1926 – Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace) – Fritz Kahn (German-Jew)

Fritz Kahn (1888–1968) was a German-Jewish gynaecologist and science author who developed a sophisticated graphic analogy between anatomy and machinery. His work was widely distributed in Germany until it was banned under the Nazi regime. He continued to publish, relocating to Palestine and Paris before escaping to the USA with the help of Albert Einstein. In a later work from 1943, he describes the relationship between man and machine: “[they] exhibit far-reaching similarities. Both derive their energy from the combustion of carbon, which they obtain from plants. Man, the weaker machine, utilizes fresh plants for fuel, while the locomotive, a stronger machine, uses fossilized plants in the form of coal.”

fritz kahn 1930 poster x640 1926   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace)   Fritz Kahn (German Jew)

Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace). Stuttgart, 1926. Chromolithograph. National Library of Medicine.

Kahn’s modernist visualization of the digestive and respiratory system as "industrial palace," really a chemical plant, was conceived in a period when the German chemical industry was the world’s most advanced.

fritz kahn graphic 7 x640 1926   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace)   Fritz Kahn (German Jew)

Early info-graphics of the mind drawing influences from the scientific and artistic movements of the time

Fritz Kahnlg x600 1926   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace)   Fritz Kahn (German Jew)


man modified fishlock cover x640 1926   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace)   Fritz Kahn (German Jew)

Cover of David Fishlock's book, Man Modified.

fritz kahn x640 1926   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace)   Fritz Kahn (German Jew)

Fritz Kahn (1888-1968).
 
There is a new book by Taschen on Kahn, based on an earlier exhibition in 2010. See The Times of Israel article here.

See the timeline on Cyborgs and Bionics here.


 

1991/2002 – Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners – G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

The FloorBot is a robotic floor cleaner for the home. It's designed to automatically clean the floor while you relax, get a little exercise, or just head off for work. Press the start button and the FloorBot cleans in logical laps while sensing and navigating any obstacles in the area. When the FloorBot has finished cleaning it simply turns off. The development is the culmination of years of work in software development and real world simulation, advanced electronic engineering and mechanical design, 3D CAD design, and patented sensor systems. This was aided by comprehensive market research.

The core technology of the FloorBot is a highly flexible, platform independent navigation system, designed to suit many application requirements.
Intelligent mobile robotic appliances based on the FloorBot system could be further extended to provide a telepresence in the work area via integration with a vision system, and could be remotely controlled via Internet or BlueTooth technologies.

For full article see here.

floorbotics v4 robot vacuum cleaner 1991/2002   Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners   G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

floorbotics brochure b W 1991/2002   Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners   G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

Early brochure on the Floorbot V4.

floorbot r7 c3 1991/2002   Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners   G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

A later model intelligent vacuum cleaner, the VR-8.


The Monash Museum of Computing History, Monash University have a Floorbotic Robotic Vacuum Cleaner on display at its Caulfield campus in Melbourne, Australia.

floorbotics robot monash 4 x640 1991/2002   Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners   G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

floorbotics robot monash 2 x640 1991/2002   Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners   G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

floorbotics robot monash 1 x640 1991/2002   Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners   G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

floorbotics robot monash 3 x640 1991/2002   Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners   G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)


Patent Info – Navigational control apparatus and method for autonomus vehicles . See full patent details here.

Publication number US5321614 A
Publication date Jun 14, 1994
Filing date Jun 6, 1991
Inventors Guy T. D. Ashworth

See other early remote-controlled and robotic vacuum cleaners and floor scrubbers in timeline here.


 

1925 – Teledactyl Remote Manipulator – Hugo Gernsback (German/American)

1925 feb science and invention sm cover 1925   Teledactyl Remote Manipulator   Hugo Gernsback (German/American)

I'm having difficulty in obtaining a copy of this magazine, so I have used the original article and illustrations from Matt Novak's wonderful Paleofuture/Smithsonian article here.

Hugo Gernsback’s device was called the "radio teledactyl” and would allow doctors to not only see their patients through a viewscreen, but also touch them from miles away with spindly robot arms. He effectively predicted telemedicine, though with a weirder twist than we see implemented in 2012.

Source: Science and Invention, February, 1925: Original illustrations by Geo Wall.

The Teledactyl (Tele, far; Dactyl, finger — from the Greek) is a future instrument by which it will be possible for us to “feel at a distance.” This idea is not at all impossible, for the instrument can be built today with means available right now. It is simply the well known telautograph, translated into radio terms, with additional refinements. The doctor of the future, by means of this instrument, will be able to feel his patient, as it were, at a distance….The doctor manipulates his controls, which are then manipulated at the patient’s room in exactly the same manner. The doctor sees what is going on in the patient’s room by means of a television screen.

1925 Feb science and invention doctor future sm 1925   Teledactyl Remote Manipulator   Hugo Gernsback (German/American)
The doctor of the future examines a patient (1925)

Quite impressively, the teledactyl was imagined as a sensory feedback device, which allowed the doctor to not only manipulate his instruments from afar, but feel resistance.

Here we see the doctor of the future at work, feeling the distant patient’s arm. Every move that the doctor makes with the controls is duplicated by radio at a distance. Whenever the patient’s teledactyl meets with resistance, the doctor’s distant controls meet with the same resistance. The distant controls are sensitive to sound and heat, all important to future diagnosis.

Gernsback positions his predictions about telemedicine within the rapidly changing communications landscape of the 1920s:

As our civilization progresses we find it more and more necessary to act at a distance. Instead of visiting our friends, we now telephone them. Instead of going to a concert, we listen to it by radio. Soon, by means of television, we can stay right at home and view a theatrical performance, hearing and seeing it. This, however is far from sufficient. As we progress, we find our duties are multiplied and we have less and less to transport our physical bodies in order to transact business, to amuse ourselves, and so on.

The busy doctor, fifty years hence, will not be able to visit his patients as he does now. It takes too much time, and he can only, at best, see a limited number today. Whereas the services of a really big doctor are so important that he should never have to leave his office; on the other hand, his patients cannot always come to him. This is where the teledactyl and diagnosis by radio comes in.

It wasn’t just the field of medicine that was going to be revolutionized by this new device. Other practical uses would involve seeing and signing important documents from a distance:

1925 Feb science and invention radio teleview sm1 1925   Teledactyl Remote Manipulator   Hugo Gernsback (German/American)
The man of 1975 signs important documents by videophone (1925)

Here we see the man of the future signing a check or document at a distance. By moving the control, it goes through exactly the same motions as he would in signing he document. He sees what he is doing by means of the radio teleview in front of him. The bank or other official holds the document in front of a receiving teledactyl, to which is attached a pen or other writing instrument. The document is thus signed.

This diagram also explained how the teledactyl worked:

1925 Feb science and invention howto 1925   Teledactyl Remote Manipulator   Hugo Gernsback (German/American)
Diagram explaining how the teledactyl was supposed to work (1925)

Interestingly, we’d see this idea for telemedicine pop up again in 1990s concept videos from AT&T and Pacific Bell.

A year after this article was released Gernsback began publishing Amazing Stories, the first magazine that was devoted entirely to science fiction. Gernsback published a number of different magazines throughout his life, but I’d argue that none were filled with more rich, retro-future goodness than Science and Invention.


See about Waldoes here.

See other Teleoperators here.


 

1959 – Webb Radio-controlled Electric Lawnmower – Vic Rigby (British)

ROBOT GARDENING

 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

Selected Originals – ROYALTY SEE FLOWER SHOW

 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

1583.19 | Selected Originals – ROYALTY SEE FLOWER SHOW (1:41:04:00 – 1:45:47:00) 28/05/1959

Robot lawn mower
Selected originals (offcuts, selected scenes, out-takes, rushes) for story "Royalty See Flower Show" 59/43.

Various shots Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) and Princess Margaret. Various shots Princess Margaret looking at remote control lawn mower. Various shots Queen and Duke arriving at show, they are greeted by a couple, the Queen pecks them on the cheek as if they were old friends. Various shots Queen and Duke looking at robot lawnmower in action. Otherwise, rest of shots similar to newsreel story.


heucheraholics webb alfred elleray RHS Chelsea 1959 x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

Pensioner Alfred Ellery controlling the Webb Radio-Controlled Lawnmower at the 1959 Chelsea Flower Show. 

He Waited 76 Years For This: A Radio-controlled lawn mower was demonstrated at the high point show of the British gardening year, London's fashionable Chelsea Flower Show. Photo Shows 78-year-old Chelsea Pensioners Alfred Ellery, feet up, puffing a cigarette makes a gardeners dream come true. The lawn mower, speed two miles an hour, travels where he wishes at the touch of a Switch. Note: Chelsea Pensioners, a familiar London sight in their red coats, live at the Chelsea Hospital, founded in 1682 by Charles II so that old Soldiers could end their days in comfort and peace.

heucheraholics webb RHS Chelsea 1959 x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

RADIO-CONTROLLED LAWN MOWER ON SHOW AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW. [26 May 1959]

The first radio-controlled lawn mower will be shown to the public for the first time at tomorrow's opening of the Chelsea Flower Show. 
                                     
The mower travels at nearly 2 m.p.h., has a 14-inch cutting width and makes 60 clips to the yard.  It has independent "four-point" suspension to ride undulations in the lawn.   Its 1/3 h.p. 24-volt battery operated motor is remotely controlled by two switches on the user's radio transmitter, The effective range of radio control is up to a mile.

ABOVE PHOTO SHOWS:-  The Webb Radio-controlled electric lawnmower, pictured at today's private view of the Chelsea Flower Show.

pamela weller webb mower 2643955 x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

Pamela Webber controlling the Webb Radio-controlled electric lawnmower at the Chelsea Flower Show, 1959.

robot gardening 91 19 11 x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)


paris 60 107411422 x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

Webb lawnmower [tondeuse radiocommandé] at the Miracle Garden Exhibition in Paris, 1960.

paris 60 107417475 x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

Webb R C lawnmower 1960 1 x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

H.R.H. The Duke of Windsor at the Miracle Garden Exhibition in Paris, 1960.

Webb R C lawnmower RCMEsep60 1   Copy x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

Vic Rigby was the electronician working for E.D. Ltd who developed the R/C and electrical equipment.

Webb R C lawnmower RCMEsep60 3   Copy x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

Webb R C lawnmower RCMEsep60 2   Copy x640 1959   Webb Radio controlled Electric Lawnmower   Vic Rigby (British)

See full pdf here of the Radio Control Models & Electronics, Sept 1960 article.


See other early remote-controlled and robotic lawn mowers here.


 

1948 – Ueno Zoo Robotized “Monkey Train” – Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

 1948   Ueno Zoo Robotized Monkey Train   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Osaru densha monkey train robot aizawa detail x640 1948   Ueno Zoo Robotized Monkey Train   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

The monkey with the robot engineer. There appears to be a photo-electric cell mounted on the front. Maybe this is the 'robot' safeguard required for safe operation.

aizawa 1948 book 0001 x640 1948   Ueno Zoo Robotized Monkey Train   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Jiro Aizawa was the inventor of the robotized "Monkey Train" at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo. Its been siad that he also patented the train, but I have not been able to locate that patent.

 
Source: Japanese Wartime Zoo Policy: The Silent Victims of World War by Mayumi Itoh
Children's Zoo and "Monkey Train"
Ueno Zoo also opened a children's zoo for the first time in Japan in April 1948. It also began the "Monkey Train" in October of the same year in order to attract visitors, given the paucity of popular animals among children. The Monkey Train, with a simian conductor carrying children in an open train, became an institution at the zoo (the handle was actually controlled electrically and was safe). Hayashi, the "idea man," designed this program and supervised the actions of the female crab-eating macaque as the conductor. This popular attraction continued until June 1974 when the zoo accepted criticisms, domestic and foreign, that chaining the crab-eating macaque to the train for over an hour, making it perform as a conductor, ran counter to the fundamental mandate of the Animal Protection and Control Law that Japan had legislated in 1973. At any rate, owing to Koga's leadership and Hayashi's creativity, Ueno Zoo recovered in 1951 almost to its wartime peak in 1940, registering 1,196 specimens of 232 species.'

Source: Far Eastern Economic Review, September 27, 1974- Page 13

 Should monkeys drive trains?
Since 1948, happy trained monkeys have been regularly driving a three-car train around a 164-metre track inside Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, carrying an annual average of more than one million passengers, mostly children. They pull a lever, when the human station-master whistles, maintains an even speed with a hairy paw on the brakes, bring the train to a smooth halt at the end of the line, and spring out to salute the dismounting passengers. The working schedule for each monkey is less than two hours, with a union lay-off of two hours.  The zoo authorities insist that the monkeys which are taught to drive are happier than caged monkeys, which jabber excitedly and point enviously as the train speeds by and the driver waves to them with tolerant superiority.
However, the Japan Animal Welfare Society (JAWS) rejoined the Japanese SPCA in protesting against the unique practice. A new Japanese law, JAWS says, demands that "animals should be handled in a proper manner with respect to the natural habits." Jiro Aizawa, chief director of the Japanese Children's Culture Research Institute, who invented and patented the monkey's train, opposes the animal lovers' campaign. "These adults", he argues logically, "must be persons who have never experienced the joys of playing with toys."


The new "Monkey Train" was based on the then new Bullet Train.  The monkey was now only a "passenger".

 1948   Ueno Zoo Robotized Monkey Train   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

 1948   Ueno Zoo Robotized Monkey Train   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

December, 1971.

ueno monkey train 2 1948   Ueno Zoo Robotized Monkey Train   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Due to public criticism, Ueon's "Monkey Train" was stopped in June of 1974.


The idea of using primates in attractions was still alive in 1950, although the orangutan is not actually driving in this case.
ape engineer mech illus nov 1950 x640 1948   Ueno Zoo Robotized Monkey Train   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)
Mechanix Illustrated, November 1950.
Ape Engineer Ling Wong is a baby orangutan at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. Placidly wearing an engineer's cap, gloves and goggles, Ling squats on the Diesel engine of the "Zoo Line," the kids' own train, and it would be hard to say who's having the most fun. Ling used to work for the Chimpanzeelvania Line.

See Aizawa's other Robot trains here.

See all the known early Humanoid Robots including Aizawa's Robots here.