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Robot History

While most people think of robots as space-age creations, ancient Egyptians made mechanical figures 2,500 years ago. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, automatons—mechanical devices built in the shapes of people—could move on their own by means of springs. Later these automatons were motorized or battery operated, but they were considered merely amusing toys.

In the mid-1950s, George Devol developed Unimate, an industrial robot that began work on an automobile assembly line. This pioneer robot ran for 100,000 hours and is now retired and on display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Little was done in industrial robotics until the development of miniaturization and microchips in the 1990s, which made the field possible.

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