms. It has been featured in a movie and a song and is currently at the Mansfield Memorial Museum.
- The world’s first industrial robot, named Unimate, was invented by George Devol in the 1950s. The robot worked in General Motors on the assembly line at a plant in New Jersey, where its job was to lift die casting and weld them onto the auto bodies. This task was considered dangerous as toxic fumes could harm the general workers.
- Japan, one of the world’s top industrial robot manufacturers, has the highest number of robots in operation today. According to the International Federation of Robotics data, Japan exported nearly 1,15,000 industrial robots in 2016 worth 309 billion yen (about US$ 2.7 billion) and has a stock of 2,87,300 units of operational robots.
- The world’s smallest robot, as big as a fly, is not only capable of flying but can also take pictures. The Harvard scientists who came up with this technology were inspired by nature, specifically, insects. This bot weighs less than a gram and is made of carbon fibre.
- The world’s first legally recognised cyborg, Neil Harbisson, has an antenna fitted into the back of his skull. The antenna can receive satellite signals and Neil can download images and sounds directly into his brain.
- The robots, Spirit and Opportunity, trekked the Red planet for years and have been the source of invaluable information on Mars for years. The rover, Opportunity, still continues to traverse the Martian soil and has broken the record for extraterrestrial travel by covering more than 42 kilometres.
- Robots go where it’s considered too dangerous for humans to venture. From exploring underwater life and other planets in the solar system, to being used for military operations and medical procedures, these machines are the solutions for various complex problems.
If your child shows an interest in mechanics and likes to find out how toys and machines work, a career in robotics might be a good option for him. Encourage his curiosity and help him increase his knowledge in the field by enrolling him for workshops and special classes on robotics.
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