1962 – “Emily” the White-line Follower – Bernard Dickman (American)
Emily – The Robot with a One Track Mind by Bernard Dickman
Popular Electronics March 1962
The strange-looking object following the white line is named "Emily." She may look like a dishpan with eyes, but this "Electro-Mechanical Inebriated Ladybug" is actually an electronic robot of the simplest type. Though equipped with only one "sense organ" (a photocell), two "muscles" (a pair of motors), and a very rudimentary "brain" (a transistor and relay), she's capable of some extremely intelligent (if slightly inebriated) behaviour.
The ladies of our own species are often said to have "one-track minds." In Emily's case, however, this is literally true. Set her down on a white line and she'll doggedly follow it, regardless of how many times it twists and turns. Though her weaving gait suggests that she's a "little under the influence," she always reaches the end. This isn't all Emily can do, though; blink a flashlight beam at her and she'll follow you to the ends of the earth.
See full article in pdf here.