Archive for the ‘Walking Machines’ Category

1967 – Toy Space Crawlers – Various

After recently posting the entry on Vladimir Ischein's Walking Wheel (1983), I recalled having seen something similar. It turned out to be the toy "Space Crawler" of Major Matt Mason from 1967.  This toy led to several other toymakers making similar devices.


1967 – Mattel's Major Matt Mason's Space Crawler




Some Space Crawler Images sourced from here.






When the going gets rough, Major MATT MASON rides across troublesome terrain  and dangerous crevices in his all-purpose vehicle, the SPACE CRAWLER!
Adfapted from official space program designs, the mighty transportation unit features eight rotating legs with curved power pads, so it always rights itself!
Major MATT MASON uses his SPACE CRAWLER as a winch to haul material and as a hoist to raise and lower supplies.
Turned on its side, the masterful machine rotates whenever its heavy-duty hook touches the tail boom.
Forward, neutral, raising and lowering accomplished by unique gear shift.


Publication number    US3475854 A
Publication date    Nov 4, 1969
Filing date    Feb 3, 1967
Priority date    Feb 3, 1967
Inventors    Macmeekin Robert A, Meggs Daniel Henry, Ryan John W
Original Assignee    Mattel Inc

See also US3529479 for related Space Crawler Gearbox patent.


soviet crawler-toy-lunnik-x640

Lunnik sourced from here.



Space Safari

Apollo Set Crawler Ferryman-x640



Mark Apollo Space Crawler by Marx.




Tri-Ang Moonmobile


See other early Walking Wheels and  Walking Machines here.

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1983 – Walking Wheel – Vladimir Ischein (Soviet Union)


1983 – Soviet Walking Wheel by Vladimir Ischein.


Google translation of original article here. I have not attempted to correct it.

During its 50-year history of our magazine § repeatedly told about the vehicles with conventional propulsion. In recent years, interest in beskolesiym machines has increased significantly. This is due primarily to the development of the Far North and the Far East, as well as other hard to reach areas where the transport problem is particularly acute. Prospectors, explorers, builders need high flotation technique: traditional, centuries wheel off-road becomes helpless. Which way to go!

To help designers came the young science of bionics, studying "patents" wildlife. Over millions of years of evolution, it has created a lot of perfect "mobile". According to its speed performance walking and running live "mechanisms" s almost inferior wheeled vehicles. A cross-country indicators they are much higher than that of the most advanced machines.

Using the findings of nature, the designers have created many different walking propulsion. Very original, for example, looked "pedicle device" (see .: «TM», № 11 in 1969). Tracking system, which is equipped with its design, as it connects the human leg with metal legs. Cost operator walked on the ground, and its mechanical twin hit the road at a rate far exceeding the speed of a pedestrian. Unfortunately, the practical application of the "pedicle device", however, as well as other non-standard design, and has not found.

Today, designers are trying to create a viable walking movers. And I must say, to

Biwa in this case some success. Edition presents to the readers and specialists develop engineer V. Ischeina who created the model of the vehicle with the original wheel-stepper-vym mover. Interested in the creative life of the young inventor.

As a student, Vladimir ische-in read an article by an engineer Kar-dashova "The new engine! Yes. Blades replace the pistons, "published in our magazine. He became interested in the construction of a new engine. Vladimir tried to eliminate its shortcomings. Came up with several options for connection blades, but they were already invented. It was certainly disappointing, but at the same time growing confidence: "I can and I am."

Lessons were not in vain. After that Vladimir realized how important to patent search, to be informed in the chosen field. His first certificate of authorship B. Ischein received for the development of the "hydraulic distributor." For this design Vladimir surprised himself was awarded the bronze medal of the USSR Exhibition of Economic Achievements.

Then he began to create walking and all sorts of other wheels. And in the end came up with a wheel diameter of variable for which to get exactly the copyright certificate, which is a sign of high quality invention.

Now V. Ischein continues to work to improve the wheels of various types. Draws up new applications.

As for the vehicle with the wheel-step mover, which has already been mentioned, it is in the summer of this year, will be on display in one of the exhibits of the USSR Exhibition of Economic Achievements. It is hoped that the construction of V. Ischeina attract the attention of specialists.

Roll or pitch?

(Or why not come up with the nature of the wheel)

VLADIMIR ISCHEIN engineer, Mr. M and N with a

One winter morning on the way to work I had to "boost" part of the way with a half-meter layer nametennogo night Buran snow. Carefully balancing on one leg, the other in the meantime I pulled out of a snowdrift, bore as far as possible, and carefully put the new location. Step, another step, another …

After a few minutes, considerably statute, out onto the sidewalk and cleared involuntarily thinking about energy process pacing. Immediately raised the question: why in the deep snow and swamp on the loose beach sand and dirt road we try to make the steps wider? Everyday experience tells me: so less tired. Indeed, the formation of deep track – a kind of technological


V. ISCHEIN with its model of co-FOREST-step vehicle.

process commensurate with the energy consumption by digging a small hole. And the less we "dig up holes" in the same section of the route, the less tire.

When walking on fragile soils almost all expended in moving the work expended in forming the next, and its magnitude is proportional to the volume of soil crushes. The length of the human small step and you have to make a lot of trails to go, let's say a snowy field.

We now consider the worst case, when the step length is reduced so that individual tracks merge into a continuous trail. At this mode, the power consumption increases by many times, and if a person get so move on virgin snow, it falls from exhaustion after a few hundred meters …

But it is precisely because their way wheel and caterpillar naisovremenneyshy ATVs! When you look at shrouded in a bluish exhaust conveyor, punching with the utmost stress two deep ruts in the mud, it seems as if someone mistook the purpose of this machine, turning it into a kind of time on a trencher. Volume crushes ground rolling several times more than during walking, and hence the whole chain of the greatest advantages of feet in front of the wheels. Here lies the first part of the answer to the question of the title: "In the context of cross-country nature of the energy


profitable to create in their wards imenro legs, not wheels. "

Unfortunately, the formation of wheel ruts not only have to spend a disproportionate amount of scarce fuel today, but also cause great harm to the nature.

An illustrative example – the Far North. Here in the tundra after each flight rover leaves a strip torn nezarastayuschie layer of moss, reindeer moss, which is the main food of deer and at the same time protects from destruction frozen ground. On the exposed areas as it melts, streams erode the track, forming a deep ditch, which last a long time, as if in silent reproach to remind us of the imperfection of the current movers.

Not cause as much damage to the national economy tractors and farm machinery, so that "proutyuzhivayut" soil, grain yields are often reduced by 36%, and in some cases, and all 50%.

Transition from rolling to the pacing at the same relative pressure on the ground several times reduce the area of ​​"traumatized" in the fields of soil, destroys moss, reindeer moss in the North, the broken ground on the roads.

Increased permeability during walking is primarily due to the ability to overcome larger obstacles, as well as a sharp decrease in the probability of slipping. All we have repeatedly witnessed the utter helplessness wheel when trying to get out of small holes led only to its deepening and subsequent "samozakapyvaniyu" to the very axis.

While released to the dirt wheel produces thrust by tangential forces of adhesion to the ground, the foot is pushed all the way by the forces at the base of the track. Moreover, if the wheel recess in the ground reduces his chances to get out, the deepening feet, on the contrary, this probability increases.

If the walking mechanism and slips, only slippery, but solid ground, where small depth formed track (clay, ice). But because of such conditions in nature are much less, then, of course, the use of a stepper mover leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and tire and allows more efficient use of traction qualities of the transport car.

In the exclusive terrain feet and is the second part of the


Council imposed on the title question: "… why nature has not come up with a wheel?" Indeed, because if she could create a beautiful and self-lubricating bearings with seals for them, could "invent" and muscular drive rotary motion. However, there is no beast, no insects with wheels scientists have found.

And for good reason. Too many defects in the "ideal" mover. Driving wheel of the car can not climb even a small step, if its height is more than one fifth of the diameter. A free man is crossing a vertical wall height equal to the length of the legs. On the "cross" is our four-legged friends – animals – needless to say.

Why, then, all our mobile machinery has not yet been "put on your feet?" Why wheel reigns supreme on the roads? First, of course, because of its simplicity and unpretentiousness, perfect balance and low cost. After the appearance of mechanical engines with rotary motion of the shaft wheel is the best solve the problem of transformation of the movement into a linear movement of the machine.

In only one pair of wheel friction bearing – axis, so its internal losses are minimal compared to any pacing mechanism. On paved roads, and even more so on the rails at the wheels are very small and the external cost associated with the deformation of the material of the road and the wheel in the area of ​​their contact. So in cities and on highways comfortable traditional propulsion hardly lose ground in the near future.

However, off-road wheels for ease of account for a very dearly. In many cases, it does not provide the required terrain. Caterpillar tracks more than passable, but it is much more difficult and unreliable, expensive and heavier.

It is not surprising, therefore, that first of all, a person tries to teach foot traffic is off-road machines. Imitating step in animals and humans were created "plantigrade" mechanisms with intricate movement articulated legs. As a rule, they differed very complex kinematics and imbalance, their design is full of rods, levers and hinges. Sustained return leg led to the inertial loads and sharply limited the speed.

The main way of technology aimed at steadily increasing speeds of machines and mechanisms, and this inevitably leads to a transition to the rotational movements wherever possible. And that began to emerge walking wheel which returns "exhaust" feet by rotating them around the axis. The simplest version of such an engine can be obtained by making a conventional wheel rim several deep cuts that provide a stepping motion mode. But because of the violent shaking and bumps encountered during PERMUT-pany, on this wheel does not go far. If the vertical oscillations of the axis is still possible to somehow








compensate specially constructed suspension, it strikes at the rigid structure of a walking wheel inevitable.

Hence, this requires dynamise wheel, that is to make it changing at transcend-nii. There have been attempts to implement it with the help of flexible elements, as was done, for example, Czech inventor Matskerle. Its design includes a number of flexible camera-feet fixed on the periphery of the wheel. Alternately supplying air to the chamber-shoes Matskerle achieved not only smoothness, but also made the wheel a whole new way to interact with the road for the first time the possibility of obtaining traction without applying torque to the hub. Upon pressurization chambers of the wheel is pushed from the ground in the same way as a skier running with sticks pushed snow. Senior rover "exercise bicycles" were manufactured, tested and delivered to the museum … Even small hole or mound proved insurmountable for him because of the small amount of deformation cameras.

However, this beautiful idea still continues to lure inventors, they are trying hard to eliminate the disadvantages of the "active" wheels. In Bauman Bauman attempted to set the camera on a radial stem extends, in Leningrad walked finally converted tractor "Belarus". He still had to keep the rotary drive wheels, combining it with the principle of "active" from the land of the repulsive gidrofitcirovannyh paws. Although the design looks cumbersome and slow-moving, it fulfills its mission – to develop more thrust.

Creating his own version of a walking wheel, I set the goal to get a universal mover, which could be successfully put on any ATV. Foreign design combined wheeled walking movers did not cause much excitement because of the complexity of the drive and violent shaking on the pacing mode (such as, for example, built in the United States, "Walking the devil" and "Paddy wagon", which are described in the book YS Ageykina "ATV wheel and dual propellers").

The main difficulty was to "force" the wheel axle to rotate without heave to find a simple and reliable device for a fairly large change in length of legs during walking. It appeared to be a normal crank mechanism housed inside the wheel hub. Its design is similar to the mechanism of star aircraft engine with a central crank. Only instead of the piston rods are connected with radially mounted rods, the ends of which are fixed elastic support shoes.

"Highlight" of the invention is that the crank shaft rotates faster than the hub, and as many times as the legs of the wheel. This condition is satisfied by a gearbox connecting coaxial shafts and crank hub. It was found that the optimal number of legs is four wheels, and the trajectory of the movement of their shoes at the same time close to an equilateral triangle with rounded tops and base parallel to the road. Wheel axle still has a small vertical oscillations of the motion, but with the help of selecting the parameters of the crank mechanism and the shape of the profile Clogs magnitude of these oscillations were able to "drive" in the range of 2-3% of the distance between the axle and the road.

By means of the crank shaft balances the wheel balance can be no worse than a conventional engine, which allows for "promotion" of up to several thousand revolutions per minute. While working on the wheel unwittingly got the idea that it is in itself is a kind of engine. It is only necessary to provide the piston rod, and the legs – cylinder and connect the latter through the valve with a pressure source located on the vehicle. Drive has been mo-torus-wheel can be air, steam, etc.. Etc.. Most promising hydraulic drive, successfully fought their way to the truck and agricultural machinery. This eliminates the need not only for hydraulic motors, but also gear. The resulting crank motor-you sokomomenten itself, plus the time of the crank shaft, before getting onto the hub, increasing four times the pressure reducer. In the case of a mechanical drive transmission machine is connected to the crank shaft and the gear again proves to be very useful because, in addition to its main function of the synchronization, it increases torque.

When the foot wheel is vertical, it creates thrust due to torque hub, but before the separation of the positions of the road leg is repelled from it mainly due to the extension rod – on the principle of "active" wheels. This should further increase the traction capabilities of machines with walking wheels.

Shoes are made in the form of air-filled rubber mounts with the protector on the outside and shaped, not prevent them from being out of the deep track. Since the area of ​​individual traces left by shoes is much smaller than the area of ​​the continuous track of the conventional tire, the stepping wheel should give large savings in the manufacture of a tire, as in the second operation. Tread tires round unproductive works: any portion thereof in contact with the road only a fraction of a second, and for nearly the whole turnover "idle." In walking the same wheel every shoe in contact with the road for a quarter of a turn, therefore, the efficiency of the tread above.

Attractive application of the wheels on the amphibious vehicle, where the machine feet thanks to the triangular his path properly will drive back the water and allow thus to abandon the special water propulsion. Would approach it and to wheelchairs to go as a flight of stairs and through the streets.

Currently, the Belorussian Polytechnic Institute are working to improve this design and create a prototype machine with walking wheels. Yet made a model. She playfully stomping on the floor and climbs steadily to a stack of books with a height of 20% greater than the height of the wheel axle. It seems just around the corner and a prototype machine.



See other early Walking Wheels and  Walking Machines here.

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1973 – Wheel Walker – Ralph Mosher (American)


1973 – Wheel Walker – Ralph Mosher

Wheels Used as Legs
It is understood that many ideas have been presented that involve a combination of wheel actions such as rotation and orbiting. The idea shown in Figure 49 is different in that an immobilized wheel experiencing slipping and bulldozing will transfer its action from wheel rotate to straight-line rearward motion. The translation motion is not an orbiting or circular action. This concept is a direct outgrowth of the thinking involved in developing the walking vehicle. Although the stepping device involves wheels, it is truly a stepping device. The translation motion and the stepover motion of the second wheel act as a bipedal motion of one leg stepping over the other. The chassis of the vehicle is promoted forward just as the human body is through the pelvic action. It can be thought of as being similar to pole vaulting, one over the other. The concept does not depend on terrain shear strength in the Lateral direction. All that is required to make this concept work, in terrain properties, is adequate load bearing capacity.

Figure 50 shows a schematic diagram of a linkage concept that could provide this translation and stepping motion for this dual wheel system. In this diagram, a multiplicity of circles represent the proposed action of the two wheels. The first wheel is shown in the forward position. It is proposed that encountered frontal resistance or wheel slippage will cause the wheel to travel rearward and slightly down. At the same time, the stepping action occurs with the second wheel. The relative positions of the two wheels are indicated by single and double numerical connotations. As an example, position 7 of the first wheel corresponds to position 77 of the second wheel. This diagram indicates start of motion with the highest digit first, so that motion of the first wheel is shown to start at position 7 and the motion of the second wheel starts from position 77 (and at the same time as the first wheel starts). Home positions are shown as number 1 and 11. Of course, this two wheel system would require two sets of the four-bar linkage system shown. The two pair of four-bar linkages would be interconnected to operate as complementary pairs with the motion of one four bar linkage depending on the other. A differential transmission would provide transition from wheel rotary motion to stepping action. The idea of the slight slope of the straight line motion is to provide automatic preference of wheel rotary action  compared to the stepping motion.
There are two key principles involved. One is the principle of stepping action and the second is the use of force reaction on the wheel to provide selectivity of the wheel rotary motion for the translate and step motion. It is beyond the scope of this report to analyze and design the complete system such as suggested by this concept. However the concept is outlined and it is suggested that at least some more thought be given to this idea to determine feasibility and practicability.

From Technical Report 11768 Applying Force Feedback Servomechanism Technology To Mobility Problems, US Army Tank-Automotive Command, 1973, by Ralph S. Mosher, Robotics Inc.

See other early Walking Wheels and Walking Machines here.

See other GE CAMS here:

1956- GE Yes Man
1958-9- GE Handyman – Ralph Mosher
1962 – GE Pedipulator – Ralph Mosher
1969 – GE Walking Truck – Ralph Mosher
1965-71- GE Hardiman I
1969- GE Man-Mate Industrial manipulator

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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.


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


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."


The manipulator arm had 9 degrees-of-freedom.



Brief technical specs of AMOOTY.

robot_0017 - Copy-x640

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


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.


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.

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1965 onwards – Miscellaneous Lunar and Off World Walker Concepts


4-Legged robot space explorer.


Robot Rescuing an Astronaut on the Lunar Surface. Robot reminiscent of Odex-1.


Legged robot turning a valve.


Model Lunar walker from the French children's book "Permieres Vacances Sur La Lune" [“First Vacation on the Moon”], Marc Heimer – 1967.


Above: Prediction of life on the moon c1965. Illustration from the book Station "Moon" (Stantsiia "Luna") (1965) .


Above: Later prediction of life on the moon c1974

For large images of the above two Russian illustrations, see here.

Off World Walker illustrations


A. Leonov, A. Sokolov  c1965
"Automatic rover on Titan , Saturn's moon ". A novel rolling-wheel propulsion whereby the trailing wheel segment pushes down rolling the rover forwards, then retracts and the next segment repeats the action. There are stabilizing skis on the vehicle.

Leonov-Sokolov-Pluto-67 (2)

A giant walking capsule or  rover on Pluto. Illustration by A. Leonov and A. Sokolov – "Pluto". PREPARATION PRECAUTIONS from  a postcard "Wait for us , the stars" , 1967 (Soviet).


Off-world walker. From Soviet magazine dated 1969. Most likely illustrated by A. Leonov and A. Sokolov

Marsohod concept – 1976

Marsohod-x640 sokolov_mars_cherez_peschanuju_reku-x640

Above illustration painted by A. Sokolov.


Source: here.

See othe Lunar Walkers here.

See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.

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