This is a question we get asked a lot so we thought we’d put people out of their misery. Firstly the word robot comes from the Czech word ‘robotnik‘ which means forced labour or even slave. Watching movies like I Robot, Wall-E and reading various sci-fi novels of the past you’ll quickly see that robots have mostly always been portrayed as helpers and servents of humanity.
It’s only in recent years that the image of robots has been upgraded to sentient beings with minds of their own e.g. transformers and even IRobot.
Anyway the word was first introduced by playwright Karel Capek in his play ‘RUR - Rossum’s Universal Robots‘ and it’s from there that the word and idea became popular. The first robot to be developed was by Joseph Engelberger and George Devol back in 1961 and if you’re imagining a metallic being with 2 arms, 2 legs and a head you can forget it. The first robot was basically a clawed arm that dropped hot steel car parts into water for cooling.
90% of robots today are used in factories, working on production lines and often handling dangerous materials that humans would find difficult or even impossible to handle. Other uses include exploration such as deep sea exploration and mining.