Friday, 25 September 2020


Prolific inventor and Esperanto advocate Leonardo Torres y Quevedo (*1852 – †1936), probably best remembered for his Aerocar that is still in use for ferrying passengers above Niagara Falls, was responsible for a whole string of innovations across several disciplines including an analytic machine in the style of Babbage’s difference engine though utilising electromagnetic components rather than mechanical ones, improved designed for dirigibles, a chess-playing automaton (El Ajedrecista) and perhaps most significantly was a pioneer in the field of remote control. On this day in 1906 in the port of Bilbao in front of a royal audience and many other spectators, Torres-Quevedo made a public demonstration of his experimental radio-controlled robot—called Telekino—in the form of a boat that he guided from shore. King Alphonso XIII also was given a turn guiding the boat with passengers at distance.