1924 – Radio Police Automaton – Gernsback (American)

Hugo Gernsback contributed significantly to the advancement of new technologies, such as Automaton and Robots. He was responsible for some of the greatest technical magazines published, and published many articles himself.

In this case, he predicts and describes a radio controlled police automaton in his magazine "Science & Invention" May 1924.

This automation is referred to as the "Radio Police Automaton" in the heading, "Radio Automaton" in the article, and later "Robot Soldier" by others.

 AS is well known, radio can be used today to produce mechanical effects at a distance. This new art is known as radio-telemechanics. Many years ago already it was possible to start and operate vehicles and machinery entirely by radio. The United States Navy a little over a year ago operated the warship "Iowa" entirely by radio. The firing of the boilers, the steering of the ship and all the controls were entirely effected by radio.
The Radio Automaton as disclosed on this page and in our cover design is therefore not a wild dream, but it can be constructed by any one with means available today.The Radio Automaton contains the machinery as shown in our illustration which comprises a gasoline engine, a radio control cabinet, a telegraphone, a loud speaker, a gyroscope and other auxiliary apparatus.
The Automaton is kept erect by the stabilizing gyroscopes. The machine does not really walk like a human being, but rather glides along the road over all obstacles by the small caterpiller tractors attached to the feet. This makes it unnecessary for the Automaton to take steps, and the machine will therefore progress by a gliding motion which is quite rapid.
Such a machine would seem to be exceedingly valuable to disperse mobs, or for war purposes and even for industrial purposes. In the upper illustration is shown the police car which controls all the movements of a regiment of such automata. For fighting mobs use is made of tear gas which is stored in a tank under pressure and which alone will quickly disperse a snob if necessary. The arms are provided with rotating discs which carry lead balls. on flexible leads. These act as police clubs in action.
For night attack the Automaton is provided with eye-lights and the loud speaker is used to shout orders to the mob which orders can be given direct from the radio control car. Inasmuch as this car is always in the rear of the Automata it can watch their movements and direct them as necessitated by circumstances.
As a close hand-to-hand lighting machine the Radio- Automata have no equal. Bullets do not affect them and if equipped with a twenty to forty H.P. engine, they will be well nigh irresistible. They probably have no superior for fighting mobs or for war purposes.

Note the the word "Robot" is not used, but Automaton. Although the word robot had been coined, it was not until 1927 that its usage towards Automatons and Mechanical Men started to come into use.


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5 Responses to “1924 – Radio Police Automaton – Gernsback (American)”

  1. whiskers Says:

    What a devilish concept… but I wonder, with those batteries, and engine, and gasoline tank all at the top of the machine, no matter how heavy it is, you could probably tip it over easily…

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