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Scottish mathematician and physicist John Napier discovered that the multiplication and division of numbers could be performed by the addition and subtraction, respectively, of logarithms of those numbers. While producing the first logarithmic tables Napier needed to perform many tedious multiplications. It was at this point that he designed his “Napier’s bones’, an abacus-like device that greatly simplified calculations that involved multiplication and division
Since real numbers can be represented as distances or intervals on a line, the slide rule was invented in the 1620s, shortly after Napier’s work, to allow multiplication and division operations to be carried out significantly faster than was previously possible.  Edmund Gunter built a calculating device with a single logarithmic scale at the University of Oxford. His device greatly simplified arithmetic calculations, including multiplication and division. William Oughtred greatly improved this in 1630 with his circular slide rule. He followed this up with the modern slide rule in 1632, essentially a combination of two Gunter rules, held together with the hands. Slide rules were used by generations of engineers and other mathematically involved professional workers, until the invention of the pocket calculator.
Wilhelm Schickard, a German polymath, designed a calculating machine in 1623 which combined a mechanized form of Napier’s rods with the world’s first mechanical adding machine built into the base. Because it made use of a single-tooth gear there were circumstances in which its carry mechanism would jam.  A fire destroyed at least one of the machines in 1624 and it is believed Schickard was too disheartened to build another.
In 1642, while still a teenager, Blaise Pascal started some pioneering work on calculating machines and after three years of effort and 50 prototypes  he invented a mechanical calculator.   He built twenty of these machines (called Pascal’s Calculator or Pascaline) in the following ten years.  Nine Pascalines have survived, most of which are on display in European museums.  A continuing debate exists over whether Schickard or Pascal should be regarded as the “inventor of the mechanical calculator” and the range of issues to be considered is discussed elsewhere. 
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz invented the Stepped Reckoner and his famous stepped drum mechanism around 1672. He attempted to create a machine that could be used not only for addition and subtraction but would utilize a moveable carriage to enable long multiplication and division. Leibniz once said “It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labor of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.”  However, Leibniz did not incorporate a fully successful carry mechanism. Leibniz also described the binary numeral system,  a central ingredient of all modern computers. However, up to the 1940s, many subsequent designs (including Charles Babbage’s machines of the 1822 and even ENIAC of 1945) were based on the decimal system. 
Around 1820, Charles Xavier Thomas de Colmar created what would over the rest of the century become the first successful, mass-produced mechanical calculator, the Thomas Arithmometer. It could be used to add and subtract, and with a moveable carriage the operator could also multiply, and divide by a process of long multiplication and long division.  It Utilised a stepped drum similar in conception to that invented by Leibniz. Mechanical calculators remained in use until the 1970s.
Remotely operated vehicles were demonstrated in the late 19th century in the form of several types of remotely controlled torpedoes. The early 1870s saw remotely controlled torpedoes by John Ericsson (pneumatic), John Louis Lay (electric wire guided), and Victor von Scheliha (electric wire guided).
The Brennan torpedo, invented by Louis Brennan in 1877 was powered by two contra-rotating propellors that were spun by rapidly pulling out wires from drums wound inside the torpedo. Differential speed on the wires connected to the shore station allowed the torpedo to be guided to its target, making it “the world’s first practical guided missile”. In 1898 Nikola Tesla publicly demonstrated a “wireless” radio-controlled torpedo that he hoped to sell to the U.S. Navy.
Archibald Low was known as the “father of radio guidance systems” for his pioneering work on guided rockets and planes during the First World War. In 1917, he demonstrated a remote controlled aircraft to the Royal Flying Corps and in the same year built the first wire-guided rocket.
In the winter of 1970, the Soviet Union explored the surface of the moon with the lunar vehicle Lunokhod 1, the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another celestial body.
The term “robot” was first used to denote fictional automata in the 1921 play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek. According to Čapek, the word was created by his brother Josef from the Czech “robota”, meaning servitude. The play, R.U.R, replaced the popular use of the word “automaton” with the word “robot.” In 1927, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis was released; the Maschinenmensch (“machine-human”), a gynoid humanoid robot, also called “Parody”, “Futura”, “Robotrix”, or the “Maria impersonator” (played by German actress Brigitte Helm), was the first robot ever to be depicted on film. In many films, radio and television programs of the 1950s and before, the word “robot” was usually pronounced “robit,” even though it was spelled “bot” and not “bit.” Examples include “The Lonely” episode of the TV series “The Twilight Zone,” first aired on November 15, 1959, and all episodes of the sci-fi radio program “X Minus One.”
Many robots were constructed before the dawn of computer-controlled servomechanisms, for the public relations purposes of major firms. These were essentially machines that could perform a few stunts, like the automatons of the 18th century. In 1928, one of the first humanoid robots was exhibited at the annual exhibition of the Model Engineers Society in London. Invented by W. H. Richards, the robot Eric’s frame consisted of an aluminium body of armour with eleven electromagnets and one motor powered by a twelve-volt power source. The robot could move its hands and head and could be controlled through remote control or voice control.
The first humanoid robot was a soldier with a trumpet, made in 1810 by Friedrich Kauffman in Dresden, Germany. The robot was on display until at least April 30, 1950.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation built Televox in 1926 – it was a cardboard cutout connected to various devices which users could turn on and off. In 1939, the humanoid robot known as Elektro was debuted at the World’s Fair. Seven feet tall (2.1 m) and weighing 265 pounds (120.2 kg), it could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words (using a 78-rpm record player), smoke cigarettes, blow up balloons, and move its head and arms. The body consisted of a steel gear cam and motor skeleton covered by an aluminum skin. In 1928, Japan’s first robot, Gakutensoku, was designed and constructed by biologist Makoto Nishimura.
In 1941 and 1942, Isaac Asimov formulated the Three Laws of Robotics, and in the process of doing so, coined the word “robotics”. In 1948, Norbert Wiener formulated the principles of cybernetics, the basis of practical robotics.
The first electronic autonomous robots with complex behaviour were created by William Grey Walter of the Burden Neurological Institute at Bristol, England in 1948 and 1949. He wanted to prove that rich connections between a small number of brain cells could give rise to very complex behaviors – essentially that the secret of how the brain worked lay in how it was wired up. His first robots, named Elmer and Elsie, were constructed between 1948 and 1949 and were often described as tortoises due to their shape and slow rate of movement. The three-wheeled tortoise robots were capable of phototaxis, by which they could find their way to a recharging station when they ran low on battery power.
Walter stressed the importance of using purely analogue electronics to simulate brain processes at a time when his contemporaries such as Alan Turing and John von Neumann were all turning towards a view of mental processes in terms of digital computation. His work inspired subsequent generations of robotics researchers such as Rodney Brooks, Hans Moravec and Mark Tilden. Modern incarnations of Walter’s turtles may be found in the form of BEAM robotics