1957 – Cybernetic Tortoise “Beta” – Vasilyev and Petrovsky (Russian)



The Cybernetic section of the the Moscow Politechnical museum. You can see "Beta" in the centre. It is quite small in size. The other clear-plastic model was built for the museum and is the subject of another later post.



There is a single drive motor, only driving the left-hand side wheel.

The steering in its normal position of pointing straight ahead. One can see the pin protruding from the vertical shaft and the adjustable stop bolt. 

Here the solenoid has been activacted , the wheel rotated anti-clockwise by a small amount. When the power to the solenoid is stopped, a spring returns the wheel to its central position.

The pictures above and below show the operation of the conditioned reflex function. In this case the tone is supplied by a hand-held unit, and when held over the carbon microphone and activated, the neon lamp lights up, and the tortoie responds as if it has hit an obstacle.

Note that the lamp can be seen illuminated through the shell, indicating the shell is made of painted plastic or fibre-glass.

The name "Beta" comes from a Polish re-print of the original Russian article. It may not have been called "Beta" in Russia – can someone confirm?

Sorry that no descriptions are in Russian. This verson of the blog software does not appear to support the Russian cyrallic character set.

Original Russian articles pdf found here Vasilyev Petrovoski Cerepaha 1957.

Video clip found here. It appears from the video clip that this cybernetic tortoise is still using its original electronics.

[Thanks Joseba Arruabarrena as the video clip is now on youtube.] 

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