Only Fifty Years of Commercial Robots!

Let us do a historical review of what were commercial robotics applications. It is a journey of approximately half a century, in which robots with practical application have been developed especially for the industrial world. Furthermore, this is where there are the most critical advances in engineering, science, and technology.

We can recall some milestones of contemporary robotics, such as the first mechanical telemanipulation at the Argonne National Lab (1948), the first robot used in the automotive industry, Unimation (1960), the original programming language for robots developed at Stanford, called Wave (1973) or the first of a kind all-electric robotics manipulator from ASEA (1973).

These first industrial manipulators were machines not flexible enough and dangerous for human work environments. Thus, in recent years, the trend continues to develop collaborative robots, whose design paradigm is inherently safe and allows interaction with humans. Universal Robots UR series or IIWA Kuka are good examples of the current "cobots."

Depending on the applications, robots today have a great variety of morphologies (e.g., stationary, wheeled, legged, flying, swimming, modular, hybrid, soft). In any case, we must take advantage of everything learned from industrial manipulators, especially in terms of mechanics, to extend this knowledge to other models and robotic structures. We must work so that when the future arrives, people perceive robots as a beneficial system. They must be excellent products and versatile machines that serve competently and with productivity to complement humans' capabilities.

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