Business brief: The Czech Republic's fou…

Business brief: The Czech Republic’s fourth Industrial Revolution

By Rut Bízková, Chairperson, Technology Agency of the Czech Republic

A Honda-made robot pays tribute to the bust of Czech writer Karel Čapek, father of the term “robot”, at the Czech National Museum in Prague ©Dan Materna/ MAFA / AFP

Innovation and creativity have long been hallmarks of the Czech Republic. After all, this is the country that invented the term “robot”, when Czech writer, Karel Čapek, coined the word back in 1921. Some 70 years later, one of the characters in the Oscar-nominated film, “The Elementary School”, by Jan and Zdeněk Svěrák, further defined Czech creativity: a handyman who manages a small electrical outlet, who is said to be able to make and repair “everything”.

This innate inventiveness is not just in stories, but has produced very real results. Soft contact lenses, for instance, were invented half a century ago by Otto Wichterle using a device based on a Meccano-like construction kit for children called Merkur.

Nowadays, it is often said that if you want to find out whether a new mobile phone application will work or is worth downloading, then you should test it in the Czech Republic.

Even in the 19th century…


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