Up-to-date robots, produced on the base of the latest scientific and technical achievements, are used in all spheres of human activity.

Despite the fact that robotics is a relatively new direction of applied science, the remaining references to put into life robots are dated Ancient Greece period. In 5th century BC mathematician and mechanic Archytas of Tarentum developed automotive flying machine with wooden body and wings simulating the flight of a pigeon by means on a steam power. Hellenic mathematician Philon of Byzantium invented in 3rd century BC mechanical maid who filled the cup with wine blended with water. The machine was of an average man’s height with a wine bottle in one hand and a glass in another one.  

The first documented sketch of a human-like robot was created by Italian scientist Leonardo Da Vinci in 1945. The drawing contained the framework of a robot programmed to perform human actions.

The terms “robot” and “robotics” are far younger. Czech writer Karel Čapek invented the term “robot” and for the first time used it in his play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) in 1921. And term “robotics” was coined by American biochemist and sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov. He also formulated the three laws of robotics, determining the idea of robots, which are commonly used even nowadays:

  • a robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;
  • a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;
  • a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

American engineer Joseph F. Engelberger is known as the father of modern robotics. In 1959 together with inventor George Devol they presented industrial robot Unimate #001. In 1962 the first in the USA industrial robots the Versatran and the Unimate.

In USSR first industrial robots were developed under the supervision of professors Belaynin (robot UM-1) and Surnin (robot Universal-50) in 1971.

In the 1970s microprocessor-controlled systems and programmable controllers made it possible to reduce cost of robots’ production three times, promoting their mass usage in the industrial sector.

Nowadays the main robots’ types are the following:

  • Industrial robots: robots which work within industrial plants. They ought to be fenced with physical barriers as such robots cannot detect humans’ presence by themselves.
  • Mobile robots: their main characteristic is an ability to move and act around its environment autonomously.
  • Automated guided vehicles (AGV): these vehicles move autonomously and they are used at plants as a flexible substitute for conveyor belts or as intelligent solutions for storage facilities.
  • Cobots: these robots instead of industrial robots are designed for interaction with humans by means of many sensors and software that ensure safe behavior.
  • Humanoid robots: robots resembling the human bodies in shape.
  • Service robots: they are mainly represented by cobots, which cover a wide range of applications in collaboration with humans.
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