Posts Tagged ‘1954’

1954 – Pressure Suit – James Hart and Theodore Hart (American)


1954 – Pressure Suit by James Hart and Theodore Hart
Patent Name: Pressurized suit
Publication number    US2939148 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Jun 7, 1960
Filing date    Dec 15, 1954
Priority date    Dec 15, 1954
Inventors    James F Hart, Theodore H Hart
Original Assignee    James F Hart, Theodore H Hart

This invention relates to pressurized suits and appurtenances thereto, especially to suits to be worn by aviators, divers, and others who are subjected to containment or perform certain duties under pressurized conditions.
Flight at high altitudes and beyond earth's environs has many advantages; but such flight has been limited heretofore, by many problems, among them, in part, the physiological considerations involved as exemplified by lung alveolar oxygen pressure, aero-embolism or "bends," and body gas expansion or "acute indigestion."
Diving to great depths in liquids has many advantages; such as, retrieving sunken military and commercial material.
Performing duties and/or containment in toxic surroundings is often required; for example, when the adjacent atmosphere contains lethal gases.
Performing duties in a fluid that cannot be contaminated by the gases required for suit occupant breathing and/or ventilation is sometimes desirable; for example, an industrial process that requires entrance by suit occupant into the processed media.
Performing duties and/or containment either all or in part in fluids that vary greatly from suit occupants temperature has many advantages; for example, as a military omni-environment suit, or the suit or suit portion may be submerged into a fluid of extreme temperature during an industrial process.

One object of this invention is to provide a suit dome with improved downward visibility, with provision for entering the dome wearing a crash helmet, the dome utilizing occupant's head to cause fore and aft movement thereby preventing a feeling of claustrophobia on the occupants part by maintaining a constant distance between occupants eyes and front of dome and the dome having a fluid-tight connection to the torso portion of the suit.
Another object is to provide a movable shoulder piece roughly duplicating the movement of the shoulder in relation to the body and joined to the torso by a fluid-tight connection.
Another object is to provide a movable fluid-tight connector between upper and lower arm in which the joint pivots about one axis only and is dependent on rotary seals which permit full twisting movement.
Another object is to provide a movable fluid-tight connector between upper and lower arm in which the joint is an integral part of the whole arm.
Another object is to provide a compensating device to assist in the movement of any joint that should inherently require effort to move due to trapped fluid volume change in the suit during joint movement.
Another object is to provide "feel" in the hand by use of novel types of glove and pressure regulating devices.
Another object is to provide a suit formed in two sections, joined across the body, which may be donned and doffed by the occupant without assistance.
Another object is to provide a closing device that assures uniform sealing of the body halves, notwithstanding the irregularity or extent of the sealing surfaces and that may be operated by one lever that entails for operation just one uniform motion.
Another object is to provide a movable fluid-tight means for rotating the torso portion of the suit with respect to the hip portion.
Another object is to provide a fluid-tight joint at the hips, fully movable in the fore and aft direction, that will permit the suit occupant to sit, stoop and stand.
Another object is to provide fluid-tight joints at the legs, movable fore, aft and sideways.
Another object is to provide fluid-tight knee joints which swing fore and aft.
Another object is to provide a suit in which body and limb members are formed of rigid sections, flexible sections with rigid end portions, or flexible sections with a rigid framework, all sections with flexible sealing means connecting them, and constructed in such a manner as not to ride up on the occupants body nor distend from occupants limb extremities when suit is pressurized.
Another object is to provide a suit that is for the most part made of rigid materials for durability and protection to the occupant.
Another object is to provide a suit with novel joint connections between body and limb sections that greatly increases permitted amounts of movement with a substantial reduction in effort.
Another object is to provide a diving suit construction that will remain habitable when internal pressures are either greater or less than external pressures and will enable the occupant to be taken from the water with a greater internal pressure, permitting last stages of decompression to occur in a decompression chamber with suit removed.
Another object is to provide a suit or suit portion operatable in toxic, non-contaminative or intemperate atmospheres.





See other early Underwater Robots here.

1954 – Teledoctor – Hugo Gernsback (American)

teledoctor-1954-gernsback-x640  teledoctor_1954-x640

Gernsback, Hugo "The Teledoctor", Television, Feb. 1955 pp. 22-24.

Hugo Gernsback's 1954 solution to the doctor shortage was the ultimate in bringing the patient to the overworked physician: an updated version of the 1924 Radio Doctor called the "Teledoctor."


Delivered to your front door on a rental plan, this melding of television and diagnostics was supposed to be capable of measuring blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and even had a built-in stethoscope.

But it wasn't just a remote monitoring device with a two-way television attached, it also incorporated the latest in remote-controlled robot hands (or claws in this case) that allowed the attending physician to administer tests, write prescriptions, give injections, bandage wounds, and even perform minor surgery from the comfort of his office.

All this television interchange, data traffic and robot-manipulation signal was transmitted through an ordinary phone.   It's interesting how the television apparatus pictured here looks the right size for 1954, but the mechanical arms and such take up surprisingly little room even by today's standards.

Notice also that the mechanical arms on the patient's end have elbows, but the doctor's control rods don't, which would have made it a bit like performing surgery in a pair of arm casts.  Above images and text sourced from David Szondy.

The hand controls on the doctor's master arm are reminiscent of John Payne's 1948 manipulator arms.

It wasn't until 1954 that Ray Goertz developed his  Electro-Mechanical Manipulator. As well as offering force-reflection (force-feedback), it was acknowledged to offer the capability to operate the slave remotely from the master (because it is  electrically coupled, not mechanically coupled). This extended remote control materialized with Goertz's Remote Servo-manipulator in 1958.

See other early Teleoperators here.

1954 – ElectroMechanical Manipulator – Ray Goertz (American)


1954 – ElectroMechanical Manipulator by Ray Goertz (pictured)








An early experimental model – this one also showing the head-mount camera controller


Atomic energy exhibit in the US pavilion

Atomic energy exhibit in the US pavilion

Brussels Exhibition – US Pavillion demo.


Model E4a Slave unit.


Diagram by Goertz showing the various control modes of Master-Slave arms.

Patent information:

Publication number    US2846084 A
Publication date    Aug 5, 1958
Filing date    Jun 21, 1955
Inventors    Goertz Raymond C, Olsen Robert A, Thompson William M
Original Assignee    Goertz Raymond C, Olsen Robert A, Thompson William M

Historical Significance:

Goertz first described the force reflection manipulator in 1952 – Goertz RC, ‘A force reflecting positional servo mechanism’, Nucleonics, Vol 10, Part II, pp43-45, 1952. Other remote manipulator systems of the time were either mechanical, hydraulic, or electro-hydraulic, needing to be closely coupled. Sixty years later we are still seeing ideas that this invention spawned. Ideas such as telepresence in areas such as underwater and outer-space.

From 1960, Ray Goertz, who invented electrically remote manipulators for the nuclear industry, together with his team at Argonne Nuclear Laboratories (ANL), were engaged by NASA to specify teleoperator configurations for the Lunar space program. The result is illustrated above.

It should be noted that floating vehicles share one problem. This is their inability to stay immobile relative to the object on which they must act. Hence, they are equipped with docking arms, other than the manipulator(s) directly intended to execute the task, to attach them to the object of their task, whether this is another satellite or an underwater oil platform.

Earlier 1949 Mechanical Manipulator by Goertz.




Ray Goertz with his prototype manipulators.




See other early Teleoperators, Exoskeletons and Industrial Robots here.

1954 – “Homko” Robot Remote-controlled Lawnmower – (American)

Want to lie in your hammock and mow the lawn in repose? The Homko Robot mower can be maneuvered by a remote control panel, one lever for forward, stop and reverse, and another for right and left. Since the cord that attaches this brain to the mower is 40 feet long, you can mow 40 feet in any direction without getting up. You get exercise just the same—mental-from trying to keep the thing from cutting its own cord.
Text Source: Kiplinger's Personal Finance, April 1954.

See other early remote-controlled and robotic lawn mowers here.


1954 – Radio-controlled Lawnmower – William M. Brobeck (American)

William "Bill" M. Brobeck  joined the UC Berkeley lab in 1937 and moved several years later to Orinda with his late wife, Jane Knox.
Their home became a local landmark in the mid-1950s, after Mr. Brobeck used his engineering talents to build an automatic lawn mower.
Neighborhood kids would gather outside the couple's backyard to watch the lawn mower effortlessly trim two large patches of grass. Mr. Brobeck had buried wires beneath the lawn that guided the automatic mower.
After leaving the Berkeley lab in 1957, Mr. Brobeck formed his own engineering company, Brobeck & Associates, and later founded the Cyclotron Corp. in 1965. The Cyclotron Corp. helped create practical uses for cyclotrons in cancer treatment and other medical uses.
He retired in 1988, holding 22 patents and an honorary degree from UC Berkeley.
Mr. Brobeck is survived by his wife, Gloria Brown Brobeck of Orinda; a son, Bill Brobeck of Moraga; two daughters, Kathy Brobeck of Massachusetts and Betts Coury of Oregon; and two grandchildren.

Brobeck's professional interests and bursting ingenuity extended way beyond the field of accelerator design. In 1972, for instance, he was hired by the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop pollution-free vehicles. Even in his retirement years Brobeck continued to design gadgets that made him as famous in his neighborhood as accelerators did in the world of science. Among them: an automated lawn mower that could start up by itself, head out onto the lawn and mow it before going back, turning itself off and recharging its battery. He also invented an automatic record changer and a car that ran on both gas and electricity.

The May 1955 issue of Popular Mechanics (p155)  featured William Brobeck's lawn mower.

Self-Guided Mower Follows Electrical Cord Laid in Lawn
Electrical cord laid in the lawn guides an automatic lawn mower built by William Brobeck of Orinda, Calif. Separate motors supplied by another cord attached to a reel on the mower drive the two wheels. Each motor is connected to a coil that picks up the induced current from the electric cord. The coils, wound in opposite directions, cancel each other out if the mower exactly straddles the electric cord. If the mower goes off to one side, one of the motors is checked long enough to bring the machine back into line. The mower, which will cut an entire lawn without attention, cuts alternate swaths as it moves in toward the center of the lawn and mows the remaining portions on its return trip. Additional coils, an audio amplifier, a transformer, sensitive switches and relays are used in the system.

Bill's son William I. Brobeck has followed in his father's footstep by designing and patenting an automatic tennis court drying machine:

US 7454846 B2

Publication number US7454846 B2
Publication date Nov 25, 2008
Filing date Apr 10, 2007
Priority date Apr 11, 2006


An apparatus and method for automatically drying a tennis court or other flat surface after rainfall is provided. A robotic vehicle cooperates with a sensing unit preferably mounted on a fence adjacent the court or other paved surface. A sensing unit detects the onset and cessation of rain and then waits a predetermined amount of time. After waiting, the sensing unit transmits a signal to the robotic vehicle which actuates the vehicle. The robotic vehicle includes an on-board controller which is internally programmed with a map of the court including obstructions. The robotic vehicle automatically sponge rolls the entire court. A thermal imaging camera connected to the sensing unit then scans the court to determine if any wet spots remain. The location of any remaining wet spots is recorded and transmitted to the on-board controller of the robotic vehicle. The robotic vehicle then returns to the location of the wet spots and automatically sponge rolls and fan dries those remaining wet spots. The robotic vehicle then returns to a storage unit on or adjacent the paved surface where it is recharged and waits for further use.

See other early remote-controlled and robotic lawn mowers here.