Robotics is a branch of engineering, specifically of meccatronics, which studies and develops methods allowing robots to perform the human work automatically.
Robotics is an interdisciplinary science in which different knowledge and disciplines converge, both of humanistic nature (such as linguistic), and of a scientific nature such as biology, psychology electronics, physics, computer science, mathematics and mechanics. Therefore it is clear that to design a robot different professional skills are involved.
The first industrial robot in history appears in 1961, by General Motors, which introduces in its car factory, in New Jersey, a mechanical arm designed in mid-fifties by Joseph Engelberger and George Devol.
With regards to humanoid robotics we arrive to 1970, in Japan, with Wabot-1, designed by the University in Tokyo. It is the first anthropomorphic robot, that is an automaton capable of reproducing some characteristics of the human being, of imitating distinctive traits such as appearance, movements and even perceptual abilities.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the first military drone is born, capable of taking-off alone (Lockheed D-21).
The use of the term robot dates back to 1920. It derives from the robota czech, used by the writer Karel Čapek with the meaning of “worker”. Not that far far from the Robot Institute of America definition, according to which the robot is a “multifunctional manipulator” able to perform different tasks through a series of programmed movements.
The origin of the name, however, is literary. It was Isaac Asimov, considered the Prophet of robotics, to use the robot term in his science fiction story of 1942 (Runaround) and to enunciate in the same story the “Three laws of robotics” important in suggesting an ethical use of technology.