1929 – Telelux Robot – (American)

A rare picture of " Telelux ".

The "Telelux"

Sound and light were transformed into mechanical action at the banquet of the National Tool Exposition recently to illustrate their possibilites in regulating traffic, aiding the aviator, and performing automatic functions.

A beam of light was thrown into the "eyes" of a mechanical contrivance known as the "telelux," a brother of the "televox," and as the light was thrown on and off it performed mechanical function such as turning an electric switch.

The contrivance, which was developed by the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, utilizes two photo-electric cells, sensitive to the light beam. One of the cells is a selector, which progressively chooses any one of three operating circuits when light is thrown on it. The other cell is the operator, which opens or closes the chosen circuit, thus performing the desired function.

S. M. Kintner, manager of the company's research department, who made the demonstration, also threw music across the room on a beam of light, and light was utilized in depicting the shape and direction of stresses in mechanical materials.

The above text was found in Astounding Stories Jan 1931

Mr. Telelux  from "The San Antonio Light" 06 Sept 1931

Not long ago Mr. Henry D. Shute, vice-president of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, gave a dinner for leaders of the National Electric Light Association in the Italian Room of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. One end of the room was fitted up as a stage, on which sat what looked like a tailor's dummy. The dummy gazed with indifference upon the large group of very rich men and inventive geniuses, representing some five billion dollars in capital, and even ignored their personal comments on his clothes and face.
After the banquet Miss M. P. Carr, a pretty model, appeared on the stage, and Mr. Shute introduced the dummy to her as "Mr. Telelux."
The lady bowed and walked toward the dummy, who rose easily and politely to his feet.
"How do you do?" Miss Carr asked,
"How do you do?" responded Mr. Telelux.
"Do you like it here?" asked the lady
"Sure!" said Telelux.
"Please be seated," said Miss Carr, considerately.
"Yes, sir," answered the dummy, and did so.

That one error of saying "sir" to a lady calls attention to one of the great virtues of the entire robot family. They cannot be vamped. To one of these incorruptible robots the loveliest young blonde is neither more nor less important than the humblest old man. For this reason the Western Union has found the robot an ideal boss for a room full of women. A marcel, a lovely frock, a dazzling smile, perfume, a pretty ankle, a "come hither" look are nothing to him. He treats young and old alike, has no sweethearts, plays no favorites, and so there are no jealousies or complaints. There are 110 girls in the telegraph company's New York headquarters to handle telegrams that are telephoned in. The problem was how to distribute the work justly and efficiently.

The robot, who now is in command of them, is really a room full of wires, mechanically operated switches, magnets and other paraphernalia, meaningless to the average person, and which requires considerable expert nursing by electrical engineers. It took two years to build this "boss," but he is worth it. As fast as the telephone calls come in, the robot plugs each one into the desk of one of the girls who is not busy.

On the average it takes the robot about one second to get the customer connected with the right girl, but when rushed, sometimes the wait is as long as 4.7 seconds. This much might perhaps be equalled by an alert and clear-headed operator, but when the girls are all busy and the messages begin to pile up, Mr. Robot shows his superhuman 'efficiency. He has an infallible memory, and as fast as a girl becomes available he plugs in the right customer on the "first-come first-served" principle, and never makes a mistake. However, when the waiting list gets too long for his customers' tempers, never his own for he has none, he rings a bell, which serves notice to his employers that if they don't send him some extra help they will be losing business to another telegraph company.

Mr. Telelux, who responded somewhat indifferently to Miss Carr's advances, is a robot who ignores everything but light rays. As she walked toward him she stepped in the path of several beams of light casting a shadow on each of his several photo-electric cells, which caused electric motors to make him get up and sit down, and turned phonograph records prompting him to make his remarks. He would just as soon have rung a burglar alarm or fired a pistol at her, had his creators designed him that way.

In the above image, you can see common components, other than the obvious photo-cells, that also appear in Televox.


Mr. S. M. Kintner, of the Westinghouse Research Laboratories, showed that Mr. Telelux was trained in other ways also. Using a large, specially built flashlight to convey his orders, the scientist ordered Telelux to turn on a fan, to extinguish the light, to turn on and off a Vacuum cleaner, and to perform other tasks. A row of buttons on the flashlight grip, each button turning on a light of different frequenly did the trick. Each light was picked up by the photo-electric cell, which represents the robot's contact with the world, translated it into a definite order, and shot an electric current to the clay, which actuated the appropriate mechanism. Telelux can turn on the vacuum cleaner, but he cannot be trusted to take over the housewife's job of sweeping and dusting—not yet. However, he can stand at a turnstile and count-passengers or customers with 100 per cent accuracy and honesty. This forces the ticket seller to be 100 per cent honest also, because Telelux can't be bribed. For 24 hours a day he will stand over a factory conveyor belt, count every package that passes and reject all that are faulty in size or labeling.
When ships fill their bunkers with coal, it comes sliding along in irregular amounts over a road conveyor belt. Except by measuring the size of the coal bunkers filled there would be no way of estimating how much the steamer had received, but a robot sensitive to weight records electro-magnetically just how much the conveyor is depressed by the height of coal at a certain point lind reckons it all up in tons. There is no chance for mistakes or short-weight.

As a watchman, one of the robot's most important jobs will probably be guarding prisons. Telelux is now being prepared so that a light beam will be directed along the tops of the prison walls into photo-electric cells. As long as the beams are uninterrupted nothing will happen, but the moment an escaping convict sticks a head or arm into the beam, as he must to get over, Telelux will sound the alarm and indicate which wall is being scaled. This does not do away with human guards, but it relieves them of watching all the walls all night. By using ultra-violet beams or hooded cells the system can be made to work in daylight.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 at 11:09 am and is filed under The Robots. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.