6 Engineers and Their Innovations That Defined Robotics for the Future


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Robotics has become a major and one of the most enthralling fields in this era. It is the focal point of science, designing and innovation that produces machines, called robots that work as substitutes for humans. The tech industry defined robotics and has consistently been intrigued by robots and in no time, humans will be replaced from most of the positions. R2-D2, Divider E and  Optimus Prime are just a few examples of how the idea of humanoid ideas of robots is ground-breaking and fascinating for most of the generations.

Robots, however, have been in the world for quite long and have been progressing since ancient times. The outstanding and marvellous work of the researchers and engineers have been mind-blowing. They defined robotics in many different ways and opened multiple opportunities for all the generations to come in the future.

We are about to discuss the 6 top-notch engineers and their innovations that defined robotics as a whole. 

Let’s have a look!

1) Joseph Engelberger – “The Father of Robotics” – Define Robotics

His contribution to robotics: He is known for giving birth to the robotics industry in the industrial sector. Moreover, His contributions have given him the title of the father of robotics.

Joseph Engelberger was an American, physicist, manufacturer, businessman and engineer who born in July 1925 and passed away in December 2015. He spent most of his life revolutionizing the manufacturing sector and defined robotics in facilitating society with his great ideas. Joseph was one of the inventors in Unimate.

He met an American inventor and engineer George D. Devol in 1956 and their discussions moved towards Isaac Asimov’s philosophies which defined robotics. Later, Devel gave an insight into his patent-pending about the device of Programmed Article Transfer device. During the discussion, Joseph was smart enough to instantly identify it as a robot and began his thought process. He decided to consider the robots for the manufacturing tasks, most importantly the hazardous ones. That small meeting was the beginning of an era of robotics and foundations which defined robotics in the most obvious ways. 

His work and contributions earned him the name of the ‘Father of Robotics’. Joseph completely altered the world of the manufacturing industry and provided alternatives that no one thought of before.

2) George D. Devol – Define Robotics

The inventor of the first programmable industrial robot

His contribution to robotics: He is the inventor of the first programmable industrial robot.

George D. Devol is the first person to even think of a programmable robot. Moreover, He conceived, developed, designed, built from scratch, and holds the patent for the world’s first programmable industrial robot as US Patent No. 2,988,237. He defined robotics in a completely different dimension.

Devol has been attracted to the term robotics since when he was 9 years old. Furthermore, In 1921, there was a very popular play by Karel Capek by the name Rossum’s Universal Robots (R.U.R). It had a great impact on Devol who later, went on to design his very own robot. After decades, he met the “Father of Robotics” who shared a mutual interest and together they worked and defined robotics on a larger platform that the world could never forget.  

The first joint venture was the Unimate industrial robot which was used for die-casting and spot welding which was later sold to General Motors. By 1966, their partnership and company were in full swing and by 1975, it earned its first profit. Devol eventually died in 2011 after completely transforming the modern-day tasks to the production lines in the factories.

3) Marvin Minsky – Define Robotics

His contribution to robotics: He is famous as the pioneer of AI and won the most prized award in computer science.

Marvin Minsky is a famous engineer who defined robotics in a new dimension and movers towards Artificial Intelligence. He was born in New York City in August 1927. During the second world war, Marvin went to Harvard University where he studied psychology, neurophysiology and physics. In 1959, he designed and built the first simulator of a neural network at Princeton. For his outstanding work in the field of AI, he received an A. M. Turing Award in 1969. 

Marvin laid the foundations of Artificial Intelligence in MIT which still, has a remarkable laboratory focusing on AI. His work defined robotics and AI which helped future generations. Furthermore, He laid strong foundations for the researchers to explore the development and design of intelligent robots. Work by Marvin, done decades ago, is still mandatory for modern-day robotics.

4) Victor Scheinman – Define Robotics

His contribution to robotics: He is the inventor of the first computer-controlled and electrically powered robotic arm. 

Victor Scheinman was born in Dec 1942 and he studied mechanical engineering at Stanford University. He is world-famous for his invention famous as Stanford Arm. This electrically powered is was very light in weight, programmable differently, and a multipurpose device. Anyone can use this device could be used for multiple purposes such as assembling automobiles, etc.

His work has been remarkable and defined robotics to a new extent in computer science. His notable inventions and companies include Vicram Inc which was developed in 1973 for the building and commercialization of robotic arms. He later sold out his company to Unimation who was on the boom. Victor developed Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly (PUMA) by working alongside Unimation. Also, he founded Automatrix – the robotics company which incorporated built-in camera and sensors. Victor launched the Robotworld system that made the robots work together during the concerts.

5) Ichiro Kato

His contribution to robotics: He was the person behind building the first real android.

Ichiro Kato has defined robotics as a combination of medicine and humanoid robots. In addition, He was the first person to initiate the most recognized and influential project in 1967 – WABOT. With the successful start of this project, he was able to create the world’s first humanoid intelligent full-scale robot named WABOT-1.

Moreover, The best part about WABOT-1 was that he could walk with two legs, move his two arms and could see with a pair of camera. It could measure distances and analyze the directions for objects with the help of sensors. WABOT-1 was also capable enough to communicate with a person in Japanese with an artificial mouth.

6) Takeo Kanade

His contribution to robotics: He built the first direct-drive robotic arm in the world which had been a phenomenal success.

Takeo Kanade was born in Hyogo, Japan in October 1945. He is one of the most innovative, intelligent and perfectionist researcher in the field of computer vision and robotics. Furthermore, He defined robotics and vision in unison and caused a breakthrough in the robotics field. In addition, He made the world understand how the computer could deal with images and videos and understand them just like humans do. 

In 1981, he put all his efforts into developing a direct-drive robotic arm that consisted of its own motor thereby reducing the long-waited transmissions. Besides, He has been awarded several prizes and honours, has 20 patents and around 300 peer-reviewed articles to his name. 

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