Robotics Classification Envelopes Accuracy Repeatability History

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c3000 BC Egyptian water clocks and mechanical dolls

c500 BC Herodotus describes the wooden foot of Hegesistratus

c360 BC Archytas of Tarentum - wooden bird that could fly

c218 BC Roman general Marcus Sergius has an iron replacement made for his severed hand

c200 BC Chinese mechanical orchestra

c150 BC Hero of Alexandria - De Automatis described a mechanical theatre with marching and dancing figures

c1250 Albertus Magnus invents household automaton to open doors

c1400 Swiss and German android clocks developed

1509 Götz von Berlichingen’s iron hand is made with gearing for manipulating mechanical fingers and thumb

1643 Blaise Pascal develops mechanical adding machine, the Pascaline

1720 Bouchon and Falcon in Lyons, France, design looms for weaving patterns into silk

1738 Jacques de Vauconson builds mechanical duck that quacked, bathed, drank water, and ate, digested, and voided grain

1770 Pierre and Henri-Louis Jacquet Droz built 3 android automatons: a young boy who wrote letters, and older boy who drew pictures, and a girl who played piano

1774 John Winkinson invents boring machine to help build steam engine

1787 James Watt invents flyball governor to control speed of steam engine

1795 Evan's Flour Mill in Philadelphia introduced continuous process

1800 Metal lathe invented by Henry Maudslay

1801 Joseph Marie Jacquard invents punch card controlled automatic loom in France

1812 Charles Babbage begins difference engine to compute mathematical tables automatically

1818 Eli Whitney invents milling machine

1818 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus

1830 Charles Babbage conceives the analytical engine, develops many basic principles of computing, Ada Augusta Lovelace writes the software

1873 C. M. Spencer invents fully automatic lathe or automatic screw machine

1887 Herman Hollerith begins to mechanize the U.S. census using punched card concept

1892 Steward Babbitt invents motorized rotary crane with gripper for removing ingots from a furnace

1909 Henry Ford mass produced automobiles with a 1.5 minute cycle time

1921 Karel Capek wrote play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), coining the word robot from the Czech word robotit which means worker, drudge, or forced labor

1930 Vannevar Bush builds analog computer (differential analyzer) to solve integral equations mechanically

1931 IBM 601 performs decimal multiplication using plugboard programming and electromechanical memory, arithmetic, and control

1937 Howard Aiken of Harvard with IBM support develops Mark I electromechanical computer as an extension of punched-card technology - completed in 1944

1938 John Atanasoff develops a prototype electronic computer - completed in 1942

1938 William Pollard and Harold Roseland invent a spray painting machine with recorded paths for DeVilbiss

1942 Punched paper tapes used to control differential analyzer

1944 Goertz invented master-slave manipulator

1945 J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly invent ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator) full scale electronic computer at University of Pennsylvania

1945 John von Neumann develops concept of stored program in the EDVAC computer - completed in 1949

1946 Forrester and Everett develop Whirlwind at MIT general purpose digital computer (16 bits, 42K ips, 5 bit op code, 11 bit address, 5K tubes, 256 word memory)

1946 George Devol invented a playback device for machine control, used it on an electromechanical feedback manipulator

1948 Bardeen, Bratton, and Shockley invent transistor at Bell Laboratories

1948 Norbert Wiener publishes Cybernetics describing concepts of communications and control in electronic, mechanical, and biological systems

1949 EDSAC stored program computer developed at Cambridge University

1950 Lincoln Lab founded at MIT

1951 Parsons Corporation and MIT developed APT (Automatically Programmed Tools) language using Whirlwind computer to control a Cincinatti Hydrotel milling machine using flexowrite tape - NC component completed 1954, APT completed by Douglas Ross and others in 1956

1951 Eckert and Mauchly develop mass produced commercial computer UNIVAC (Universal Numerical Integrator and Calculator)

1951 Third generation programming language compilers written

1951 Raymond Goertz invents teleoperator-equipped articulated arm for the Atomic Energy Commission

1952 IBM 701 computer marketed - delivered in 1953

1953 SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system development project started

1955 Pennsylvania Railroad leased IBM 705 to handle the paperwork

1956 FORTRAN developed

1956 George Devol invents programmable robot, calls it univeral automation, founds Unimation

1956 Cincinnati Milacron introduce numerical control machine tool

1957 Tidewater Oil's "Refinery of the Future" used IBM 650 to monitor complex refinery operations

1957 Barnes drilling machine had 4 spindles for automatic tool changing

1958 AN/FSQ-7 Sage (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) computer delivered for NORAD combat centers (25K tubes, 30,000 sq. ft., 32 bits, 175 tons, 1500 KW power)

1958 Wallace E. Brainard developed automatic tool changer for Kearney and Trecker Milwaukee Matic maching center

1959 LISP and Cobol developed

1959 Ferranti developed a coordinate measuring machine using linear diffraction gratings

1959 Planet introduces a commerical pick-and-place robot controlled by limit switches and cams

1960 Unimate robot installed at Ford Motor to tend die-casting machine

1960 AMF introduces VERSATRAN commercial robot

1961 Unimation introduces servo-controlled industrial robot

1961 Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce form INTEL

1961 Collins prosthetic hand developed

1961 Ernst arm, a teleoperator slave arm equipped with touch sensors, is connected to a computer at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory

1961 General Motors installs Unimate robot on a production line

1962 Ivan Sutherland developed Sketchpad (MIT) - a CRO driven by a Lincoln TX2 - beginning of computer graphics

1963 Coon include APT in computer graphics functions

1963 American Airlines developes SABRE reservation system for IBM 7090 computer

1963 American Machine and Foundry Versatile Transfer developed (Prab)

1963 Roehampton arm development begun

1963 Edinburg arm developed

1964 GM announced DAC-1 (Design Augmented by Computer) console installed on IBM 7094 computer (Dr. Harranty)

1965 Expert system DENDRAL developed by Edward Fiegenbaum at Stanford

1965 Bell Lab announced GRAPHIC 1 remote display system

1966 IBM Component Division implemented a system to aid A.C. module design for sytem 360

1967 Freeman worked out a hidden-line algorithm

1968 Stanford Reserach Institute develops Shakey, a mobile robot with vision

1968 Kawasaki Heavy Industries negotiates license from Unimation

1969 General Electric develops experimental walking truck for U.S. Army

1969 Unix

1969 Williamson developed a flexible manufacturing system in the Molins System 24

1970 Stanford Arm with camera and computer stacks colored blocks

1970 First National Symposium on Industrial Robots

1970 Unimate robot used for die casting at GM

1970 Japanese National Railways placed seven lathes under simultaneous control, introducing DNC (direct numerical control)

1970 Ted Codd proposed relational database management

1970 200 robots in use worldwide

1971 Japan Industrial Robot Association formed

1972 RCA announced GOLD system for I.C. layout

1972 Geometrical modelling systems PADL were developed at the University of Rochester

1973 Richard Hohn of Cincinnati Milacron introduces T3 (The Tomorrow Tool) minicomputer-controlled industrial robot that tracks objects on a moving conveyor

1973 Chasen justified the CAD system (Lockheed)

1974 Scheinman forms Vicarm to market version of Stanford Arm with minicomputer control for industrial applications

1974 ASEA introduces electric drive industrial robot

1974 3500 robots in use worldwide

1975 Robot Institute of America formed

1976 Viking II lands on Mars

1977 ASEA Brown Boveri Robotics Inc. introduces two sizes of micocomputer controlled electric drive industrial robots

1977 British Robot Association formed

1977 6500 robots in use worldwide

1978 Unimation with G.M. help and Vicarm technology develops the PUMA (Programmable Universal Machine for Assembly) robot

1978 HP's microporcessor-based raster scan display

1979 GM, Boeing described how to bridge gap between CAD and CAM

1979 Visicalc spreadsheet introduced on Apple computers

1980 Fujitsu Fanuc Company of Japan develops automated factory

1980 MAZAK flexible manufacturing factory is built in Florence, KY

1980 14,000 robots in use worldwide, 4000 robots in use in US

1981 Robotics International/SME formed

1982 Microbot and Rhino introduce first educational robots

1982 27,000 robots in use worldwide, (table 1-1)

1983 Heath introduces Hero1 robot

1984 Adept Corp. introduces electric direct-drive robot arms to eliminate need for gear or chain drives

1985 68,500 robots in use worldwide

1988 Richard S. Muller invents micromachine at Berkeley

1990 150,000 robots in use worldwide

1990 ASEA Brown Boveri Robotics, Inc. purchases robotics division of Cincinnati Milacron

1992 William Barger employs Robodoc, a robotic arm, in hip-replacement surgery

Definition of a Robot

Generic types of robots

Industrial - "An industrial robot is a reprogrammable, multi-functional manipulator designed to move material, parts, tools, or specialized devices, through various programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks" - examples: Cincinatti Milacron, Asea, Unimate
Educational - Hero
Entertainment - C3PO, R2D2
Human-like - (droid)
Robot Capabilities


- Axes of motion/degrees of freedom

- Work envelope

- Coordinate system

- Sight (vision) / light

- Sound (acoustic)

- Proximity (range)

- Touch

- Force

- Speech

- Computer Signals

- Displays
What robots can do (Table 2-1)

Robot Classification

Cartesian (or rectangular) Robots - 3 linear axes, supported from a base

Gantry Robots (also rectangular)- 3 linear axes, supported from a gantry
Cylindrical Robots - 2 linear axes, 1 rotary axis
Spherical (or polar) Robots - 1 linear axis, 2 rotary axes - a fading breed
Articulated (jointed arm, revolute) Robots - 3 rotary axes - major offering of robotics industry
SCARA Robots - (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) - more than 3 axes, combination of articulated (with rotary axes mounted vertically) and cylindrical - allows some floatation at final position for parts insertion - becoming quite popular
Work Envelope (Figures 2-1 and 2-2)
Additional Axes of Motion

Robots, in addition to the three major axes of motion, can have both minor axes of motion and an additional major axis of motion

An additional major axis of motion can be obtained by mounting the entire robot on a traverse track on the floor or overhead. Sometimes this axis of motion is not programmable
Minor axes of motion of a robot are contained in a wrist assembly, mounted to the end of the robot arm. An additional 1 to 3 axes of motion are provided. Names used for these axes of motion are pitch, yaw, roll, bend, and swivel. As the names imply, these are generally all rotary axes.
Robot Control
Non-servo point-to-point robots

low technology - about 10% of U.S. market

"pick and place," "limited sequence," "bang-bang"

more human intervention needed to re-program (adjust stops)

$4000 to $35000

pneumatic or hydrolic control (no electric)

payload from ounces to 75 lbs (because of decelleration)

no jointed arms available

Servo-controlled point-to-point robots

medium technology - about 80% of U.S. market

general purpose robots

use servomechanisms capable of stopping the robot at any point along any axis of motion

$13,500 to $220,000

electric, hydrolic, or (rarely) pneumatic control

payload from ounces up to tons - all types of arms available
Servo-controlled continuous path robots

about 10% of U.S. market, 90% of which used in spray painting

specialized designs based on intended use

intermediate as well as endpoint data stored on a time basis, frequently programmed by leading it through the pattern

$55,000 to $225,000 - usually hydrolic control, jointed arm

Robot Tradeoffs

Payload - specified at 100% (or 75%) or arm extension - can be tons

Velocity - can be in excess of 200 inches/second
Repeatability - how close it comes to previous location

Accuracy - how close it comes to desired location

Robot Applications




Spot Welding



Arc Welding






Materials Handling (machine load/unload)









Comparison Points When Choosing A Robot

Degrees of freedom


Drive type

Software available

Kinematic construction

Closed loop/open loop

Payload in grams

How many I/O ports


Operational radius

Movement limited or wide in all axes


Multiple vs. single speed

Teach pendant

On-line with host


External communications protocol

Hard home

Sensing via gripper



Off-line programming

Courseware availability/curriculum

Number of program lines allowed

XYZ program

Design of work cell

Program parameters

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Robotics

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