This Day in History – September 25th, 1906

Leonardo_Torres_QuevedoIn 1903, Spanish engineer, mathematician, and engineer Leonardo Torres y Quevedo presented the Telekino at the Paris Academy of Science, accompanied by a brief, and making an experimental demonstration. In the same year, he obtained a patent in France, Spain, Great Britain, and the United States. The Telekino consisted of a robot that executed commands transmitted by electromagnetic waves. It constituted the world’s second publicly demonstrated apparatus for radio control, after Nikola Tesla’s Patented “Teleautomaton”, and was a pioneer in the field of remote control. On September 25th, 1906, in the presence of the Spanish King and before a great crowd, Torres successfully demonstrated the invention in the port of Bilbao, guiding a boat from the shore, in what is considered the birth of the remote control.

Later, he would try to apply the Telekino to projectiles and torpedoes, but had to abandon the project for lack of financing. In 2007, the prestigious Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) dedicated a Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing[6] to the Telekino, based on the research work developed at Technical University of Madrid by Prof. Antonio Pérez Yuste, who was the driving force behind the Milestone nomination.

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