1977 – “Maizie the Robot” – David Strange (British)
Maisie the Robot (c1977) with David Strange.
From a comment below, David Strange informs me that the robot he called Maizie was a maze solving robot whilst he was working for the BBC Open University. It was used in several programmes on cognitive psychology. Thanks David.
From further correspondence with David (Dec 2015):
The whole of Maizie was scratch-built using discrete components. In those days I got 2 to 3 weeks notice for an OU programme requirement and just got on with it. There was a day for conceptualising and planning, then off I went and bought the bits I thought I was going to need and use.
I bought the components, cut the metal, designed and built servos, integrated them with the electronics, figured out how to get reliably get exactly 45 deg turns, detect the end of a row and just got on and designed the logic.
I even scratch-designed electronics for a 2 or 3 word speech recognition system so the programme presenter could ask Maizie to set off and solve the maize. I recorded the presenter saying the phrase he intended using and took the tape to the BBC research department, who did a frequency analysis for me against the timing of the phrase. I then used the data to design a circuit that generated the start pulse for Maizie, thanks to the integration of phase-lock-loop chips that were just available with 555 timers and some bits of general electronics and logic chips. It was just case of using a set of narrow band pass filters and looking for the right frequencies in the right order at the right times. It worked. … microprocessor(s) were not used.
See other early Maze Solving Machines & Robots here.