The Father of Robotics and The World’s First Industrial Robot




The world’s first industrial robot named Unimate was installed in a General Motors assembly line in New Jersey, 1961.

The 4000 lb robot arm was created by engineer and entrepreneur, Joseph Frederic Engelberger and inventor George Devol. Devol had engineered and recently patented an industrial robot arm and decided to partner with Engelberger after meeting at a party.

The robot was designed to extract hot parts from a die-cast machine which was a very dangerous job for the human. The Unimate could be programmed a variety of other tasks such as loading and unloading machine tools.

Engelberger convinced CEO of Condec Corp, a company in Connecticut to finance the development Devol's invention and after which it took 2 years to produce the first working robot. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler also introduced the Unimate to their assembly lines after a few years.

Business was good so in 1966, Engelberger decided to expand the business and work with Nokia of Finland to manufacture the robots in Europe and Kawasaki Heavy Industries to build robots in automotive plants in Asia.

See Nokia 5G robot today.

See Kawasaki robot performing a car body assembly. 

These things are amazing and yes, we have advanced considerably from Unimate (patent-1954).

Engelberger passed away yesterday at age 90. He certainly lived a great life and we are always inspired by engineers and inventors like him and Devol.

On a side note, during the first years of Unimate, Engnelberger had a difficult time facing and received a lot of backlash from the automotive industry. However, he was motivated by the Three Laws of Robotics which is robots can do no harm (even through inaction). The second law is obeying human orders as long as it does not conflict with the first law. And the third law is robots must protect it as long as it does not break the first and second law.

The lesson here is don't give up and keep upholding your beliefs and vision if you know it to be true and fair.

The Monster truly appreciates Engelberger’s contributions and hope to help create the next "Father of Robotics" or even a superstar 16-year-old robotics inventor to supercharge the 4th industrial revolution.

We are giving away free Monster Arduino Kit for high school STEM programs to those who qualify. Please contact us for details.


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