Cobots were invented by Northwestern University professors J. Edward Colgate and Michael Peshkin in 1996. Cobots were intitially called “programmable constraint machines”, highlighting their passive and safe method for allowing a computer to create a constraint surface for a human user (and optionally a payload) to follow. (reference)

Programmable Contraint Machines

A cobot or collaborative robot is a robot for direct physical interaction with a human operator, within a shared workspace.

What is a Cobot?

a “portmanteau” is a linguistic blend of words. examples include: cobot (collaborative and robot), smog (smoke and fog) and motel (motor and hotel).

It’s a "portmanteau"

The term “cobot” was coined by Brent Gillespie, a postdoc at Northwestern University at that time, in response to a lab competition to come up with a better name. He won $50. (reference)

He won $50 for the name "cobot"

The word robot comes from the Czech word ‘robota’ – meaning ‘forced work’

robot = ‘forced work’

Accuracy and repeatability are different measures. Repeatability is usually the most important criterion for a robot and is similar to the concept of ‘precision’ in measurement—see accuracy and precision in the glossary

Accuracy vs. Repeatability

In March of 2012, Amazon.com Inc acquired Kiva Systems Inc., a manufacturer of shipping center robots for the cost of $775 million. As of October of 2015, Amazon had 30,000 Kiva robots (now known as Amazon Robotics). As of May 2017, Amazon is utilizing over 80,000 automated robots in it’s warehouses globally with plans to add more.

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