Rajko Tomović

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Rajko Tomović
Rajko Tomovic.jpg
Born(1919-11-01)1 November 1919
Died30 May 2001(2001-05-30) (aged 81)
Known formultifunctional hand prosthesis, CER-10 computer, Repet.Dif.Analyzer RDA
Awardsthe National 7 July Award, the AVNOJ Award
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics, Robotics
InstitutionsInstitute "Mihajlo Pupin" and ETF

Rajko Tomović (1919-2001) was a Serbian scientist and he worked programs in robotics, information technologies in medicine, bio-medical engineering, rehabilitation engineering, artificial organs, and many other important disciplines that are reaching maturity today. The first artificial hand with five fingers in the world was made in 1963. years, in Belgrade. He was a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU).[1]


Rajko Tomović was born in Baja, Hungary, in 1919.[2] He started his undergraduate education at the Department for Electro-Mechanical Engineering of the Technical University of Belgrade in 1938. World War II dramatically changed his life, but he found the strength and graduated in 1946 with excellence. After graduation he started his extremely productive career in developing and fine-tuning scientific and cultural collaboration. With his extraordinary language skills, and excellent over-all education he built a communication at the highest scientific level with the colleagues from Soviet Union, European countries, and North America. Rajko Tomović received a doctorate in technical sciences from the Academy of Sciences of Serbia in 1952. Rajko Tomović started developing his science in the Institute for Nuclear Sciences Vinča in 1950. His main interests during the "Vinca period" were analog computers, and he greatly contributed to first analog, digital and hybrid computers ever built in Vinča.

Robotic science[edit]

His interests and energy moved him to the Institute “Mihajlo Pupin” in 1960. While working at the Pupin Institute, he started a very strong research in the field of anthropomorphic robotics. In 1962 Rajko Tomović joined the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade at the Department for Automatic Control. While at the University Rajko started programs in robotics, information technologies in medicine, bio-medical engineering, rehabilitation engineering, artificial organs, and many other important disciplines that are reaching maturity today. The first artificial hand with five fingers in the world was made in 1963. year, precisely in Belgrade. It was made an academician Rajko Tomovic associates. This so-called Belgrade's hands now in the Museum of robotics in Boston, and the Museum of robotics in Moscow is the first machine designed for walking disability in 1972., also in Belgrade.[3] It is the so-called external skeleton. Handicraft is academics Miomira Vukobratović and his team. Rajko Tomović retired from off- cia1 duties at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, yet he never stopped being engaged in various projects, student supervisions at both the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and in the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Serbia SANU developing new initiatives, and educating young researchers.[4] Rajko Tomović spent time in the U.S. contributing greatly to the development of new views and methods in robotics, biomedical engineering, and computer sciences. During this period he built very strong lifelong lasting cooperation with scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and many other research institutions. His contacts and communication spread over Canada, the U.S., the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and many other countries. It is striking that anybody who has contacts with people from the World of Science would be asked about Rajko Tomović when mentioning Engineering and Belgrade University. It is difficult to find a research institution involved in robotics, rehabilitation engineering, and computer sciences that in some way was not connected to Rajko Tomović. He was a chief of project CER-10, the first Serbian digital computer from 1960.

Academy of Science memberships[edit]

Based in his research results and contribution to the science he was elected to be a member of the Vojvodina Academy of Science and Arts (VANU), and after integration a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU). He was also elected to be an external member of the Slovenian Academy of Academy of Sciences and arts (SAZU). Rajko Tomović was decorated with the highest state medals and awards for his specific, yet also general contributions. He received the National 7Ih July Award, the AVNOJ Award, and much recognition for his research and society work.

Social and cultural activities[edit]

In parallel with his scientific work Rajko Tomović was very active and effective in his social and cultural activities. He was one of the founders of the Yugoslav Committee for Electronics, Telecommunication, Automatics and Nuclear Sciences (ETAN), Yugoslav Society for Computers, Yugoslav Society for Biomedical Engineering, Center for Multidisciplinary Studies of the University of Belgrade, Center for Strategic Social and Technical Planning in Novi Sad, and many other institutions. He was member of various high-level state organizations and recognized member of the only political party in Yugoslavia.


Picture of the designers group of CER.10, the first Serbian digital computer at M.P. Institute Belgrade.
Academician dr Rajko Tomovic, ETF Belgrade

During the period 1955 to 1990 he succeeded to start and finalize several original, pioneering sciantific and technological developments. Many of these activities received very strong attention around the world. His book about High-speed Analog Computers (with Walter J.Karplus) published in 1962 introduced the electronic device systems to constitute a repetitive (analog) computer facility and was the first monograph ever in the world. It was published in a short interval in French, English, and Russian languages. He is the author of the first monograph dealing with sensitivity theory together with Dr. Miomir Vukobratović. Rajko Tomović is the author of the text-book Nonlinear Systems (1983) with Prof. Srdjan Stanković and the book about Limitations of the Formal System Theory (1979) with Walter J. Karplus. In parallel, he was always trying to understand better the nature, and apply what he learned. One of the best-known results that came from this thinking was the multifunctional hand prosthesis, developed in collaboration with Prof. Miodrag Rakić that is now exposed in the Museum of Robotics in Boston although built in sixties. In the eighties together with the colleagues from.the Universities of Novi Sad and Belgrade, Rajko Tomović promoted the Belgrade NSC robot hand being at the time one of the most power robot grasping devices. In the early eighties Rajko Tomović was leading a project for +e Veterans Administration Center, New York City, that resulted in the only powered and externally controlled self-contained transfemoral prosthesis that reached the world market as a product of the biggest world manufacturers of artificial legs. Rajko Tomović participated and contributed in many designs and development projects including the first analog and digital computers for the Yugoslav army and defense systems. As a world-recognized expert and leader in the field, Rajko Tomović was frequently invited to chair, teach, instruct, consult, and contribute in other ways at various universities, international meetings, specialized workshop, major funding agencies, etc. Rajko Tomović was constantly involved in the organization of scientific and engineering meetings, summer schools, and workshops that took place in Yugoslavia. These meetings were for a longtime a unique opportunity for East and West to meet. Yugoslavian meetings became places where scientists from the Soviet Union and other eastern countries met with their colleagues from North America and Western Europe. The series of 10 triennial international meetings "Advances in External Control of Humans Extremities", known as Dubrovnik meetings, resulted in 10 historic Proceedings that are used as the basic reference for the work in the rehabilitation of humans with an impact on movement. The best proofs of the extraordinary abilities of Rajko Tomović are his students and collaborators. He supervised many master and doctoral students. The students of Rajko Tomović became world known experts in their fields, and they are spread at almost every point of the planet. The Automatic Control of Belgrade is well recognized by the peers, and much of this recognition is linked to the name Tomović. In 1984, Dr. Norman Kaplan, Director of the National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., gave an interesting, very valid depiction of the Rajko's personality; he said that Rajko is a renaissance scientist. Dr. Tomović authored more than 150 scientific papers; most of those in peer reviewed journals. He was and is frequently cited, and some of his works will be cited for a long time because they opened some important developments. He (with Drs.Dejan B. Popović and Richard B. Stein) published the first monograph in the world about nonanalytic methods for motor control in 1995. He wrote many invited chapters in the encyclopedia and other books dealing with robotics, biomedical engineering, and automatics.


  • Technology and Society[5]
  • High Speed Analogue Computers
  • Introduction to Nonlinear Automatic Control Systems
  • Sensitivity analysis of dynamic systems (McGraw-Hill electronic sciences series)
  • Nonanalytical Methods for Motor Control
  • General Sensitivity Theory (Modern analytic and computational methods in science and mathematics)[6]

Personal life[edit]

Dr. Tomović was an active in the political life of Yugoslavia, yet mostly working as an advisor and consultant. Throughout his life Dr. Tomović never compromised his cosmopolitan ideas on integration of things that are good and positive. There is no doubt that the last decade of his life and of the 20th century affected his life, and this short biography of the Academician Professor Dr. Rajko Tomović would be incomplete if it would not include one totally different yet important dimension. Rajko was always able to find a right measure between his scientific and other activities that are characteristic only for good teachers and philanthropist. Rajko succeeded to prolong the day and night; thus, find the time for studying arts and philosophy. The piano and his collection of CDs were Rajko's runaway places; he was obsessed with good sounds of the classic music. The little pillow in front of the CD player and old gramophone, large collection of CDs and LP records, and headphones that can eliminate daily noise were inevitable parts of the living room furniture. Reading of the mathematics and philosophy classics was the source of much inspiration that Rajko contributed to the world. It was always interesting to see and talk to Rajko in the morning after he just finished another chapter or article written by some pioneer in mathematics or computer science, physics, philosophy, neuroscience, or some other visionary discipline. In parallel, Rajko was passionate in sports. Rajko was always involved actively in playing sports, especially the rowing and tennis. Rajko had the second best result in rowing in his age group for several years, and he constantly wanted to improve his performance while rowing with professional youngsters that could be his grand children on the Sava River around his famous Ada Ciganlija Island. His hobby was tennis. His roots are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, village Dobromani, where he owned house,.


  1. ^ "IEEE Xplore Download". Ieeexplore.ieee.org. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  2. ^ Biography of Rajko Tomović Retrieved 28.8.2014.
  3. ^ "Koliko vredi srpska diploma u svetu". www.politika.rs. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  4. ^ "Pajko Tomobnh" (PDF) (in Russian). Sanu.ac.rs. Retrieved 2013-10-14.
  5. ^ United Nations University, Project on Socio-Cultural Development Alternatives in a Changing World, Sub-project on the Transformation of the World, 1980. Retrieved 2013-10-13.
  6. ^ "Rajko Tomovic: Books". Amazon.com. 1966-09-02. Retrieved 2013-10-13.