Men have always wanted to build robots. Robots can make life easier. An Englishman named Roger Bacon tried to build a mechanical man. One of the first true robots was an invention made by James Watt. He was the same man who invented the steam engine. Watt wanted a device to control the speed of a steam driven machine to keep it from going too fast. He built a device that would cut off the steam to the machine if it was going too fast. This was a true robot because it was self-regulating.
Real progress in robot making began in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This was a period called the “Industrial Revolution”. The invention of new kinds of machinery caused a change in ways of making things. Before the Industrial Revolution almost everything was made by hand. After Industrial Revolution almost everything was made by machines. At first these machines were controlled by human beings. This took a lot of time and effort. There was a need for better methods of control. So men began to invent robots. Some of the first robots began to appear in cotton and woollen mills. But it was not until electronic computers gave machines a “brain” and a “memory” that true robots began to appear. Electronic brains give automatic devices a memory and can instruct them what to do under varying conditions. These devices are true robots because they can take care of themselves.
When scientists first learned to make electronic machines duplicate some of the thinking processes of men, true robots became possible. With an electronic memory a robot can see a problem, then look for a solution. The robot tries the solution and tests it. If it doesn’t work the robot looks in its memory for another one until it finds the right solution. This is called the principle of “feedback”.
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