History of robots

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Why don’t we have robots taking care of our every need by now? A little history of the field of robotics might help you understand how hard it is to get machines to perform tasks, and how far we’ve come in just a few decades.

Why don’t we have robots taking care of our every need by now? A little history of the field of robotics might help you understand how hard it is to get machines to perform tasks, and how far we’ve come in just a few decades.

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The Steam Man was created in 1868 by famed inventor John Brainerd. As the world's first robot, its significance cannot be overestimated

The Steam Man was created in 1868 by famed inventor John Brainerd. As the world's first robot, its significance cannot be overestimated

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Decades of research and speculative fiction have led to today's computerized assistants such as Apple's Siri.<br />

Decades of research and speculative fiction have led to today's computerized assistants such as Apple's Siri.<br />

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Boilerplate was unveiled in 1893 by Professor Archibald Campion. Built as a prototype soldier for use in resolving the conflicts of nations, Boilerplate served with Roosevelt's Rough Riders and fought alongside Pancho Villa.

Boilerplate was unveiled in 1893 by Professor Archibald Campion. Built as a prototype soldier for use in resolving the conflicts of nations, Boilerplate served with Roosevelt's Rough Riders and fought alongside Pancho Villa.

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The Smoking Spaceman was made in Japan in 1962 for U.S. toy maker Marx.
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Since the 1960s, humans have invaded our neighboring planet Mars with swarms of spacecraft. Only about half of the attempts have been successful. (Infographic)

Since the 1960s, humans have invaded our neighboring planet Mars with swarms of spacecraft. Only about half of the attempts have been successful. (Infographic)

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History of robots

History of robots

After Frank Reade Jr. assembled his improved version of his father's Steam Man, he turned to producing a mechanical man that would be powered by electricity. The result was the Electric Man, shown above and at right, during a trial run.  In 1886, Reade Jr. traveled with this metal giant on a world tour similar to Archibald Campion's journey with Boilerplate.

After Frank Reade Jr. assembled his improved version of his father's Steam Man, he turned to producing a mechanical man that would be powered by electricity. The result was the Electric Man, shown above and at right, during a trial run. In 1886, Reade Jr. traveled with this metal giant on a world tour similar to Archibald Campion's journey with Boilerplate.

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