Posts Tagged ‘1960’

1960 – SOLARIS – Mechanical Crab – Jack Green (American)

SOLARIS – Submerged Object Locating And Retrieving/Identification System is a vehicle built by Vitro Laboratories for the U. S. Navy.

It can be used down to 650 foot depths and is controlled by a surface vessel through a cable. A toggle action claw is attached to the underside of the vehicle. It is designed to clamp cylindrical objects such as nose cones, torpedoes and mines. The claw is designed to retrieve objects weighing up to 5000 pounds in water. The claw is hydraulically operated through a toggle linkage. The over-center locking action of the toggle linkage provides maximum clamping pressure while minimizing the possibility of accidental release. SOLARIS can be fitted with different claws for special tasks. A servo valve controls the hydraulic power for the claw. A fifteen horsepower electric motor drives a hydraulic pump, rated at 3000 psi, which supplies the power for all the equipment on the vehicle. A TV system is used for viewing the undersea environment.

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WORKING MODEL in photo above shows propellers for maneuvering, claw for grasping, and octopus-like body that houses electric motor to power both. Prototype will descend 850 feet, far deeper than human divers; later versions of Solaris will go down into the ocean as deep as two-fifths of a mile.

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PAINTING IN FOLDOUT AT RIGHT [above] depicts Solaris at work salvaging wrecked plane—one of its many possible missions. See reverse side of foldout [below] for Solaris' various components and how the huge robot will be controlled from operator's console on the surface.

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Mechanical Crab to Search Ocean Depths [Source: POPULAR SCIENCE, JULY 1960]
With an arm 2,000 feet long, TV-camera eyes, and a claw that can clamp onto a 2 1/2-ton load, the giant robot Solaris is a treasure-hunter's dream come true
By Devon Francis
DRAWINGS BY BOB McCALL
SOMETIME late this fall, a U.S. Navy boat in Puget Sound will drop overside, on a couple of cables, one of the strangest contraptions ever lowered to the ocean's depths. On its top will be a brace of propellers, at its middle a sphere, at one side a television camera flanked by lights, and on its bottom a claw.
The thing will be called Solaris. It will be the underwater treasure-hunter's dream come true.
Imagine sitting high and dry on the deck of a boat, and having at your command an arm more than 2,000 feet long to pick up whatever suited your fancy from the ocean floor —plus eyes to scan thousands of square yards of it.
Now under construction in Silver Spring, Md., for experimental torpedo recovery for the Navy, Solaris will be unmanned. In prototype, it is designed to descend to 650 feet, but it can be adapted to go down as far as two-fifths of a mile. That's 1,750 feet below the average safe working depth of a human diver.
Solaris is designed to do everything that a human diver can do, and more.
The propellers are for maneuvering. The sphere is the power unit. The TV camera gives underwater eyes to an operator aboard the launching ship. The claw is for retrieving anything that the operator wants on the ocean bottom—including sunken treasure.
Solaris (Submerged Object Locating and Retrieving/ Identification System) is versatile. It can go exploring, covering 1,400,000 square yards of ocean floor at a depth of 2,000 feet.
It can perform such prosaic tasks as inspecting channel bottoms, ship keels, bridge pilings, and submarine cables. It can clamp and bring to the surface objects weighing as much as 2 1/2 tons. It can place explosive charges, and then back off and detonate them.
One of its possible uses is recovery of pieces of rockets fired from Cape Canaveral and destroyed in flight because of deviation from course. Skin divers have to do this now.
The Vitro Corp., which is building Solaris to specifications outlined by Jack Green, project engineer at the Naval Torpedo Station, Keyport, Wash., knows it can perform all these duties because a preceding device already has demonstrated it. What might be called the daddy of Solaris was developed, also, for the Navy. Its missions are classified.
One of the two cables is the lifeline of the snoopy Solaris. This cable lets it down and pulls it up. Solaris' second cable is its nervous system. Through this, the operator topside issues commands for the thing to crawfish this way and that, to rise a bit or descend, to clamp onto a prize, to drive studs into steel plating, or to plant explosives.
The second cable also carries current for lights that illuminate the inky reaches of the deep, and it transmits the TV signals to a screen so the operator can see what he's doing.
Sitting at a console, the operator taps the second cable for information on heading, depth, height above bottom, propeller r.p.m., amount of illumination, and what Solaris' claws (or one of its substitute fitments) are up to.
That second cable, carrying the electrical lines, must be strong enough to take some tension, yet flexible enough to bend and twist while the vehicle is scrounging around on its boggle-eyed missions.
The sphere (a sort of octopus body inside Solaris' working ganglia) houses a 10-horsepower electric motor. It turns a hydraulic pump that supplies power not only for propulsion but also for the claw. To keep everything shipshape, the watertight sphere contains a leak detector and depth-measuring sonar.
How is works. To maneuver the vehicle, the operator has only to turn on the propellers and vary their speed. They are driven hydraulically through gearing that is essentially like an automobile differential.
The first cable is only a leash. Under the thrust provided by the propellers, Solaris strains against its hold. That's the secret of the depth control. The propellers' pitch can be varied to increase or decrease the thrust. Balancing off that thrust against the pull of the leash controls the height of Solaris above sea bottom.
The forces involved are the same as those in water skiing—with enough tension on the towing line, a skier planes on top of the water. When the tension drops the skier sinks.
The depth control is mostly automatic. The operator at the console on shipboard knows the topography of the ocean floor and at what depth he wants Solaris to operate. He turns a knob to get proper propeller thrust against cable tension.
Inside Solaris' sphere is a simple strain gauge to measure the pressure of the water. If the height isn't right, a signal travels back along the electrical cable to a servo motor on a winch that the leash-cable wraps around. The servo motor boosts or decreases tension on the leash-cable, as the situation demands.
But what if the console operator discovers on his TV screen that Solaris is on the brink of an ocean-floor trench that it must get into to do its job? The operator simply feeds a signal to the strain gauge that, in effect, reduces its sensitivity. The gauge telegraphs the motor winch, the cable tension is reduced, and Solaris drifts down into the trench.
Through the second cable also flow console commands for maneuvering right or left by changing the pitch on one propeller or the other.
It was Vitro's success in designing the second cable that led to the idea for Solaris. The company produced a torpedo for the Navy that trailed a long control cable behind it when it was shot from its tube. Directions fed through the cable to the torpedo's steering mechanism guided it precisely to its target. Solaris was a logical adaptation.
The Vitro people see no end of usefulness to Solaris. As a seeing-eye robot below the waves, it could discover a new shrimp bed, examine a faulty ship's propeller, or—who knows?—even retrieve long-sunken chests of Spanish doubloons.


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UNDERSEA ROBOTS By JOHN KRILL
Depth hidden ocean secrets may someday be an "open book" to scientists through further development of machines that are already performing scores of impressive underwater functions……..

Shown on the cover and on page 44 of this issue of S&M is the Vitro Corporation's SOLARIS, a claw-equipped robot, at work recovering a torpedo at a depth of 1620 feet.

Solaris has propellers that are driven at a constant speed of 420 rpm. By varying the pitch of the propeller blades, ship-board operators can adjust the thrust of each propeller from 250 pounds positive to 200 pounds negative. It has a maximum forward speed of about three mph after overcoming the drag of its lengthy connecting cables.

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Source: Holland Evening Sentinel 18 July, 1960
MECHANICAL CRAB — An extremely facile device to retrieve spent torpedoes, small missiles and other metallic debris from the ocean floor is being perfected for the government by a Washington scientific laboratory.
Named the "Solaris," the device weighs 500 pounds, but can lift objects weighing up to three and one-half tons from the ocean floor. Its key piece of equipment is a television camera that enables operators on surface ships to "see" what lies in front of the device as it traverses the ocean floor at about 1 1/2 knots.
Solaris is equipped with a variety of "claws" for holding objects. It can pick up a spent torpedo, a missile casing or underwater pipes. It can also plant explosives and even fire a connecting stud into an unwieldy object so a cable can be attached.
An electro-magnet can be attached for gathering scrap metal and there is a grapple for netting. There are brilliant lamps that can be used  to chart the ocean floor or help inspect underwater operations.
Work on the device has cost the government many thousands of dollars, but it is expected to pay for itself many times over.


See other early Underwater Robots here.


1958 – RUM – Remote Underwater Manipulator – Victor Anderson (American)

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RUM – Remote Underwater Manipulator

Press Release: U.S. Navy reveals new remote control vehicle for exploring ocean bottom.: A unique remote control undersea vehicle for exploring and conducting scientific studies of the ocean bottom for prolonged periods at great depths has been developed for the Office of Naval Research. The new vehicle was demonstrated for the Press off the shore of La Jolla, California, May 16. 1960. The vehicle is essentially a tank equipped with a long jointed manipulator arm and hand together with specially devised underwater television cameras which serve as the eyes of the vehicle's operator on shore. The development of the Remote Underwater Manipulator was directed by Dr. Victor Anderson of the Marine Physical laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at La Jolla for use in co-operation with the Hudson Laboratory of Columbia University. The goal of the Navy R.U.M. developments is to have available a vehicle capable of performing controlled work functions is oceanographic research. This includes observation of the sea floor, the collection of samples and specimens and the assembly and installation of deep bottom-mounted instrumentation in the ocean. R.U.M. (Remote Underwater Manipulator) can operate at depths down to 20,000 feet, maintained a speed of 3 miles per hour where level bottom soil conditions permit. It can manoeuvre and operate on grades of 60 percent and is capable of climbing a vertical obstacle 12 inches in height. It is seen here returning from ocean floor during tests.


Source: SIO Reference 60-26
MPL EXPERIMENTAL RUM
Victor C. Anderson, University of California, La Jolla Marine Physical Laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography San Diego 52, California
Abstract
An experimental Remote Underwater Manipulator constructed at the Marine Physical Laboratory is described. Features of the design which permit operation at deep submergence in the ocean over 5 miles of small coaxial cable are discussed. Pertinent electronic circuits are shown and their general operation outlined.
Introduction
In November of 1958 the Marine Physical Laboratory undertook the construction of an experimental Remote Underwater Manipulator (RUM) as a part of a task, under Contract Nonr 2216 with the Office of Naval Research. It was felt that by the adoption of a suitable design philosophy such a device, capable of operating at great depths, could be built utilizing, to a large extent, standard commercial components. Operating from a fixed installation over a length of several miles of control cable, the RUM would permit a significant increase in underwater installation work capability and a reduction of the required complexity of bottom-mounted oceanographic instrumentation.
The first tests of the MPL RUM were carried out in the San Diego Bay in May of 1959. The first ocean test was made on 5 May 1960.
This initial report covers the RUM design and construction in a manner which will outline the problems arising during its construction and describe their solution as well as present the philosophy followed in the design.

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The manipulator for the MPL RUM was obtained from General Mills as a complete assembly ready for installation in the rear compartment. As may be seen in Figure 20 it consists of a model 500 manipulator arm mounted on the end of an articulating boom which has three degrees of freedom: base rotation, lower boom elevation and elbow elevation between lower and upper boom. The manipulator itself has the standard set of 5 motions: shoulder rotation, shoulder pivot, elbow pivot, wrist rotate and hand grip. These functions, combined with power on-off, fast-slow and forward-reverse control, require 18 of the off-on control channels. The manipulator capabilities are as follows:
Gross lifting capability with hook . . .     1500 lbs at 10 ft
Maximum outreach . . .                        15 ft
Manipulator lifting capability . . .            500 lbs
Wrist torque . . .                                  100 ft -lbs
Hand closing force . . .                         100 lbs
The manipulator arm itself is powered by dc motors while the boom operates from a hydraulic system position servo-coupled to dc control motors.
Hull Construction
The MPL RUM has been built on the basic hull and track assembly of an M-50 self-propelled rifle or "Ontos," provided for this purpose. The Ontos was stripped and reworked to provide four compartments as shown in Figure 9 above.

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Interesting in the above artist's conception is the adaption of a helicopter device to allow RUM to swim over rough spots.

Source: Popular Mechanics, December 1960.

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Underwater robot to explore ocean floor
Console has controls and four TV screens.
Control van is linked to RUM by cable.

The Navy has added a robot hand, sonar, and four television cameras to a rebuilt Marine tank. RUM—for Remote Underwater Manipulator—is a sort of poor man's Solaris [PS, July]. Cost of the project: $250,000. The interior of the tank has been sealed against water and filled with oil in which two 71/2-hp. electric motors run immersed: one to move each of the two tracks.
The vehicle is linked to a mobile van on shore by a coaxial cable long enough to permit operation five miles out and 20,000 feet under the sea. The cable carries power to the motors, TV cameras, mercury-vapor lamps that light the deeps for the cameras, telemetering channels, and a mechanical hand that can pick up objects ranging from a piece of kelp to a forecastle section.
Designs exist for a similar vehicle of aluminum. Future RUMs would weigh several thousand pounds less, says the Navy, and would be more reliable. Source: Popular Science, Aug, 1960.

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The Remote Underwater Manipulator (RUM) was first intended to work alone, crawling about on the sea floor at depths down to 6,000 meters to gather objects and samples, to take photographs, and to install deep-sea instruments. Victor C. Anderson began assembling it in 1958, starting with a Marine Corps self-propelled rifle carrier; to this he added a boom and a steel claw that could be pivoted in any direction out to about five meters to pick up objects. The gasoline engine was replaced with a pair of heavy electric motors in an oil-filled compartment. Sonar was installed, and a powerful light and four television cameras for sea-floor surveillance from a portable shore station (actually a bus). Power for RUM and sensor signals were provided by way of a coaxial cable 8,000 meters long. Early tests in shallow water were only moderately successful, and RUM was set aside for other projects. Source: here.

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Selection of 15 images of RUM from University of Southern California. Libraries.

Title:     Remote underwater manipulation test (United States Navy), 1960-05-16.
Description:   Remote underwater manipulation test (United States Navy). May 16 1960. Howard Humphrey; Howard McQueen; Doctor Victor Anderson (project director); Bill Clay.; Caption slip reads: "Photographer: Snow. Date: 1960-05-16. Reporter: Henley. Assignment: RUM. Series of pictures of RUM going out to sea until it is completely submerged. Arm of RUM in sand after it broke down. Howard Humphrey and Howard McQueen, with hat, putting on arm in control van. Dr. Victor Anderson, project director; Bill Clay, closest to camera. Dr. Victor Anderson standing beside RUM on beach".
Photographer:     Snow

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Selected images of RUM from Time-Life Collection. Photographer is Ralph Crane. 1960.

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Dr. Victor Anderson.

A view of the Navy's remote underwater m

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RUM II

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ORB and RUM are a pair of MPL vehicles that often work as a team. By December 1967, ORB (Ocean Research Buoy) had been developed as a platform for suspending equipment and particularly as a service vehicle for RUM. ORB is a barge 45 feet by 65 feet with a large center well through which the ten-ton RUM is operated by means of a constant-tension winch. It has two laboratories, a galley and messhall, and sleeping quarters for twelve people. “Loading RUM is a somewhat unconventional operation,” its designers wrote. “RUM is first lowered to the bottom of the bay by a crane. Then ORB is moved to a position over RUM, divers attach the strain cable, and RUM is lifted up through the well doors.” Unconventional or not, it does work. RUM has been used for taking cores at depths down to 1,900 meters, for measurements of sediment properties in place, for underwater photography, for recovering equipment at depths down to 1,260 meters, and for sampling deep-sea biological communities. It has the advantage of being able to stay on the sea floor at work much longer than manned submersibles. On one of its earliest sea trials, in 1970, RUM placed two small sonar reflectors on the sea floor, crawled away from them, and returned to find and retrieve them. It also found a third sea-floor object:  … a can of a well-known brand of stewed tomatoes. … The can was found to be the dwelling of a small and very frightened octopus. We feel [said RUM’s inventors] that this is one of the first times that a mobile biological specimen has been selectively retrieved by a remotely controlled manipulator as well as record of the first sea-going anti-pollution effort by such a unit.

Anderson also developed the Benthic Laboratory, first used as a communications center for Sealab II in 1965. The laboratory housed electronic equipment. Source: here.

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RUM (Remote Underwater Manipulator) – This series of seafloor work vehicles included RUM II, a remotely controlled, tracked vehicle which was developed under the sponsorship of the Office of Naval Research at the Marine Physical Laboratory for use as a research tool in sea floor technology experiments, and to establish design criteria for future sea floor technology systems. RUM III, which combines seafloor search and work capabilities, is in the development phase.
RUM II provided detailed information on vehicle trafficability, remote manipulation, navigation, cable telemetry systems, effect of ambient pressure on electronics, and environmental and mechanical design considerations. Design depth for the vehicle is 2,400 meters. Extensive operations have been carried out in a variety of locations of diverse bottom characteristics within 120 km radius from San Diego. Depth of operations has ranged from 30 to 1800 meters. Operational tasks carried out on the sea floor have included search and recovery, implantment of instruments, biological studies, vehicle trafficability studies, navigation exercises, collection of samples, and the measurement of the engineering properties of sea floor sediments. During operations, RUM was launched through the well on ORB and lowered to the sea floor. A pair of divers were used in the launch and recovery of the vehicle to connect and disconnect snubbing cables. Electrical power, telemetry for control and instrumentation, and signals for sonar, navigation aids and television were transmitted over the single coaxial umbilical cable connecting the RUM to ORB.
The vehicle was propelled by two independently controlled reversible 15.6 KW direct current motors, one driving each track. Other equipment included three television cameras, ten 500-watt quartz iodide lights, two 600-watt mercury vapor lights, color movie and still cameras, an obstacle avoidance scanning sonar with a 25-meter range, a high resolution search sonar with a 200-meter range, up- and down-looking depth sounders, a magnetic compass, listening hydrophones, acoustic transponder navigation system and a manipulator capable of exerting 22 kg of force in any direction.

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ORB (Oceanographic Research Buoy) – ORB, a 21 x 14 meter rectangular shaped vessel displacing approximately 330 tons, was developed by the Marine Physical Laboratory to serve projects at the laboratory which require the launch, retrieval, implantation or handling of large equipment or systems in the open ocean. In contrast to FLIP, ORB is designed to follow the sea surface as closely as possible, in order to simplify the task of placing and retrieving large objects in the ocean. The vessel has a center well of 9- by 6-meter area which can be opened to permit the lowering of equipment through it, using a cable-tensioning system to minimize vertical motions. The well doors when closed provide a dry work space and will safely support a weight of 12,000 kg. Loads up to 12 tons can be lowered to a maximum depth of 2,000 meters. ORB is 8 meters high from keel to upper deck. It has no means of self propulsion and must be towed to and from operating areas. In addition to laboratory work spaces and machinery space, ORB is equipped with complete living facilities for 20 people including five crew members.
ORB, during her first ten years of operation in support of over a dozen different projects, has been moored at over 20 sites ranging up to 400 km off the southern California coast and at depths from 30 to over 4,000 meters.


There is a RUM III but I have no image of it.


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CABLE WINDING MECHANISM
Publication number    US3168261
Publication date    2 Feb 1965
Filing date    29 Mar 1963
Inventor:    William H. Hainer
Original Assignee    General Mills Inc

This invention relates to a cable winding mechanism, and more particularly to an apparatus for use on a remotely controlled vehicle, such as an underwater reconnaissance vehicle, to automatically reel in or pay out a control or power cable for the vehicle as it travels a course.

It is a general object of the present invention to provide such a cable winding mechanism which is relatively simple and compact, which performs reliably, which, when reeling cable in, properly winds the cable in even multiple layers upon a spool or drum, and, when paying out cable, properly dispenses the cable from said drum, and which, in reeling in and paying out cable, does so independently of the travel of the vehicle, by making the winding action of the drum responsive to tension on the cable.

In conjunction with this above-mentioned object is the further object of providing such a cable winding mechanism especially adapted for use in a remotely controlled underwater reconnaissance vehicle that is designed to travel over rough terrain of the ocean floor at relatively great depths (i.e. 500 feet or more) and be able to follow a relatively complex course over such terrain.

It is believed a clearer understanding of the apparatus to which the present invention relates, and of the problems which the invention purports to alleviate will be obtained by first describing briefly an underwater vehicle of the type for which the present invention is especially adapted and the problems in its operation.

Such a vehicle has a chassis which rests on a pair of tracks by which the vehicle is able to propel itself along the ocean floor. Pivotally connected to the chassis are a set of upstanding struts the upper ends :of which are pivotally connected to a set of tanks which impart a lifting or buoying force to the vehicle. By properly moving these tanks by means of the supporting struts, the vehicles center of buoyancy is placed over its center of gravity, and the entire vehicle is better able to be stabilized [on its tracks so that it can travel over steeply sloped surfaces. Also, both the chassis and the tanks are provided with propellers to power the vehicle above the ocean floor, submarine fashion, in the event that it is desired to pass over a crevasse or other obstacle.

The vehicle is both controlled and powered electrically, this being accomplished by an electric cable leading from the vehicle to a suitable power and control source, such as a surface ship or possibly a shore station. While the vehicle, during a reconnaissance mission, may be following a maze-like course over the ocean floor, the cable will sometimes slide sideways over the ocean floor or become snagged on obstructions or vegetation. Since the cable has a total length of perhaps five miles, it may become strung out over the ocean floor along a rather unpredictable and complex path, quite different from that which the vehicle has travelled. Thus, there arise particular problems in reeling in the cable under these conditions, among such problems being that of guarding against the vehicle itself cutting across and severing the cable. it is for effective operations under conditions such as these that my invention purports to provide a practical cable winding apparatus.


The General Mills Model 150 Manipulator Arm

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The General Mills' Model 150 Manipulator. See also General Mills technology described here.

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Harold "Bud" Froehlich

The dream of building a manned deep ocean research submersible first started to move toward reality on February 29, 1956. Allyn Vine of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) attended a symposium in Washington, where participants drafted a resolution that the U.S. develop a national program for manned undersea vehicles. From this beginning the community eventually obtained the Trieste bathyscaphe, but it was quite large and not very maneuverable – a better craft was needed.

In 1960, Charles Momsen, head of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), petitioned for scientists to rent a submersible with ONR funds, and found WHOI investigators interested. In the spring of 1962, after unsuccessful negotiations with various submersible builders to rent a sub, Vine and others at Woods Hole went and requested bids to buy a small submersible based on drawings made by Bud Froehlich for a vehicle he called the Seapup. General Mills won the bid for $472,517 for an unnamed 6,000-foot submersible. Source: here.


See other early Underwater Robots here.


1960 – KOELSCH Mobile Manipulator – William A. Koelsch Jr. (American)

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1960 – KOELSCH Mobile Manipulator

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The JPL KOELSCH Robot system (Fig. 2) contains two identical arms mounted on a common shoulder link supported  by a vertical post. The post is fitted to a small tread platform. The common shoulder link can be rotated about and raised along the vertical axis of the post. Relative to the common shoulder link, each arm has six basic motion capabilities (six degrees-of-freedom): horizontal shoulder rotation, vertical shoulder swing, vertical elbow swing, vertical wrist swing, head rotation, and hand grip. All joint motions are independent and can be operated individually or simultaneously in any direction. The servo system has both manual and computer control modes. The manua; control is conventional rate control for each joint drive. The computer provides position control, but the drive servo loops are analog. Manual and computer control modes of operation are mutually exclusive. For remote control experiments, the Koelsch manipulator is equipped with the dual TV system mounted on the common shoulder link. The TV base has pan and tilt mechanisms. The identification of object coordinates is performed by the use of a curson in the video display frame. Several sets of control experiments have been performed using the JPL KOELSCH Robot arm also using proximity sensors in both manual and computer control modes.

Source: JPL Technical Memorandum 33-721. Jan 1, 1975

There is also a paper on this Mobile Manipulator: MOBILE MANIPULATOR, J. A. Brown, Esso Research and Engineering Company, Linden, New Jersey, William A. Koelsch, Jr., Koelsch Electronic Development Company, Boise, Idaho (USA)


See other early Teleoperators here.


1960 – “Minotaur” Remote Manipulator – General Mills (American)

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 The Los Alamos Minotaur—presumably so called because of its bull-like strength and man-like arms—is an exception to the statement that electrical unilateral manipulator arms are used singly (fig. 108 below). A pair of manipulator arms plus a second pair of adjustable arms holding lights and TV cameras protrude from a sphere-like turret supported from above by a bridge-crane carriage. The Minotaur was originally built to Los Alamos specification by General Mills, Inc. A representative application is the maintenance of radioactive equipment in the shielded bay containing the Los Alamos UHTREX (Ultra High Temperature Reactor Experiment).

 The Minotaur now incorporates PaR Model 3500 with a capacity of 50 pounds in any configuration. The hand grip is adjustable between 0 and 75 pounds. Minotaur's overhead access to the working area by means of a telescoping support tube and the bridge-crane carriage is almost mandatory in the UHTREX application because the working area is a maze of large and small components, pipes, and many electrical conduits. Without an overhead mobile teleoperator with TV cameras, much of the work space would be inaccessible for months.

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The Minotaur is presumably so called because of its bull-like strength, man-like arms and because the working area is a maze of large and small components, pipes, and many electrical conduits.


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To provide a higher degree of assurance that maintenance functions can be performed, a remote maintenance machine is required, having a capability of working within the highest radiation fields expected during shutdown. The proposed device, called "Minotaur I," is illustrated in Fig. 7, and will be suspended from an overhead bridge crane on a telescoping vertical column. The machine will be equipped with TV viewing cameras and two mechanical arms, equivalent to the General Mills Model 150 manipulator.


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The Minotaur originally had General Mills Model 150 manipulator arms. The specifications can be seen above. For UHTREX (Ultra High Temperature Reactor Experiment), the Minotaur upgraded to PaR Model 3500 arms. [PaR for Programmed and Remote Systems, was the spin-off of the manipulator arms division of General Mills.]


See other early Teleoperators here.


1960 – Space Manipulators – General Mills (American)

Donald F. Melton
MECHANICAL DIVISION
GENERAL MILLS. INC
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

INTRODUCTION
Remote-handling systems can be defined as combinations of equipment the primary purpose of which is to move items relative to each other in a controlled environment. The system is includes not only the actuators and structures required for the physical tasks to be performed, but also in viewing, sensing, control, and power systems necessary for operation. In a broad sense, this definition includes the overall vehicle system.
There undoubtedly well be complete space vehicles devoted entirely to remote-handling missions. In a more limited sense, the remote-handling system will be a subsystem integrated into  the overall system in terms of power supply, communication and control links, and compatible configuration.
The items to be handled may be separable remotely from the handling equipment — as, for example, a powered tool-or may be permantly attached to it-for example, an integrated television camera.
Remote can be considered to be any location beyond the human operator’s reach. Remote-handling required where the operational environment is not suitable for occupancy or when the objects to be handled and the distance they are to be moved are beyond the force and reach capabilities of a man.
The environmental conditions in space, as well as on the moon and most, if not all, of the planets,
are such as to make direct human contact impossible. Remote-handling equipment will be required.
The potential applications for remmoe-handling equipment in space are many, and can be said to include any of the manipulative tasks done directly by a person under normal conditions.
ARM-HAND WORK TASKS
A listing of specific space tasks would be long and would be incomplete within a short time, as new missions are determined. Instead of this detail listing, the work tasks normally done by a person’s arm and hand, which will probably be performed by remote-handling systems in space (see figures 1,2, and 3), can be categorized basically into:
a. Grasping and holding— e.g., grasping and holding one space vehicle from another (figure 1)
b. Transferring -e.g., transferring a power supply from a support vehicle to an operational vehicle (figure 2)
c. Orienting -e.g., orienting a television camera to view an approaching object (figure 2)
d. Guiding —e.g.. guiding a cutting device to gain entry into another object (figure 2)
e. Applying of forces and torques—e.g., applylng a force to insert or pull shear pins, or a torque to tighten or loosen bolts in the orbital assembly of a space station (figure 1)
f. Sensing of forces, temperature, roughness, hardness, etc. —e.g., sensing the hardness of a foreign object by means of a manipulator-held sensing device (figure 1)

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS
The design considerations important to remote-handling equipment for use in space include careful analyses of and provision for the environmental conditions to be met in space as well as during prelaunch and launch conditions.
Temperature
The temperature at which the equipment will operate in space is determined by the radiation balance of the equipment, the vehicle on which it is mounted, the sun, and any other mass close enough and with sufficient temperature difference to be significant, as well as any heat generated within the equipment. “Hot” and “cold” radiation zones in the spherical angle surrounding the equipment can be used to advantage. Selective coating of the external surfaces can be used to control the internal temperature. Lunar- or planet-based operation imposes a more severe problem than in space because of the strong ground effect.
A directed or collimated thermal antenna can be of value in selecting desirable radiation zones. Thermal insulation is advantageous in reducing fluctuations in temperature as the radiation field changes.
With existing high- and low-temperature components and materials, and with proper design for temperature regulation, satisfactory operation can be obtained. In special cases, materials can be selected to operate satisfactorily without special temperature-control devices.
Pressure
The high-vacuum operation encountered poses a considerable design problem in providing suitable bearings and mechanisms and the lubrication for them. Three approaches to this problem are: (a) to seal the housings in which the bearings and mechanisms are contained to enable conventional lubricants to be used, (b) to use low vapor-pressure lubricants which will operate in the vacuum for the required time, and (c) to use bearings and mechanisms that require no lubricants.
High-Energy Radiation
The radiation levels as established to date do not pose serious problems.
Micrometeorite Collision
The impact and erosion levels do not appear serious. The change in emissivity of surfaces used for temperature control, due to erosion, can be anticipated and provided for.

GENERAL DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Reliability
The reliability requirement is of prime importance and is best obtained by basic simplicity. Complex designs must be avoided.
Weight and Efficiency
Because of the high cost per pound of placing a system in space, the weight must be a minimum commensurate with the high reliability required. The power required to operate the remote-handling equipment, and therefore chargeable to it, can be expressed in terms of weight, either as pounds per watt-hour in the case of energy-storing or fuel-consuming devices, or as pounds per watt-hour for regenerative supplies such as solar cells. High efficiency throughout is required to minimize the power-weight requirement.

Source: “Survey of Remote Handling in Space”, D. Frederick Baker,  USAF, 1962


In the 1950’s, General Mills, yes, the American breakfast food and cereal company, built materials handling equipment. Their success and novel designs led them to build remote-handling manipulators for the then new nuclear industry. Some senior engineers spun off this division to become Programmed and Remote Systems (PaR Systems). Their success and expertise was such that they were invited to propose space manipulators.   I will later add some posts on Gen Mills and PaR Systems regarding their still successful line of remote-handling manipulator arms.


Trivia: Image in figure 2 above seems to have been borrowed from an illustration from the children’s book “Space Flight The Coming Exploration of the Universe”, published by Golden Press, New York, 1959 seen down the bottom of this post here.


See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.