Patent number: 5845540 Filing date: Sep 25, 1997 Issue date: Dec 8, 1998
See full patent here.
A pair of connected joints is provided in a master-slave robotic system each operated by a plurality of force-imparting means. Such force imparting means for the second joint supported on a member controlled by the first joint imparts force to a member controlled by the second joint at an acute angle. A third joint is used with the flexible drive tape partly internal thereto.
TeleOperator/telePresence System / Concept Verification Model (CVM)
The TeleOperator/telePresence System/Concept Verification Model (TOPS/CVM), was developed as the successor to the 'Greenman'. The TOPS/CVM consisted of a 3-DOF (degrees-of-freedom) head, a 3-DOF torso and a dexterous, force-reflective 9- DOF hand coupled to a force-reflective 7-DOF arm.
Fig. 1 TOPS from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego
The operation of TOPS was described as follows:
"… The operator controls the hand/arm combination through an exoskeletal controller, while the torso and head motions are controlled by the operator's torso and head motions. …. … The viewing system provides 1023-line monochrome video to the TOPS/CVM operator and has a 70-degree field of view with full stereo overlap. … … The operator interface allows the TOPS/CVM operator to easily control all major TOPS/CVM functions and modes. This is done through the use of voice control and graphic overlay feedback. The second major interface, the supervisor interface, allows technical test personnel intimate access to all TOPS/CVM sensing and actuation systems."
"Greenman" (1983-1988) – The first anthropomorphic (human configured) manipulator developed at SSC San Diego was the Remote Presence Demonstration System, nicknamed "Greenman". It was assembled in 1983 using MB Associates arms and a SPAWAR Systems Center San Diego-developed torso and head. It had an exoskeletal master controller for the human operator's torso, arms, and head. Its vision system consisted of two 525-line video cameras each having a 35 degree field of view and video camera eyepiece monitors mounted in an aviator's helmet.
Greenman provided SSC San Diego with valuable experience in teleoperation and telepresence issues and designs. Even with its simple claw hands and no force or tactile feedback, novice operators could readily perform manipulative tasks without training. However, it clearly showed that dextrous hands, force feedback, and a high-resolution vision system were necessary for diver-equivalent work capability. Also the Greenman was not designed for in-water use, and demonstration of in-water work was deemed necessary to fully demonstrate the diver-equivalency concept. These shortcomings were later addressed in the TOPS project.
Thursday; 14 October 1971
Naval Anthropomorphic Teleoperator (NAT) developed by MBAssociates, San Ramon, California, under a joint Navy-NASA-AEC contract. Slave arm and 3-D TV system mounted on Tripod. Exoskeleton master controller worn by operator (Donald F. Adamski) to the right in the photograph.
Naval Anthropomorphic Teleoperator (NAT)
The kinematic arrangement is shown in Figure 3.2.2-7(c)[not shown] and the system is shown in more detail in Figure 3.2.2-8 above. It was developed by MBA over a nine month period under Navy funds administered by NASA/SNPO. It is an electro-mechanical-hydraulic-pneumatic hybrid 9 DOF man equivalent (dexterity, range of motion and strength) position servo controlled system incorporating proportional force feedback in the grip and step force feedback in the elbow. The master controller is a full motion exoskeleton. It was specifically designed for ordnance disposal and defuzing delicate submunitions. Contract design requirements included unusually smooth highly controlled dexterous action, the use of nonmagnetic materials, no radiated EMI, underwater operation, sandy beach and desert operation, high pantographic fidelity between master and slave, ruggedness and high reliability. Electric drives for this specific system were excluded on the basis of system reproduction cost, radiated EMI and magnetic materials. The exoskeleton is designed to readily fit 5 to 97 percentile men. It can be attached to a wall or chair.
The slave incorporates a semi-monocoque construction. As a consequence it is the first system capable of lifting more (20 lb. at any one joint) than it weighs (16 lb.). The grip is designed to accomplish extremely delicate and minute operations as well as handle spheres, cones and cylinders up to 7 inches in diameter and weighing up to 20 lb. The system further incorporates a design which readily allows the addition of a remote quick release for the claws and easy conversion to a reversible electric motor driven system (DC torque, gear reduction and ball screw actuator). Its kinematic arrangement (Figure 3.2.2-7(c) duplicates that of the human arm, except for the continuous grip roll beyond the wrist gimbal. Specifically designed for low cost in production WOK in quantities of 40 or more) using off-the-shelf commercially available components (where possible), the system has already established a new state-of-the-art in servo controlled teleoperator systems.
An interim performance demonstration was made for NASA, Navy, AEC and MIT personnel on 22 July 1971. Performance of the arm in grasping and lifting large 20 lb. test objects as well as threading a small household needle, handling raw eggs, removing and replacing nuts from bolts and replacing small electronic components from printed circuit boards, has earned the ARM the reputation of being the most advanced teleoperator system developed to date. The above tasks were done while viewing through a stereo TV system. The needle threading, trimpot adjustment and operational amplifier tasks could not be accomplished without the TV system stereo attachment.
Total system tests of the right arm were successfully accomplished in October 1971. These tests included sea water immersed operation at a depth of ~8m (25'), operation from -18°C (0°F) and 59°C (120° F), operation in sand storms. The dexterous tasks described above were repeated and more recently unlocking a padlock, removal and disarming a mock homemade bomb and defusing a buried (inert) standard mine were accomplished.
MBA used NAT in evaluation of teleoperator systems for NASA's then proposed Space Shuttle robotic arm.
New Industrial Boom Is Displayed by GE
Schenectady General Electric recently displayed the third member of its family of "Industrial manipulators," the Man-Mate CAM 1600 industrial boom for material handling.
The CAM 1600, like other Man-Mate booms, is designed to amplify the operator's strength and retain "human-like" dexterity by following his motions- According to GE officials, this line of industrial booms allows the operator to "feel" the material he handles and react instinctively to it with the ease of lifting a lightweight object by' hand. Basic to this "touch" feature, they said, is a Sens-A-Lift, electro-hydraulic servo control. system.
The CAM 1600 can handle loads up to a nominal capacity of 750 pounds, the capacity depending on the boom's reach and the load-gripper weight. The boom has a 22-foot horizontal reach and 15-foot vertical reach. It rotates on an axis of 300 degrees.
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The Man-Mate series is manufactured by the cybernetics automation and mechanization systems operation of GE's reentry and environmental systems division headquartered here. The line was recently transferred to the division to consolidate the CAM's technology of the company.
The Man-Mate CAM 1600 has been in production service for about 10 months at the General
Electric Appliance Park East in Columia, Md., according to Howard A. Brust, manager-industrial sales for the CAMS Operation.
"The boom is used to sort packaged electric ranges for delivery to the warehouse, transfer time for each being 15-20 seconds.
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The load gripper, or terminal device, is custom-designed to a customer's specific requirement and provides the function of a man's hand. Some terminal devices now in use include vacuum grippers, mechanical jaws and carton cover lifts. Depending on the terminal device used, the boom can handle such diverse objects as large sheets of plate glass or metal, red-hot metal forgings, automobile transmissions or engines and bulky containers," Brust explained.
"Regarding the recent emphasis on personal safety, the Man-Mate offers a means to remove the man from direct contact with the object to be manipulated, particularly where the function cannot be automated for technical reasons. It's also no problem to provide the operator an air-conditioned cab," he added.
Ralph Mosher, then aged 49, with a version of Man-Mate.
Source: Life Magazine 2 May 1969, p36.
Source: Robots: Fact, Fiction and Prediction – Jasia Reichardt.
Man-Mate was made in several versions to handle different loads. The model above was the larger machine, probably with a lifting capacity of 10,000 lb. The Man-Mate 1600 had a smaller capacity of 1600 lb.
Of all the GE CAM prototypes, it appears the range of Man-Mates was the main one to stay in production, even being licenced to AST in Germany (see above).
Western Space and Marine, which was founded by a GE engineer who worked on the Man-Mate line in the 1970s, bought the rights to the Man-Mate technology and continued to develop and improve it. The giant robotic arm, which uses force-feedback to allow the operator to lift loads up to 10,000 lbs, is today used mostly in the forging and foundry industries.
An old Man-Mate "For Sale" a while back.
One of the earliest CAM developments was a simple boom. It can be seen in the two images below.
Apparently the CAM technology was further deployed in these manipulator arms developed for the research submarine, Aluminaut.