Robots are a staple in great science fiction and have been turned into lovable or fierce characters with distinctly human traits by Hollywood. Giving how fast technology advances, it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to know that robotics engineering could very well create a sophisticated humanoid robot like in the movie I, Robot.
When it All Started
The term robot was coined by a theatre buff in 1921, but the idea of an automated being that could assist with human tasks goes back to the ancient Egyptian and Greeks. Their robots were called automatons, but “robot,” which is derived from a Czech word meaning “compulsory labor” is the one that stuck.
By 1984, however, robotics engineers had laid the groundwork for more than 70,000 automated robots, most of which were in use at manufacturing plants.
Only 13 years later, the United States sent a robot to the distant planet Mars. The Mars rover marked a huge moment for robot designers, and provided us with a unique first look at the surface of this foreign planet. Since then, more advanced versions have been sent to continue exploration there.
On a more practical level, robot technology has now advanced to the point where robots can search for bombs, investigate dangerous environments while transmitting data to a monitoring station and much more.
Robots are Everywhere
Although major achievements are the ones that make the news, you might be surprised at the places you will find robots. Today there are autonomous robots walking the decks of aircraft carriers, marine robots repairing storm damage to coral reefs, mini robot devices cleaning our homes and even some taking food orders in restaurants. At this rate, the future of robotics engineering will make science fiction look outdated.
When we already have robot waiters, robot musicians and robots travelling through outer space, what will the future of this fascinating technology look like?
The industry as a whole is getting massive funding from a wide variety of sources, so the future is sure to be amazing, sometimes practical and at other times purely entertaining.
What does the future hold? Experts say we are likely to see an increase in current trends, plus more of their use in surgery, manufacturing and waste processing. Of course, we are sure to see an increase in the number and choices of robotic toys. In short, a robotic world will no longer be a thing of science fiction; it will just be everyday life.