Whenever someone says artificial intelligence, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it robots? Well, artificial intelligence robots are definitely some of the most fascinating technological advancements that humans have ever developed. The field of robotics and artificial intelligence is constantly developing. As we follow its incredible development, we should take a look at the history of the artificial intelligence robot and check out some of the world’s most famous historical robots, and what they were designed for.

The Artificial Intelligence Robot: 4 Robots That Impressed The World


One of the most famous robots in the world, Elektro was first displayed in 1939 at the New York World’s Fair. Needless to say, it was the highlight of the fair, and people loved it. This robot was a metal biped, a bit similar to the representation of the Tin Woodman from “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. He was built by Westinghouse, a corporation eager to establish itself as one of the most developed technological companies.

During the New York Fair, Elektro entertained the audience the same way a comedian would. He told jokes, blew up balloons, and even smoked cigarettes. He had the ability to walk, and he could easily move his arms around. This was definitely another element that fueled the crowd’s fascination with him. Even more so, he had photoelectric eyes that could tell the difference between green and red.

After the Second World War, people started paying less attention to Elektro, until he ended up somewhere in a basement. Later, he was rebuilt, and now, he stands on display at the Mansfield Memorial Museum in Ohio. People can still check him out today.


Whenever you think of a mechanical head that lacks a body and speaks to you in a frightening and monotonous voice, does a horror movie come to mind? Well, the thing we’re talking about today is not part of a horror movie. It is in fact a mid-1800s robot. Its name is Euphonia, and Joseph Faber built it as a talking machine.

It contains bellows, chambers, pedals, and an artificial glottis. All of these are a result of Faber’s extensive research on the anatomy of human speech. Euphonia contained mechanical parts that were fabricated so as to imitate human anatomy. Due to 16 keys, each corresponding to different vowels and consonants, Euphonia was able to speak in any European language, if properly assisted. Not only could she use a conversational voice, but she could also sing or whisper.

Needless to say, this creeped some people out. This is probably the main reason why Euphonia wasn’t that popular, despite her rather advanced abilities. Still, one must acknowledge its importance when looking at the bigger picture. After all, it was one of the influencers that helped develop more advanced technology, such as the telephone.

The Jaquet-Droz Trio

Going even earlier than the 1800s, it’s difficult to imagine that anyone could have built a robot in 1774. While they’re not what we understand by artificial intelligence robot nowadays, the three Jaquet-Droz automatons were definitely a breakthrough at the time. They were built by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, who was a Swiss clockmaker, and his two sons, Henri-Louis and Jean-Frederic Leschot.

The automatons went by the names the musician, the draughtsman, and the writer. They would perform their respective duties due to an intricate mechanism of wheels and cogs. For instance, the musician (which the family completed over a period of 10 years) is a female that plays different songs which are 45 seconds each. She contains 5.000 internal parts, and you can actually see her moving her fingers on the clavichord keys. Not only that, but she also mimics breathing, follows her fingers with her eyes, and makes a bow after she finishes a song.

The second automaton, the draughtsman (which is a child) might seem less impressive than the musician. He can only draw 4 different things. Still, he also blows on his drawing every now and then, to remove the dust. The third and last artificial intelligence robot, namely the writer, is quite impressive as well. That’s mostly because he can write sentences that people dictate to him, and he also uses a fancy script. Even more so, you can see him dipping the quill in ink, shaking it, and only then start writing.

If you’d like to see these three automatons which fascinated people when the inventors built them, they’re on display in a museum in Switzerland, more precisely in Neuchatel. What’s even more interesting is that they still work, and occasionally even perform for the public.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mechanical Lion

Leonardo Da Vinci wasn’t just a great painter, he was also a great inventor. One of the main inventions that corroborate this fact is his mechanical lion. This was a lion that Da Vinci created in the early 1500s, when he was approaching the end of his life. The reason behind this invention was King Francois I’s desire for someone or something to entertain him.

Da Vinci’s lion could walk. Moreover, when it reached its destination, its chest opened. This reealed a compartment where a fleur-de-lis (basically a stylized lily) was resting. Da Vinci placed the lily there as a symbol of French monarchy.

Unfortunately, the original Da Vinci mechanical lion doesn’t exist anymore. Fortunately, Renato Boaretto, another artificial intelligence robot creator, took inspiration from this lion and created a new one in 2009. His was a bit more advanced. It could also move its jaws and sway its tail. Still, it kept Da Vinci’s secret compartment containing a fleur-de-lis.

Final Thoughts

These 4 historical robots prove that people were intent on creating automatons way before our time. The artificial intelligence robot, while not as advanced as you would expect today, is still impressive if we consider the time periods in which these robots were built. We hope you found this brief reminiscence as captivating and entertaining as we did.

Image Source: AdvisoryHQ