Archive for the ‘Early Service Robots’ Category

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.

Early brochure on the Floorbot V4.

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.

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

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


Selected Originals – ROYALTY SEE FLOWER SHOW

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.

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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1958 – Voice-controlled Lawn Mower – Concept (American)

Image Source: Corbis.

Electricity may do your yard work. One day, by simply speaking into a microphone, you may be able to command an electric "gardener" to mow the grass, cultivate the flower beds, trim the hedge and do other yard work. And all the while you'll be relaxing in the shade.

Power companies build for your future electric living

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1959 – Lawn Mower (Concept) – Arthur Radebaugh (American)

Arthur Radebaugh was a futurist illustrator, airbrush artist, and industrial designer. He produced a significant body of work for automotive industry advertisements. He was noted for his artistic experimentation with fluorescent paint under black light, an interest that stemmed from his design work for the U.S. Army. From 1958 to 1962 he produced the syndicated Sunday comic strip "Closer Than We Think!".

from wiki

see also

Futuristic concept for Bohn from 1945.


Power lawn-mowers of tomorrow will combine real beauty with utility. Lawn-mowers are only one of the products that will be made more attractive and more readily useable, through the use of light alloys in substitution for much heavier metals. Aluminum and magnesium alloys combine lightness with great strength and will supply the answer to many problems in design. Consider Bohn as the source to which you can come for advice and assistance in helping plan your new products to meet post-war requirements.

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1950 – REO Remote-control Lawn Mower – Paul Rosenberg (American)

Source: Life Magazine, 26 Jun 1950

It can cut a lawn or a figure 8, all by one-watt remote control

Partly to sound out the market and partly because it just sounded like a good lazy-summerafternoon idea, Chief Engineer Paul Rosenberg of Reo Motors' lawn mower division has for the last 18 months been developing a remote-control lawn mower. It consists of a 25-inch motor-driven blade with a radio receiver controlling a hydraulic mechanism. The transmitter, powered by storage battery, broadcasts a one-watt signal up to 500 yards, enabling a man to sit comfortably in his back yard while his mower whirls around the lawn at 3 mph, making 360deg. turns when necessary and cutting to within 1 1/4 inches of obstacles. One obstacle the mower will face if and when marketed is its probable price: around $850. But as an added attraction it will have a snowplow attachment which could permit sidewalk plowing from a blazing hearthside.

REMOTE CONTROL UNIT consists of 25-pound receiver mounted on the mower, 20-pound transmitter with turn-control knob and start-and-stop key.

SHARP TURNS of which the Reo mower is capable are shown in this repetitive flash night picture, during which it was sent around a triangular course.

R. E. OLDS, 86 years old, former chairman of Reo, who gave his name to two cars—Reo and Oldsmobile, delightedly tries mower on his lawn in Lansing.

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