Nicola Tesla, Father of Robotics

 Graphic by Jeff Smith

Graphic by Jeff Smith

  Schematic illustration of Tesla's system of remotely guided boat shown in Madison Square Garden in 1898. 

Schematic illustration of Tesla's system of remotely guided boat shown in Madison Square Garden in 1898. 

Here is the very first automaton (robot as a word has not been invented yet) developed by Nicola Tesla in 1898. First remote controlled device, and first robot on our known earth. Radio waves were questionable at this time in 1898. 
Tesla developed the idea that all living beings are merely driven by external impulses. He stated:

“I have by every thought and act of mine, demonstrated, and does so daily, to my absolute satisfaction that I am an automaton endowed with power of movement, which merely responds to external stimuli.  I remember only one or two cases in all my life in which I was unable to locate the first impression which prompted a movement or a thought, or even a dream."

“Obviously, to put into practice this idea, it would be possible to construct a machine that would have the arms and legs, and which would walk in an upright position, but this would additionally complicate the task and make it more complex.” 

"Whether the automaton be of flesh and bone, or of wood and steel, it mattered little, provided it could perform all the duties required of it like an intelligent being. To do so, it had to have an element corresponding to the mind, which would effect the control of all its movements and operations, and cause it to act, in any unforeseen case that might present itself, with knowledge, reason, judgment, and experience. But this element I could easily embody in it by conveying to it my own intelligence, my own understanding.

  First control scheme in which is clearly shown feedback loop. (according to N. A Bernstein) 

First control scheme in which is clearly shown feedback loop. (according to N. A Bernstein) 

"So this invention was evolved, and so a new art came into existence, for which the name “teleautomatics” has been suggested, which means the art of controlling movements and operations of distant automatons.”

     - Nicola Tesla

Thus, the concept of the robot was born. Tesla unabashedly embraced all of what intelligence could produce. He envisions a future filled with intelligent cars, portable computers, robotic humans, clean & extraordinary energy sources that have little or nothing to do with combustion or even solar panels for the purpose of a more peaceful and integrated society without the need of abuse, control or violence.

Read more : SERBIAN JOURNAL OF ELCTRICAL ENGINEERING Vol. 3, No. 2, November 2006, 163–175

 
  Illustration of the demonstration at Madison Square Garden in 1898 by Jeff Smith

Illustration of the demonstration at Madison Square Garden in 1898 by Jeff Smith