Evolution of Robots

What is Robotics in simple words?

Robot is a machine which performs certain tasks. Robotics  is the technology branch dealing with creation of intelligent machines to assist humans in many tasks.

Evolution of Robots
77-100 BC : Antikythera Device

Discovered by Greeks, its gear mechanism have been used to calculate the position of celestial bodies.

1495: First Humanoid Robot

Leonardo da Vinci possibly designed first humanoid robot. The robot is described as German-Italian medieval armor, and able to make motions like humans.

1645: Pascals Calculator

Mechanical calculator invented by Blaise Pascal to help his father to calculate taxes in France.

1709 : The Duck

This device in the form of duck, discovered by Jacques de Vaucanson. Its having the ability to eat grain, metabolize and flap its wings. It was one of greatest wonder during those period in France.

1868: The Steam Man

Steam man robot invested by 22-year-old inventor named Zadoc Dederick. This device used to pull wheel carts by steam powered robot.

1937-1938: Elektro

Human like robot that could speak about 700 words, talk, smoke cigarettes and move its head and arms.

1942: First Programmable Mechanism

Spray paint robot patents designed by Americans, Willard Pollard, Harold Roselund and assigned to DeVilbiss company.

1948: Elmer and Elsie

Invented by American born British, William Grey Walter. When their battery runs low, capable of finding their charging stations. Also known as tortoise robots because of their shape and movement.

1954: Unimate

It was invented by American George Devol, the first programmable robot used to assemble motors, casting..etc.

1968: Walking Truck

It was designed by Ralph Mosher from USA, used to carry equipments from one place to another.

1969: Biped Walking Robot

Designed by Japanese Professor, Ichiro Kato to manage human like movement. It can stand up and sit down.

1973: Wabot -1

It was first full scale anthropomorphic robot in the world developed by Ichiro Kato.

1978: ACMVI (Oblix)

Manufactured by Tokyo Institute of Technology, it had snake-like abilities.

1980: WL-9DR

Quasi-dynamic walking was realized for the first time in the world by the model WL-9DR. It used 16bit microcomputer as its controller instead of a minicomputer.

1985: Collie1

Four legged dynamic walking machine made by H. Miura at the University of Tokyo.

1989: Aquarobot

Aquarobot was six-legged walking machine used in undersea. It was made by Robotics Lab, Japan.

1996: RoboTuna

It was build by American scientists of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), used to study how fish swim.

1996: P2

First self regulating bipedal humanoid robots developed by Japanese company, Honda.

1997: NASA’s Pathfinder

The wheeled robot capture images and data from Mars and sent back to Earth. It was build by NASA Scientist.

1998: Kismet

Robotic machine that interacted emotionally with humans, made by American scientist Dr. Cynthia Breazeal at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1998: Mindstorms LEGO

An innovative robotics for children made by LEGO company (Denmark and Cambridge) using modular designs and LEGO plastics bricks. It’s having ability to solve problems and used for mathematical learning purpose.

1999: Aibo Robotic Dog

Aibo, designed to be an intelligent robot, created by Sony, Japan to walk, bark, play with ball etc.

2000: Sony Dream Robots

SDR was able to recognise 10 faces, expresses emotions through speech and body language.

2002: ASIMO

ASIMO is humanoid robot developed by Honda Motor company, having capability of postures, gestures and intended to be personal assistance of humans.

2002: Roomba Robot Vacuum cleaners

Autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner made by American technology company, iRobot.

2003: Spirit and Sojourner

As part of Mars mission, NASA landed these robots for their operations.

2004: Smallest flying Microrobot

Japanese company named Epson developed smallest flying robot to use as flying camera during natural disaster.

2011: Robonaut 2

Robonaut 2 is the first humanoid robot build and developed by NASA to explore space.

2012: Modified Toyota Pruis

The first driverless car is licensed in Nevada.

2013: Atlas

Atlas is humanoid robot developed by American company Boston Dynamics with funding from US Defence agency. Started in 2013 and mainly used in search and rescue operations.

2014: HitchBOT

It was created by Canadians, David Harris Smith and Frauke Zeller, gained attention for hitchhiking.

2014: Pepper

Its semi-humanoid robot build by Japanese company Softbank robotics that is capable of recognising human emotions.

2016: Furo-i Home

It was build by South Korean company which is used to look after young children and elder relations.

2016: Sophia

Humanoid robot created by Hong Kong based company in 2016 and introduced to United Nations on 2017, having advanced speech and language processing feature. On October 2017, Sophia was granted Saudi Arabian citizenship.

2019: Walker

First commercial bipedal robot available to purchase used for human interactions, smart home control, navigations etc.

2020: Avatar

Toyota developed avatar controlled robots in 5G network. The 5G connection is used in human controller to use Virtual Reality and force follow robots the same action  to complete tasks in real time.

2021: Ameca

Ameca is most advanced and realistic humanoid robot build by UK based company, Engineered Arts and robotic engineers are capable of creating complex facial expressions. It can do smile, scratch, understand human emotions, assist humans by Artificial Intelligence and so many other features.



There are many small to large scale technology companies around the world developing innovative and most advanced future robots. Companies like Boston Dynamics, Tesla and many other enterprises have ongoing work on Robotics.  In 2023 also we see many innovative solutions in Robotics being envisioned and implemented. This blog is not a complete list, and there might be several other milestones that might be missed in this article. The intend of this blog was to give a brief outline of some key milestones in Robotics.

Author Details

Mohammed Azeem Azeez

Technology Lead at Infosys | Advanced Future Technology Enthusiast |  Programmer  | Technology content writer | Published 10+ Technology related Articles | Worked on 77+ applications | Self Learner


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