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  • Nikhil Badveli

World's First Humanoid Robot - "Herbert Televox"

A Humanoid Robot is a special kind of robot that resembles a human in every way possible. But, back in 1927 even a menial task such as lifting a telephone receiver to accept a call was considered a remarkable achievement.

Herbert Televox, 1927

The word "robot" comes from a Czech word called Robota. The meaning of this word could roughly be translated to "Forced Labour" in English.


Definition of a "robot" :

A machine, programmable by a computer, capable of carrying out a series of actions automatically.

The first robot, a humanoid version at that, was built by Ron Wensley in 1927. It was named as Herbert Televox.


Apparently, the forced labour it was built to do was lifting a receiver to accept a telephone call. Certainly, very useful for lazy people.


It was Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co that built this first robot. The humanoid appearance was simply due to a basic cut out used on this robot while demonstrating.



The 2nd Robot (or) Is it actually the first robot?

  • The same company that made the first robot created a second robot called Elektro, the Motor man. It was Joseph Barnett, an Engineer who constructed this robot.

  • It was made with Aluminium and Steel with a weight of 120 Kg and a height of 210 cm.

  • It is actually capable of doing some of the complex tasks like walking, counting and smoking.

  • Most people actually consider this as the first robot because it is closer in resemblance to humans than Herbert Televox.



Did you know?

It was Isaac Asimov with his book I, Robot that made robots a pop culture icon. In the book, he talks about the first law of robotics, which is "A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm."

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