Unimate Robot

George Devol and Joseph Engelberger met at a coctail party and over drinks hatched a plan to create the first robot, the Unimate (short for Universal Automation). The short video below contains comments from George Devol and Joseph Engelberger, co-inventors of the Unimate robot and shows the Unimate robot in action.

Industry did not buy in to the concept of robotics early, and Engelberger and Devol worked hard to promote the concept of automation to the general public. Engelberger appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to demonstrate the robot and a Unimate was installed in the prestigeous Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles in 1967 (seen pouring coffee for a customer below).

 

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General Motors installed the first industrial robot on a production line in 1961. The robot selected was a "Unimate" invented by George Devol and Joseph Engelberger in 1957. Obeying step-by-step commands stored on a magnetic drum, the 4,000-pound arm sequenced and stacked hot pieces of die-cast metal.

The picture below shows a Unimate robot working in a General Electric factory.

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The picture below shows the first Unimate robot, now in a museum

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