1965-71 – G.E. Hardiman I Exoskeleton – Ralph Mosher (American)

One of the few photographs we see of Hardiman I.  I'd have a smile like that on my face too if I had one of these.


Hardiman is a name derived somehow, from "Human Augmentation Research and Development Investigation." and Man from MANipulator.  Sometimes written as HardiMan, Hardi-Man, Hardi Man, Hardiman I.  Said to also be officially called the "Powered Exo-skeleton."

Above image from the Museum of Innovation and Science via aivanet.

Note: some reports suggest that only one arm of Hardiman's was built.  The above photo usually accompanies that comment, but it is incorrect. A complete Hardiman was built with both arms, but the comment refers to the earlier tests  of just the single, upper manipulator. Later, even when the full machine was built,  one side was made static, and the other side was capable  moving.

Reanimated gif by Kevin Weir at flux machine.


The Hardiman program from 1965-1971

The Hardiman stated in November 1965. The early phases were on human factors and kinematic concepts, which were completed in 1966. The results of this required changes, where the original concept was for a single master-slave system, now to be split in two, the upper arms, and the lower legs.

By the end of 1967, the slave prototype had been built following load-bearing joint tests.

There were technological problems with the hydromechanical servos, mainly around their stability. An interim study was put together and concluded by April 1968. The solution was to go to electrohydraulic servos.

Although the plan was to build the legs first, this setback meant that the ONR directed the program to complete the arm system. By the end of 1969, the single arm tests were completed.

The leg and girdle systems were completed late 1970, but was not able to balance or walk without support.  Major kinematic problems were arising and could not be overcome within the program's timeframe. The approach was taken to fasten the master leg to the slave at the girdle. This change the operating mode from "operator walk" to "operator ride".

Within these constraints and the assistance of a supporting tether it was possible to demonstrate a limited ambulatory capability with the leg system. A movie was made of this {RH:where is it now?].

See the May1971 report pdf here:

See the full 1971 final report pdf here:

See other pdfs from original source here.


Above: concept drawing showing the loading of bombs into an aircraft.

The above words say it all.



CUTANEOUS STIMULI SENSOR AND TRANSMISSION NETWORK by Bruce R. Fick et al

See full patent here.

Patent number: 3535711
Filing date: Nov 1, 1967
Issue date: Oct 27, 1970


Early scale concept models of Hardiman.

Ralph Mosher (at the rear) and Art Bueche (to the left of the photo) with models of the Walking Truck and Hardiman.

Above image from the Museum of Innovation and Science via aivanet.

The images  of the models started to appear in 1966.


You can recreate the mock-up model at home. Click here to get the template for the paper craft Hardiman, designed by Matthew Hawkins.  The template fits an eight inch drawing model.


The un-powered exoskeleton by G.E. used for kinematic studies.


The concept model was scaled-up and used in the film.Ambushers Powerloader x80 Early Teleoperators, Exoskeletons and Industrial Robots1967 – The Ambushers (Fiction)  


The media saw a bright future for "Man Amplifiers".


pdf – Mosher – Handyman to Hardiman 1967 – A very good document covering G.E.'s Cybernetic Anthropomorphous Machine systems (CAMs).

 


Illustration by Apollonia Saintclair (c) 2013.



See other GE CAMS here:

GE yes man robot life28may56p125 x80 1969   GE Walking Truck   Ralph Mosher (American)1956- GE Yes Man
Mosher ge handyman Hula x80 1969   GE Walking Truck   Ralph Mosher (American)1958-9- GE Handyman – Ralph Mosher
Pedipulator  Walker S MFeb63 x80 1969   GE Walking Truck   Ralph Mosher (American)1962 – GE Pedipulator – Ralph Mosher
GE Walking Truck Mosher x80 Early Teleoperators, Exoskeletons and Industrial Robots1969 – GE Walking Truck – Ralph Mosher
Man Mate PopSciDec1969 x80 1969   GE Walking Truck   Ralph Mosher (American)1969- GE Man-Mate Industrial manipulator

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13 Responses to “1965-71 – G.E. Hardiman I Exoskeleton – Ralph Mosher (American)”

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  2. Sweet atomic age GE exoskeleton prototype « Artificial Intelligence Church Says:

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  5. 1966 G.E.’s Exoskeleton prototype « Hyphy Market Says:

    […] “Ralph Mosher, an engineer working for General Electric in the 1950s, developed a robotic exoskeleton called Hardiman. The mechanical suit, consisting of powered arms and legs, could give him superhuman strength. An arm wrestler’s dream! The General Electric Hardiman was as close as science got to a cyborg during the ’60s; and even then, it was a stretch, since it was worn by its operator rather than grafted onto his body. Hardiman was the first serious attempt to build a powered exoskeleton that could multiply the strength of the operator enough to allow him to lift 1500 lbs as if it was a packet of peanuts. General Electric had high hopes for Hardiman; envisioning it being used aboard aircraft carriers for bomb loading, underwater construction, in nuclear power plants, and in outer space, but by 1970 only one arm was actually made to work. It could lift 750 lbs and responded according to specs, but the thing weighed in at three quarters of a ton and any attempt to get its legs to work resulted in a fit of mechanical St. Vitus Dance. One arm does not an exoskelton make, so Hardiman faded off into development limbo. For more images and info click here […]

  6. Did GE Develop A Powered Exoskeleton For Weyland-Yutani? Says:

    […] Back in the 1960′s, GE was developing something called the “Hardiman” – a mechanical exoskeleton designed to move heavy things around. Fast forward to the future. A certain Weyland-Yutani corporation uses pretty much the same technology to haul cargo around a ship’s hold. Coincidence? Or does GE eventually become the evil corporation responsible for the Alien infestation? To see the complete concept drawing, photos, and the full (real) backstory behind the Hardiman, check out the Cybernetic Zoo. […]

  7. GE’s Atomic Age Exoskeletons, New York and London Mapped by Foursquare | Tech News Daily Says:

    […] pointed us to an amazing gallery of GE exoskeleton prototypes from the ’60s. [From: Cybernetic Zoo, via: […]

  8. 1960 : Hardiman, Le premier prototype d’exosquelette | GuruMeditation Says:

    […] Pour tout savoir sur ce prototype, c’est par ici : 1966-69 – G.E. Hardiman I – Ralph Mosher. […]

  9. Link - Estadao.com.br Says:

    […] humana, batizado de Hardiman.  Por problemas técnicos, o projeto foi abandonado. Segundo o blog Cyberneticzoo: “A possibilidade de reduzir a mobilidade do corpo humano para 28 movimentos independentes […]

  10. Did GE Develop A Powered Exoskeleton For Weyland-Yutani? : UK Asian Says:

    […] Back in the 1960′s, GE was developing something called the “Hardiman” – a mechanical exoskeleton designed to move heavy things around. Fast forward to the future. A certain Weyland-Yutani corporation uses pretty much the same technology to haul cargo around a ship’s hold. Coincidence? Or does GE eventually become the evil corporation responsible for the Alien infestation? To see the complete concept drawing, photos, and the full (real) backstory behind the Hardiman, check out the Cybernetic Zoo. […]

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    […] 4. The men who could lift 680kgs […]

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    […] Hardiman was intended to lift 1500 pounds; however, the suit never managed to act as a fully unified machine and […]

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