The robot industry

The history of robots is quite new. While the ideas have been around for some time, the construction and use of robots did not really begin until the mid-1950s.

  • In 1956, the first robot company was formed by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger.
  • In 1959, the first instance of computer-assisted manufacturing was demonstrated at a laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • In 1961, the first industrial robot, called UNIMATE, came online in a General Motors car factory in New Jersey, USA.

AIBO (Robotic Dog)

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Robotics Task 2

Research and add to your portfolio:

  • Do research into the representation of robots in movies and on television. Construct a table that identifies and describes the characteristics of at least five different robots in movies and television. Make a presentation of your 'Robots in movies and television'. Include the image of the robot and a brief video of the robot in action. 
  • ‘Robots will free millions of people from dirty, dangerous and boring industrial work and their application will enrich society.’
    Do you agree with this statement? Give reasons for your answer. Write at least 200 words.
  • Add your completed work to your Robotics e-portfolio as Robotics Portfolio Task 2.


Archytas of Tarentum, a friend of Plato’s, built a mechanical bird driven by a jet of compressed air— arguably history’s first robot—in the fifth century BCE.

What to do / Robotics Task 3

You are to create a Mahara page called "Ways Robots are changing the way we work" and answer these questions on your Mahara Page

  1. Asia is at the heart of the revolution.  There are a world-leading 437 industrial robots per 10,000 manufacturing employees in South Korea, almost triple the rate in the United States. Japan has the most industrial robots in the world in raw numbers, at 306,700, compared with 237,400 in the United States and 182,300 in China. So how will robotics change the way we work?
  2. Automation and the development of robots for dangerous tasks, such as those described in the article, are viewed by most people as beneficial to society. However, many workers in less dangerous jobs have been made redundant by robots. Do you think the development of new robotic technologies, and their implementation, is inevitable? What, if anything, should we as a society do for those people who lose their jobs?
  3. Find one example of a robot used in manufacturing and answer the following questions: What is manufactured? What tasks does the robot perform? Is the robot a stationary arm or a mobile robot?
  4. Find an example of a robot used for security control. Describe the function of the robot in the system.