The term robot was used for the first time times in 1920 in the play RUR
(Rossum’s Universal Robots) by the author
Czech Karel Capek. In Czech “robota”,
means hard work or chore. In the
piece by K. Capek, the robots created by the Rossum scientist are workers
artificial, real android machines able to think, who end up revolting against their masters.
But artificial creatures have existed well before the term robot is used for appoint.
From ancient times, mention is made of mechanical creatures, animated sculptures in
the Greek mythology. In the 15th century,
Leonardo da Vinci drew a humanoid robot,knight in armor able to sit,
move your arm and open your mouth. The eighteenth century was very rich in innovations, frommany automatons were created: the Turk mechanical, the chess player automaton built by Johann von Kempelen who was famous throughout Europe and that was actually a trickery, the French duckVaucanson able to swallow realfood. In the 1940s,
the AmericanW. Gray Walter conceived the first animalsself-regulating robotics that can interact with
their environment. It was two mechanical turtles, Elsie and Elmer, equipped with
light and contact sensors that their allowed to be guided and to avoidobstacles.
From the 1950s, robotics became
develops thanks to the development of computer science and advances in artificial intelligence research. Controlled machinesby computers, increasingly autonomous and able to determine the behavior to adopt in the face of an event, see the
day. In 1961, the first industrial robot, Unimate, was installed in a factory at General Motors.
In five years the use of robots on assembly lines will become more widespread.
In 1966, at the University of South Carolina, is designed Phoney Pony, a four-legged table whose movements are ontrolled by computer. In 1973, in Japan, at Waseda University, the first advanced biped walking humanoid robot, Wabot, is realized.
The machine is equipped with speech,
can evaluate distances and direction of moving objects andto catch.
Since then, many more sophisticated robots have emerged: the famous pet dog robot Aïbo or the Android Asimov, able to recognize faces, walk up and down stairs, understand human speech and analyze environment. But above all, robots invade our daily lives: toy robot, robot-mower, robot vacuum cleaner, robotnanny, robot explorer …
The relation of the man to the robot has always been ambiguous:
The man creates robots more and more evolved and autonomous for
relieve himself of tedious, repetitive or dangerous tasks,
and constantly fantasize about the faculties of his creation, at the to surpass or even to rebel against him. And the robots, many hero science fiction novels, are the illustration of this
fear. To avoid any hint of rebellion, Isaac Asimov, the famous science fiction writer,
stated in his new “Runaround”, published in 1942,
the famous three laws of robotics supposed to protect the human being.
These laws coded at mostdeep brain robots control their behavior and can in no way be changed:
– First law: a robot can not harm a human being or, remaining passive, allow a human being to be exposed to
– Second law: a robot must obey the orders given to it by the human being, unless such orders conflict with the
– Third law: a robot must protect its existence as long as this protection does not conflict with the first or the
The Department of Science and Technology joins forces with the BnF Lab and presents you with a selection of searchable documentsin a study library, in open access, or in a research library, as well as a choice of Internet sites