When we think of robots, we see machines which look like us and are designed to move and act like us. However, as time has gone on we have advanced our research and been able to create these machines. Robots didn't always look like us or act like us. So, we take a look at a few robots which have shown how this advancement has changed over time.
1400 BCE: The Clepsydra
The Clepsydra was developed back in 1400 BCE by the Babylonians, it's purpose is to measure time using the flow of water. The Clepsydra was in fact considered to be one of the first robotic devices ever made in history. The Clepsydra and other alternatives are some of the oldest devices that were used to measure time. They're so old that it is probably difficult to say for sure where and when they were invented, although there is evidence that other regions outside of Babylon and Egypt also used water clocks, such as India and China.
1997: Sojourner Rover
There have been many robots that have been created and tested but the Sojourner Rover was momentous. NASA Pathfinder Sojourner Rover was the first robot rover to land on mars in 1997, it moved at a maximum speed of 0.02 miles per hour, and explored the immediate area around its landing point. It takes 550 photographs over the space of three months. The robot gathered data from the surface terrain and returned with over 2.3 billion pieces of data to bring back to scientists at NASA as well as over 17K photographs taken over the mission.
AIBO was a series of robotic pets that were made by Sony and the first model was launched in 1999. The response to these robots was overwhelming in general and new models continued to be released up until 2005. The AIBO was able to transition from a new-born to an adult and their personality was shaped by various interactive features with their owner. It's crazy to think that originally the AIBO was not intended to be mass produced as it started off as a research project in 1993. Each model had different looks and got more and more advanced in relation to the actions these futuristic pets were able to carry out.
Human like robots are becoming the next big evolution of living technology. Humanoid robots have come weirdly close to overcoming the uncanny valley. The latest human like robots are able to talk like us, walk like us, and express a wide range of emotions. Some robots are able to hold a conversation, others are able to remember the last interaction you had with them. The most recent, life-like humanoids to be introduced in public is ‘Sophia’. You might spot her from one of many public appearances, from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to Good Morning Britain. She was created by Hanson Robotics and represents the latest and greatest effort to overcome the uncanny valley. ‘Sophia’ is capable of articulating a vast number of different emotions through her facial features and can gesture with full-sized arms and hands. A website has been made solely dedicated to her, you can find a complete biography written in her voice. Prestigious as the title may be, Hanson Robotics has developed several humanoids in addition to Sophia the robot, this is just the beginning of the robot evolution.
The megatrend toward robotics is gaining popularity much more quickly than expected. Forward-looking businesses are already exploring ways to incorporate robotics along the value chain to reduce costs and progress performance. But possibly the greatest promise lies with the power of robots to benefit us humans—and fundamentally change the competitive dynamics of this world.
How much of this technology should be embraced, and how much rejected?
Now is the time to set the boundaries.