I was in great chaos in deciding what to write for my first blog. Gradually surfing through the internet, one news caught my eye. It was about a legendary robot, named “AMECA”. A lot of you might have misread it as America (including me). She is a humanoid robot who can mimic a range of human facial expressions. She can smile, blink and do a lot of stuff like a human. Basically, I am not a techie person but she inspired me and my mind started to ponder a lot. They say, that the most advanced and complicated machine in the entire world is the human body, and mimicking it was close to impossible. I wonder how does a human-made machine be brilliant enough to do a set of things so accurately that can only be done perfectly by humans only. Just look at the irony, humans are building machines to be like humans. When things amaze me, I have a habit of digging into their roots. Hence, I began my research on their evolution and ended up writing a blog.
Humanoid robots, the term itself looks so modern and hi-fi right! But this concept prevailed 500 years back. I can see you guys getting shocked when seeing this. The first humanoid robot was made was created in 1495 designed and possibly constructed by Leonardo da Vinci. It was designed as a mechanical knight, a humanoid automaton that could stand, sit, raise and independently lift the visor of the helmet. In 1774, Pierre Jaquet-Droz, a Swiss watchmaker designed and built three automated dolls a musician, a writer, and an artist. These machines are working in perfect condition are kept in the museum of art and history in Nukatel as a testimonial.
In the 1800s, a Japanese master, Tanaka Hisashige made Karakuri puppet dolls powered by springs, pneumatics, and hydraulics. The power of these mechanics made it exhibit more complex movements than its progenitors. In 1928, the duo of captain William H Richards and Alan Reffell presented the robot “Eric” in London horticultural hall. This robot was operated by two people and eric’s voice was received by a radio signal. It had the capability of talking, standing but was stationary. In 1939, Joseph Barnett invented a 7-feet tall robot “Elektro” which was able to blow up balloons, smoke cigarettes, respond to voice commands, and could speak up to 700 words. The perfect companion for many!
In 1970, researchers from Waseda University innovated the world’s first anthropomorphic robot called WABOT-1(Waseda roBOT). I know that some of you might have skipped that A word, which refers to having human characteristics. This was a big leap towards modern humanobots. It is designed in such a way so that it could measure distances and directions by using some external receptors. Additionally, it has artificial eyes, ears, and mouth. Sounds cool, right? And in 1980, the second version of this robot was named “WABOT- 2”. It can play the keyboard and read musical scores. Equipped with five-fingered hands, it was able to perform delicate movements with finesse like a human. WABOTs prevailed undefeated as the perfect humanoid for a long time.