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In the field of robotics, we have no Newton. No one who, assisted by a falling fruit, cried out, “Eureka,have it, and it is called a… I know… a robot.”

No, the concept of a robot first occurred to some unknown person in some far distant time, as he or she, engaged in a grinding, repetitive task, dreamed of a mechanical contrivance that could do some of the dirty work. We know that moment was more than five hundred years ago, because we have sketchbooks from the incomparable Leonardo da Vinci, dated 1495, that contain detailed plans for one.

via Robotics, Part 1 – Where Are We Today?