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.


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 9:59 pm and is filed under Maze Solvers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “1977 – “Maizie the Robot” – David Strange (British)”

  1. David Strange Says:

    I am that David Strange and I am not American. I am British. The robot I called Maizie was a maize solving robot whilst I was working for the BBC Open University. It was used in several programmes on cognitive psychology. The date is about right Regards, David Strange