Early Teleoperators, Exoskeletons and Industrial Robots

This page shows a timeline of significant events in the development of Teleoperators, Exoskeletons and Industrial Robots with dates showing the creation or announcement of these machines.

Check out the updates page for recent posts.

There are many way to sub-categorize Teleoperators, from remote manipulators, Man-amplifiers and exoskeletons, prosthetics and orthotics, through to walking machines. These days, this overall category comes under the general heading of Haptics. The Man-amplifiers when combined with Walking machines are now commonly called Mechas (Mekas), following the naming popularized by Japanese Anime.

Early Exoskeletons and Man-Amplifiers

1830c – Steam-assisted walker (Spoof) – Robert Seymour
1889- Rinehart Walking Machine
1890- Yagn Walking Apparatus
1904- Crosse Leg-Powered Unicycle
1904 – Skorzewski Walking Apparatus
 1917 – Steam-powered "Pedomotor" by Kelley
1934 – Cobb "wind-up" Lower extremity walker
Gizmo Outboard-motor assisted walker
 1956- Mobile Space Suit – Lent
1959 – "Starship Troopers" Power Suits – Robert Heinlein (Fiction)
1961-2- Man-Amplifier Cornell Aeronautical Labs – Neil Mizen
1961 – Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.
 1964 – Body Support System – Kultsar
  1962 – Case Institute Externally Powered Orthosis
 1964 – Rancho "Golden Arm" Powered Orthosis
1965-71- GE Hardiman I
1967 – The Ambushers (Fiction)
1970-2 – Powered Exoskeleton – Vukobratovic
1972-3 – Grundmann & Seireg Exoskeleton
1976 – Pneumatic Exoskeleton Prosthesis – Pierre Rabischong
1978 – Shulman Jogging Machine
 1986 – Power Loader – Aliens (Fictional)
 1987 – LIFESUIT – Exoskeleton – Monty Reed
1989- Man-Amplifier – Mark Rosheim
1990 – SpringWalker
 1990 – Power-Assist Suit
1991- Pitman – Jeff Moore
 1998 – "Walking Machine" – Stelarc
21st Century
2000- Electric SpringWalker
 Kazerooni Human Extender
 2001 – DARPA $50 million 5-year exo program
2001- McKibben powered vests – Japanese
 2002 – HAL-3 – Cyberdyne
 2003 – Matrix 3 Exo Suits (Fictional)
 2004 – BLEEX – Kazerooni
 2004-5 Servo Mag Tetsujin competition
 2005 – HAL 5
 2008 – Iron Man exoskeleton (Fictional)
 2008 – XOS – Sarcos-Raytheron
 2008 – Power-assist suit (Japan)
 2009 – HULC – Locheed Martin
 2009 – Panasonic Power Loader
 2009 – District 9 Exoskeleton (Fictional)
 2010 – XOS 2 – Sarcos-Raytheon
 2010 – Avatar (Fictional)
 2010 Panasonic Power Jacket

Early Teleoperated Walking Machines

1962 – GE Pedipulator – Ralph Mosher
1969 – GE Walking Truck – Ralph Mosher
 1978-9 – Mobile Suit Gundam
1990 – SpringWalker
 1986 – Power Loader – Aliens (Fictional)
 1998 – "Walking Machine" – Stelarc
21st Century
2000- Electric SpringWalker
 2003 – Matrix 3 Exo Suits (Fictional)
 2009 – District 9 Alien Exoskeleton (Fictional)
 2010 – Avatar (Fictional)

Early Remote Mobile Manipulators

Early Master-Slave Manipulator

   – Early Anthropomorphic Remote Control

 
   – No Force-Feedback
 
  - Force-Feedback
 
Early Lunar and Off-world Teleoperated Rovers
 
Early Teleoperators in Space
-Unmanned
 1964 – SCHMOO (Concept) – Lockheed
 1968 – Android Space Manipulator (Concept) – GE
 1970 – Experimental Teleoperator System (T/S) – NASA
 1972 – "Free Flyer" with Manipulators – NASA/Bell/Rancho Los Amigos
 1972 – Rancho Anthropomorphic Manipulator (RAM) – Rancho Los Amigos Hospital/NASA
 1972 – Extentible Stiff Arm Manipulator (ESAM) – MSFC
 1973-8 –Daedalus 'Wardens' – T. J. Grant et al
 1982-4 – Telepresence Servicer Unit (TSU) – M.I.T.
aramis-mit-ff-tele-BAT-x80 1983 – Beam Assembly Teleoperator (BAT) – University of Maryland
OMV-TSR-kit-x80 1984-7 – Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) – NASA
 1987 – Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS) – Grumman
 1987 – Flight Telerobotic Servicer (FTS) – Martin Marietta
-Manned
 1949 – Space Tug (Illustration) by Klaus Bürgle
 1958 – Astrotug – Lockheed
 1959-61 – Concept O-9 Manned Utility Tug
 1960 – Mercury Converted Space Capsule (Concept) – Douglas Aircraft
 1960 – Bell "Remora"
 1960 – SLOMAR Tug – Martin
 1960 – Space Manipulators (Concepts) – General Mills
1961, April 12 – Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.
 1961 – Space Pod (Concept) – Lockheed
 1961 – Space Maintenance Capsule & Adapter – NORAIR
 1961 – Humpty Dumpty (Concept) – Douglas Aircraft Co.
 1961 – Orbital Space Tug (Concept) – GE
 1965 – Space Pod (Concept) – Boeing
 1966-7 – Space Horse (Concept) – LTV
 1966-7 – Space Taxi (Concept) – LTV
 1967 – Space Work Platform (Concept) – Bendix
 1965-8 – Space Pod – 2001-A Space Odyssey
 1968 – STEM Remote Space Manipulator (Concept) – Spar Aerospace
 1968 – Serpentuator – MSFC

1969, July 20 – First moon landing.

 1970 – Space Tug (Concept) – MSFC/Boeing
 1971-2 – Apollo-Soyuz Shuttle Manipulator (Concept) – NASA/Johnson
 1976 – Space Manipulator – Boeing
 1986 – P.O.W.E.R. Flexible Robot Arm
sokolov-leonov-67-x80 Miscellaneous Space Tugs with Manipulator Arms (Illustrations)
 
Early Industrial Robots
Pre-Robot Manipulators
 1892 – Babbitt Crane for Furnaces
 c1950 – "The Iron Hand"
 1950 – GE Manipulator – Manual or remote control
First Re-Programmable Machines and Industrial Robots
 1801 – Jacquard Loom
 1873 – "Automat" Cam-operated Lathe by Christopher Spencer
 1934 – Programmable Spray-painting patent by Pollard Jr.
 1935-7 – "The Robot Gargantua" by 'Bill' Griffith P. Taylor – First 'pick-and-place' Robot.
 1938, April – Automated positional spray-painting patent by Pollard Sr.
 1939, August – Roselund filed his automated spray-painting patent.
 1941 – Isaac Asimov, aged 21 in May 1941, invents the word 'Robotics' in a robot story entitled "Liar!".
 1947 – Del Harder, a Ford executive, coins the word "Automation".
 1954, March – The Brit Cyril Kenward filed his " Positioning or Manipulating Apparatus" patent.
 1954, December – Devol's "Programmed Article Transfer" patent filed and granted in 1961.
 1955 – "PLANOBOT" by Joe Brown
 1959 – "TransfeRobot" by Shelley
 1959 – Working Robot and Prototype Unimate by Devol & Engelberger
 1960 – "Versatran"
 1961 – 1st "Unimate", installed at GM
 1962 – "Unimation" formed by Devol and Engelberger
 1962 – "Fleximan" by  Anthony Kaye
 1965-7 – Ole Molaug developed his Trallfa spray-paint robot. First production run in 1967. Now ABB
1967 – Unimation agreement with Kawasaki Triggered the Japanese robot industry
1971 – Cincinnati Milacron launched the first mini computer controlled robot T3
1974 – ASEA IRB-6 First Electric-powered Industrial Robot
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