Archive for the ‘Teleoperators’ Category

1985 – Nuclear Maintenance Robot “AMOOTY” – Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

amooty toshiba 85c x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

1985 – Nuclear Inspection Robot "AMOOTY" climbing stairs in a mock-up of a nuclear power plant.

Mooty 78 x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

Before AMOOTY there was MOOTY. No manipulator arm here, just vision and star-wheel propulsion.

amooty 9 deg x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

Text Source: Inside The Robot Kingdom, Frederik L. Schodt, 1988

If cleverly designed, a robot on modified wheels or tank treads can still have considerable maneuverability. Separate from the ART project, three of the ARTRA members—Mitsubishi, Toshiba, and Hitachi—have been building their own mobile robots for nuclear power plants. Hitachi and Mitsubishi have in the past produced experimental models with modified tank treads that either bend in the middle or reconfigure themselves for stair climbing. Toshiba has created a wheel-based design.
Near Yokohama, inside a mockup of a nuclear reactor that contains stairs, valves, and ladders, Toshiba has experimented with traditional crawler-type robots and even a robot that does nothing but climb ladders. Its current pride and joy is AMOOTY, partly funded by MITI money. AMOOTY (an acronym based on the names of the six men at the University of Tokyo who designed it) is a semi-"intelligent" robot with a vision system enabling it to navigate—a TV camera allows it to recognize specially placed symbols in the reactor and a laser beam measures distance. Instead of a traditional industrial-robot-style manipulator, AMOOTY uses one that looks like an elephant trunk with nine degrees of freedom—two more than the human arm.
The most novel aspect of the AMOOTY robot is its means of locomotion. Inspired, perhaps, by the old stair-climbing carts used by Venetian porters, each "wheel" is in the shape of a clover, with each "petal" of the clover containing a smaller, independent wheel. On flat ground the clovers do not turn—only the smaller wheels do. To climb a staircase, or cross over an obstacle, however, the larger clovers themselves are rotated. AMOOTY still has many problems. Its power is supplied by a cable, its speed is too slow, and it is too heavy and large. But it is a stable design. When engineers in a remote command room (watching through television cameras, with robot positions in the reactor displayed on computer screens as both outline and three-dimensional shapes) put AMOOTY through its paces, the "wheeled" robot lurches right up the stairs.
Professor Hiroyuki Yoshikawa of the University of Tokyo Mechanical Engineering Department led the team that worked with Toshiba to design AMOOTY. "In Japan we tend to neglect research on the basic purpose of our design," he says. "My specialty is design theory, and I consider design to be the science of function. For AMOOTY, for example, we used functional analysis to research the concept of maintenance in nuclear reactors, and came up with a system of locomotion and an arm that does not exist in nature."


bioinspired amooty x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

The manipulator arm had 9 degrees-of-freedom.

amooty arm x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

japan amooty specs 85c x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

Brief technical specs of AMOOTY.

robot 0017 Copy x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

Interesting comment by Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, one of AMOOTY's developers:

Despite Japan’s leadership in robotics, nuclear plant operators assumed that robots would not be needed to deal with an accident. The Times quoted Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, an engineer and a former president of the University of Tokyo, as saying, "Instead, introducing them would inspire fear, they said. That’s why they said that robots couldn’t be introduced."

Even though Yoshikawa, a robotics expert, was among those who built a prototype called Mooty that was designed to handle high levels of radiation and navigate rubble that might be expected as a result of a nuclear accident, the robots were not put into production. Consequently, after the Fukushima accident, Japan had to rely "an emergency shipment of robots from iRobot, a company in Bedford, Mass., more famous for manufacturing the Roomba vacuum. On Friday, Tepco deployed the first Japanese-made robot, which was retrofitted recently to handle nuclear accidents, but workers had to retrieve it after it malfunctioned."

Yoshikawa told the Times that Japan’s rejection of robots designed to respond to nuclear accidents "was part of the industry’s overall reluctance to improve maintenance and invest in new technologies."

Source: Powermag

amooty 1980 x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

The only English written paper I found on AMOOTY is dated  1985. I don't  know how accurate the caption dates are on MOOTY (1978) and AMOOTY (1980).

T. Arai, H. Yoshikawa, M. Takano, S. Ozono, G. Odawara, T. Miyoshi, K. Shimo, and T. Mikami. A stair-climbing robot for maintenance: "AMOOTY". In Proc. of the Seminar on Remote Handling Equipment for Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities, pages 444-456, 1985.

toshiba aimars amooty x640 1985   Nuclear Maintenance Robot AMOOTY   Tokyo Uni / Toshiba (Japanese)

AMOOTY was further advanced by Toshiba and now called "AIMARS" – (Advanced Intelligent MAintenance Robot System).


See other early Teleoperators and Industrial Robots here.

See other early Walking-wheels here.


1958-62 – “Beetle” Mobile Manipulator – G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle ps 8 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

1958-62 – "Beetle" Mobile Manipulator.


Background Information:

remote manipulator pm sep56 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Popular Mechanic's (Sep 1956) drawing made by Frank Tinsley from designs by Lee A. Ohlinger of Northrop Aviation, Inc. of a robot mechanic for the proposed atomic-powered airplane, a star-crossed project that stumbled through 10 years and $500,000 without ever getting off the ground.

remote manip us3043488 pat x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

General Mills was one company that patented a 'Vehicle-Mounted Manipulator' in 1958 as its proposal for atomic-powered aircraft maintenance, amongst other purposes.

Publication number US3043448 A
Publication date Jul 10, 1962
Filing date Sep 19, 1958
Inventors Melton Donald F
Original Assignee Gen Mills Inc


Beetle announce x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Source: Missiles and Rockets, Volume 9, 1961

Robots EIJul61 model x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Beetle model x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

In 1961, GE's Beetle was under construction. The above few pictures show the model that was built beforehand.


beetle ps 4 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

World's Biggest Robot By Martin Mann
Fix an atomic rocket engine? Clean up spills of radioactivity? Rescue H-bomb victims? That's what the Beetle is for
 
THAT monster glaring at you from the left is the biggest robot ever made. It weighs 170,000 pounds in its double-thick rubber treads. It can punch its claw hand through a concrete wall or gently stretch stainless-steel arms to pluck an egg off the top of a house. 
There's a man inside. Safe within the lead-and-steel cab, he can work where no unarmored man could live -in the deadly radiation that atomic energy the most fearsome as well as the most promising invention of the century.    
He could roll right up to the atomic engine of a space rocket and delicately maneuvering those 16-foot arms, make adjustments. Or he could replace a broken part in the atomic boiler of a power plant. Or haul the fatally hot debris of a nuclear accident away to the burying ground. If H-bombs struck he could dash into the destruction zone to rescue injured people and scrape away the worst of the fallout dust. 
That's what this bizarre machine, named the Beetle, can do. When PS Chief Photographer Bill Morris and I first saw the Beetle, it wasn't doing anything but sitting on a hangar floor. They couldn't start the engine.

Beetle is first of a family of robots that will handle the hot jobs of the atomic age

beetle ps 7 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Robot with a bellyache. In four days it operated seldom, and then it limped more than ran. There was difficulty with the degassing circuit. A plug popped and hydraulic fluid squirted out (a dedicated engineer, Dutch-boy-like, stuck his finger in the hole). A diode blew, immobilizing one arm (a welder had dropped a tool into the control chassis). The auxiliary generator pooped out (brush trouble). It seemed that short circuits had their own short circuits (after all, there are 400 miles of wiring in the thing).
Such bugs are standard equipment in any complex new machine. They were cleaned up in a furious week of round- the-clock troubleshooting. But these setbacks were only the culmination of troubles that dogged the Beetle from the beginning. It was originally designed to be a robot mechanic for the atomic-powered airplane, a star-crossed project that stumbled through 10 years and $500,000 without ever getting off the ground. So the Beetle is an orphan. The Air Force, which paid $1,500,000 for it, still isn't sure exactly what it will be used for. Yet the need for machines of this type is so certain that the orphan is already fathering a whole family of newer robots. The next models, now on the drafting boards, will bear only a family resemblance to Papa Beetle. They'll be smaller and lighter, so they can be air-lifted where needed. Most will be remote-controlled–without a man inside you don't need all that heavy radiation shielding.  
The Beetle does carry a man. That makes it more versatile. But it also requires some of the most elaborate engineering ever lavished on any ground vehicle.

beetle ps 2 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)
It looks like a tank because the chassis is reworked from an Army M42 40-mm. gun carrier. A 500-hp supercharged Continental six speeds it along roads at 10 m.p.h., but there's also an electrical drive by which it creeps 15 feet per minute. It could wrench the concrete all off a test cell without grunting hard–drawbar pull is 85,000 pounds.
The cab, however, is nothing like a tank turret. It not only turns around and around, but moves up and down 15 feet on four stainless-steel legs (built like hydraulic auto lifts). These movements are precise but slow, for that cab weighs 50 tons.
The walls are made of foot-thick lead covered inside and out with half inch steel plates. The entrance hatch is a tight-fitting cork of lead directly over the operator's head. It alone weighs 7 1/2 tons.  
The hatch offers the only way in or out.

beetle ps 5 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)
Understandably, there are four separate mechanisms for raising it: the regular hydraulic system, the battery-powered hydraulic pump, a hand pump on the operator's left armrest, and hand pump outside the cab.
Even with the four independent emergency outs, the operators seat is still no place for a guy with claustrophobia. It's eerily  oppressive even when the hatch is wide open (I tried it). Those 50 tons of lead and steel form the most effective suit of armor ever wrapped around a single man. It cuts down atomic rays by 3,000 times. That means the operator could put in a full day's work where the radiation level was 3,000 roentgens per hour. Unshielded  exposure to such intense radiation would  probably kill him after 10 minutes.  
The man who will seal himself inside this massive machine is young, flamboyant Randall Scraper, who comes from Indiana, but is always called Tex. Scrapper is one of the most skilful of an elite corps of technicians, the professional manipulators.

These specialists perform the same work as any repairman–taking machines apart and putting them back together again. But there is one big difference: The manipulators work on machines too "hot" to get close to. They cannot touch their work or even their tools. Everything must be done at long range with mechanical arms.

No sense-no feeling. The arm is a stainless-steel boned, electrically muscled copy of human equipment: shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. The joints are superhuman: They spin around and around as well as bend. The hand is usually a two-fingered claw that can grasp and manoeuver parts or tools: but it can be snapped off and replaced by any of any specialized types–a socket-tipped finger, for instance.

The steel hand cannot feel, however, and that is a serious loss.You can't tell whether you are crushing something or holding it too loosley it will fall. (Dropping a nut or screw seldom matters: spilling a can of radioactive material could tie things up for weeks.)

Working with mechanical arrms is like playing the nickel-in-the-slot claw machine at an amusement park–and snaring the toy compass every time. It takes unusually sensitive coordination as well as icily calm concentrating–outwardly at least. Tex Scraper steadily chews gum and cigars, often both at once. But he possesses the supreme patience to devote eight hours to removing one nut from a bolt.

"I can do that,: Scraper drawls. "because I turn my ears off. People are always watching, trying to help. 'A little to the right,' they tell me. Well, it may be their right and my left. So I've taught myself to pay no mind. I don't even hear them."

The Beetle is worth its cost solely to take Scraper and his mechanical arms up close to the hot nuts and bolts. He gets safety and a clear view of the work (not perfect, yet better than television). But he pays for these advantages with total isolation.

The operator is sealed tight a mummy. There is barely space to wiggle a foot; standing or stretching is out of the question. His only direct connection to the outside world is an air intake.  
(The duct zigzags, like the entrance to a photographic darkroom so that radiation cannot "shine" in. Special filters are unnecessary because the air itself does not become radioactive.)    
A three-ton air conditioner keeps Scraper cosy (72 to 76 degrees, 60-percent humidity) even if the temperature outside plummets to 25 below or flames to 130 above zero. He talks to base by radio (two separate transmitter-receivers) or public-address system.    
There's even a microphone out front so that he can listen to the engine.

beetle ps 1 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)
A room with a view. Even more elaborate are the arrangements for looking out.
To go with the windows, there are two pairs of binoculars on swinging mounts; with them Scraper can read the scale of a standard micrometer gauging parts many feet distance.
There is a retracting, submarine-style periscope that rotates and tilts.
Finally there is closed-circuit TV. The screen sits between his legs. One camera is clipped to the cab, like a pencil in a man's breast pocket. It can be picked up and moved around by the mechanical arms. Two fixed cameras point to the rear so that Scraper can see what's going on behind him–outside rear-view mirrors are impractical.
The Beetle's cab even includes a few luxury accessories: a comfortable, power adjusted chair, ash tray, lighter. Most important of all, perhaps, is an oxygen bottle. If absolutely everything went wrong, it could sustain Scraper for eight hours. Presumably that would give time to haul the machine out of danger, cut the cab open, and free him.

Source: Popular Science, May 1962.


robot archive beetle x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Built by Jered Industries in Detroit for General Electric's Nuclear Materials and Propulsion Operation division, the Beetle was designed for the Air Force Special Weapons Centre, initially to service and maintain a planned fleet of atomic-powered Air Force bombers. According to declassified Air Force reports, work began on the 'Beetle' in 1959, and it was completed in 1961.

It has also been said [Halacy, "The Robots Are Here!", 1965] that the Beetle was built for NASA's "Project Rover", a nuclear rocket development program.


 Life Magazine, 4 May 1962 had a brief article and a couple of pictures of the Beetle.

tele manipulator x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Beetle showing its versitility by putting an egg on a spoon. Not bad given the size and types of grippers, and lack of tactile feedback to the operator.

USAF beetle robot x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

A startled look as the Beetle is spotted in the make-up mirror.

1961 ge beetle press 1 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle kennedy press 1 Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

President Kennedy (back to camera) having a look.

hjbeetle2 Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle modestobee22feb1962 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle 0012 Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Beetle a  0006 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle remote manipulator pic Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)


The Beetles' Arms and Hands

Beetle arm GM pat 2 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

The General Mills arm used in the Beetle is very similar to this arm descibed by patent US3247978. Karl Neumeier was one of General Mills engineers.

Beetle Gripper GM pat 1 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

The two-fingered hand is also described in the patent and is most likely the same if not very similar to that used on the Beetle's manipulator arms.

beetle manipulator hand x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

par hook hand beetle x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

General Mills Hook-and-anvil hand. {Image says PaR Systems, which was a spin-off from General Mills]

 

beetle life 14 General Mills x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

The General Mills logo on the manipulator arm.

beetle remote manipulator diag x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle remote manipulator dimensions x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle09 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

hotSoup13 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

hotSoup21 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

hotSoup22 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 diag2 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 diag3 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 diag x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 pic x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)


18nj0o4hj5ly4jpg x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)


In the Life Magazine article mentioned above, Getty-LIFE have a lot of images from that photo shoot. They appear in the photo gallery below.


See other early Teleoperators and Industrial Robots here.


1960 onwards – Miscellaneous Mobile Manipulator Arms

Lee mobile manipulator x640 1960 onwards   Miscellaneous Mobile Manipulator Arms

1960c – Lee Mobile Manipulator.

[I presently have no other information on this mobile manipulator.]

Lee M6a manipulator 1 x640 1960 onwards   Miscellaneous Mobile Manipulator Arms

The Lee Model 6A Manipulator was used on the mobile platform.

Lee M6a manipulator 2 x640 1960 onwards   Miscellaneous Mobile Manipulator Arms


centaure robot 1974c x640 1960 onwards   Miscellaneous Mobile Manipulator Arms

1974 Centaure Mobile Manipulator (French).centaure french x640 1960 onwards   Miscellaneous Mobile Manipulator Arms


CEE VEE vehicle x640 1960 onwards   Miscellaneous Mobile Manipulator Arms

The CEE-VEE Remote Mobile Vehicle with crane-like manipulator


See other early Space Teleoperators here.


1985 – ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle – (Belgian)

ACEC robot chassis x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

1985 – ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle

ACEC robot folded x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

ACEC robot m s x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

The manipulators are master-slave force feed-back and electrically driven.

ACEC track ep197020a1 x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

ACEC vehicle diag x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

The ACEC Vehicle for remote inspection and intervention has a minimal footprint when the treads are folded up and the manipulator arms are also folded.

ACEC vehicle x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)


ACEC arm ep197020a1 x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

Publication number EP0197020 A1
Publication date Oct 8, 1986
Filing date Mar 7, 1986
Priority date Mar 9, 1985
Inventors Raymond Pinsmaille, Costa Cabral Gaivao Luis Da, Alain Duchene, Dominique Colard
Applicant ACEC, Société Anonyme

ACEC config 0 ep197020a1 x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

ACEC config 1 ep197020a1 x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)

ACEC config ep197020a1 x640 1985   ACEC Mobile Inspection Vehicle   (Belgian)


See other early Space Teleoperators here.


1970-1 – CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator – Naval Undersea Research (American)

NEVADA CURV Mobile Manipulator c x640 1970 1   CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator   Naval Undersea Research (American)

1970-1 – CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator. Originally developed for the Cable-controlled Undersea Remove Vehicle (CURV), it was adapted for potential use as a mobile nuclear manipulator as seen here. Later it was used in Bezjcy's lab at the Jet Propulstion Laboratories (JPL), along with the JPL/Ames Arm.

CURV linkage 1 x640 1970 1   CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator   Naval Undersea Research (American)

CURV linkage x640 1970 1   CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator   Naval Undersea Research (American)

NEVADA CURV Mobile Manipulator x640 1970 1   CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator   Naval Undersea Research (American) 

The NEVADA/CURV system (Fig. 3) consists of the CURV Linkage Arm mounted on a turret which can be rotated and elevated relative to the carrier vehicle, two TV cameras for stereo viewing, a separate TV camera for monodisplay, and a remote control station with RF or hardwired link to the vehicle-arm-TV system. This hydraulically powered arm has six degrees-of-freedom, plus opening and closing the hand mechanism. The essential and novel feature of this manipulator is that it provides true linear extension by the use of an idler gear of twice the radius of a forearm drive gear. Extension is achieved by moving the upper arm with respect to the idler. The linkage action causes the course travelled by the wrist during extension to be a straight line passing through both the azimuth and elevation axes. Elevation is achieved by rotating the whole mechanism about the vertical axis of the idler. A double parallelogram added to the linkage eliminates wrist disorientation during changes in elevation and extension or the arm. Thus, the arm performs the function of positioning the hand, without disconnecting it, in a spherical coordinate system. The arm has a high section modulus which makes it rigid but lightweight. The existing prototype can handle loads corresponding to nearly 70% of the arms weight at 1.5 m extension. The control system is presently a single on-off control for each joint. Rate control servo for joystick control and position control servo for computer control are under construction. The equioment of the hand with tactile, proximity, and force/torque sensors is also in progress. Presently, the NEVADA/CURV system is used for hand-eye coordination experiments.
Source: JPL Technical Memorandum 33-721. Jan 1, 1975

See also paper by Uhrich, R., "CURV Linkage Manipulator," Naval Research Center. November 1971.


See other early Teleoperators here.