Posts Tagged ‘1960’

1958-62 – “VERSATRAN” Industrial Robot – Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

versatran AMF bw x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

In 1958, the American Machine and Foundry (AMF) Thermatool Corporation (later known as AMF Corporation, later acquired by Prab Company of Michigan)  initiated an R&D project for a Versatile Transfer Machine, or VERSATRAN, a programmable cylindrical coordinate frame robotic arm designed by Harry Johnson and Veljko Milenkovic. AMF introduced Model 102, a continuous-path transfer device, and Model 212, a point-to-point transfer device, in 1962. 

AUTOMATIC HANDLING EQUIPMENT CALLED 'VERSATRAN'.

 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

3243.02 | AUTOMATIC HANDLING EQUIPMENT CALLED 'VERSATRAN'. (1:02:10:00 – 1:05:52:00) 1967
Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Date found in the old record – 23/02/1967.

Various shots of the 'Versatran' – an artificial arm and a hand construction grab which is controlled from large panels. Developed in the USA by American Machine & Foundry Company. The grab is seen picking up a large bobbin and placing it in a box. The control panel can be programmed in advance so the grab can be operated in advance. Demonstration by Mr D C Hall.


versatran point to point x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

versatran continuous path x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

It was only in 1967 that the Tokyo Machinery Trading Co. in  Japan imports and sells the first industrial robot, a Versatran from AMF, Inc.  Britain aquires its first Industrial Robot, a Versatran, in 1967, by Douglas Hall, as seen in the video clip above.  

RISE OF THE ROBOTS by George Sullivan 1971

A second industrial robot arrived upon the scene in 1963. Manufactured by a division of AMF Thermatool, Inc., this robot is called the Versatran ( from versatile transfer ). It is characterized by a sturdy horizontal arm coupled to a six-foot vertical steel column which is mounted on a rectangular base.
Although they [Unimate] are different in appearance, the Versatran robot and the Unimate have many similarities. Both can handle objects weighing over 150 pounds. Both are built to last for forty thousand working hours. They sell for about the same price, approximately $25,000 [1971].

Industrial Robots at Work
Industrial robots do work of every imaginable type. They spray-paint automobile engines and spot-weld auto bodies. They stack brick and pluck hot parts from presses and die-casting machines.
What the robot does depends on its program. With the Versatran robot, there are two types of program controls. One is called point-to-point control and is the type used for relatively simple jobs. The other, for more complex tasks, is called continuous-path program control.
When programming a point-to-point control operation, the arm movements and functions to be performed are first drawn on a piece of paper. Then this sequence of "orders" is translated into electronic signals. Short lengths of metal-tipped wires, known as "patch cords," are inserted into the holes of a small, black pegboard, called a "patchboard," to correspond to the written orders.
The programmed patchboard locks into the robot's console panel. The board's contacts connect with memory-storing and command devices known as "potentiometers." Once the potentiometers have been adjusted for the various arm positions in the cycle, the machine is ready to operate. The robot user may own several patchboards, each programmed for a different job.
Programming the Versatran robot for "continuous path" operation is a matter of "teaching" the machine the proper motions to follow. A switch in the console is set for "program." The operator then leads the robot arm through all the motions it will later assume on its own. Gripper commands are also acted out. These signals are automatically recorded on magnetic tapes within the control console. There are fifteen minutes of program time available on each of the two reels of tape the console contains.
The Unimate is programmed in similar fashion—by moving the robot arm through the desired sequence of operation. The sequence registers in the machine's memory unit. Once the robot arm has been "taught" a program, it will follow the prescribed set of operations over and over.
"There's no mystery to programming," says one user. "It doesn't even require a mechanical background, much less a knowledge of electronics."
The job the robot is programmed to do may involve several individual tasks.

See Harry Johnson and Veljko Milenkovic related US patents US3212649, US3241020 and US3298006.

versatran x x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

Versatran  0001 x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

versatran 0011 x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

versatran 0001 x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

versatran (2) x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

MosherSciAmP2 x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

Veljko Milenkovic x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

See Milenkovic tribute and mention of Versatran development here.


VERSATRAN robot in the 1971 movie "Silent Running"

silent running versatran 3 x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

The "billiard's" playing robot is actually an AMF Versatran industrial robot.

silent running versatran 4 x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

Regarding "Silent Running", for a 1972 movie, the Versatran was still considered a state-of-the-art industrial robot.

Versatran base SR x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

Two interchangeable end-effectors are shown, a gripper for loading/depositing billiard balls, and a pneumatic "cue" to strike the ball (below). The standard two-fingered Versatran gripper picks up a B.A.S.E.(tm) 3-fingered gripped to deposit the balls. Another small continuity error in that when picking up the B.A.S.E.(tm) gripper, the 2 pneumatic lines are not attached, but then magically appear in the next shot (see above).  Also in the above image is the AMF Versatran name/logo, as well as the controller on the left. 

silent running versatran controller x640 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic

The control panel in the background is a real and actual point-to-point Versatran control panel,  used to program the various movie sequences. Although portrayed as "thinking for itself" , this robot would have to be choreographed and programmed via the point-to-point controller.

versatran making of 1958 62   VERSATRAN Industrial Robot   Harry Johnson & Veljko Milenkovic


1960 – Cyborg – Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Cyborg FRED FREEMAN MAN REMADE TO LIVE IN SPACE LIFE 1960 x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Painting by FRED FREEMAN, originally appearing in the July 11, 1960 issue of LIFE Magazine.

The creature unreeling an electric cable as he explores a distant planet is a man prepared for  space as some scientists propose. Electrodes and other attachments would control many of the physical functions normally initiated by the brain, such as heart-beat, regulation of body temperature, and breathing. Electrodes planted in the pleasure centers of the brain would help him to pass the tedium of space travel. Dubbed a "Cyborg" (cybernetic organism), he may well exist in the near future for U.S. space agencies have authorised serious research towards his creation. (Time-Mind book)


Extract of interview between Chris Hables Gray and Manfred Clynes
The Cyborg Handbook 1995 – p47

MC: …. Life magazine wrote it up a little later. They had a big article with a picture of the cyborg. Did you know that?

CHG: No. I'll have to find that.
MC: I had a big photograph of that thing hanging on my wall for years.
CHG: Was that 1960?
MC: It must have been very near there.


cyborg life 1 11jul1960 xlarge x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

cyborg life 4 11jul1960 xlarge x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Cyborg AmesDailyTribune16jul1963 x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

[Source: Ames Daily Tribune 16 Jul 1963.]


Cyborg MiamiNews3May1964 a x640(1) 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

cyborg Miami News 3may1964 b x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)


Tomorrows man x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Another Artist's impression of a CYBORG related to Toby Freedman's articles c1960's. [Source: Popular Science Oct 1963 see below for pdf.]


the cyborg handbook x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Cover of The Cyborg Handbook. The must-have book for anyone interested in the history of Cyborgs. 

cyborg caidin x640 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Martin Caidin's book Cyborg. The TV series "The Six-Million Dollar Man" was based on this book.


Click on images to see pdf's about Cyborgs.

Life Magazine 2nd Oct 1964

See pdf here cyborg space life 2oct1964 1 x120 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Where are the Cyborgs in Cybernetics – Kline

See pdf here Capture x120 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Cyborgs and Space – Astronautics Sept 1960

See pdf here Cyborgs and Space x120 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

The Cyborg Study – Driscoll – NASA

See pdf here Cyborg Study x120 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

The Coming of the Mundane Cyborg – Steven Mentor 

See pdf here Mundane Cyborg x120 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Must Tomorrow's Man Look Like This? – Toby Freedman,  Popular Science Oct 1963

See pdf here Tomorrows Man x120 1960   Cyborg   Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)


1960 – Mr. Saburo the Robot – Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Mr. Saburo after restoration at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Japan.

saburo Kun Aizawa robot rest 1 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

saburo Kun Aizawa robot rest 2 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

saburo Kun Aizawa robot rest 3 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Aizawa 50637 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Aizawa 70188 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Aizawa 70191 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)


saburo 2010jul10 aizawa 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Saburo catalogue aizawa x640 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)


aizawa 3 robots x640 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

The caption from a 2010 Japanese catalogue reads (after translation): Three mid-size robot brothers Fujio [富士夫], Saburo [三郎], Kuro [九郎].  These robots look very similar.  The middle robot is the same as the one in the top photo, although the above image calls it Saburo.  I'll continue to call this robot Fugio. Hopefully some further evidence will show up soon to prove it one way or another.


Saburo Dr Zirou Aizawa(1) 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Jiro Aizawa robot museum p1 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Mr. Saburo in the background with his brothers in the Nagoya Robot Museum.

The Robot Museum closed 31 September, 2007.

aizawa robot x2 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Mr. Saburo on the far left.

Aizawa robots colour x640 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese)

Mr. Saburo in the background.


See the full Jiro Aizawa story here Jiro Aizawa with robots x80 1960   Mr. Saburo the Robot   Jiro Aizawa (Japanese).


1960c – “Golden Horse” Walking Machine – Maratori – (Italian)

mARATORI gOLDEN hORSE x640 1960c   Golden Horse Walking Machine   Maratori   (Italian)

An entirely different approach by Spartaco Maratori(8) produced his 'Golden Horse' which, in the final analysis, is somewhat similar to Shigley's approach. Maratori based his concept on an analysis of the locomotion of the horse. He studied the way horses walk, trot, and gallop and after carefully cataloging the various leg motions, attempted to duplicate a horse with mechanical linkages, His concept appears in Figure 3: the source of the design is patently obvious. Maratori presented many refinements in his description of his concept but in almost all cases these refinements were to more closely duplicate the form of an animal's leg. Where this was not the intent, the refinements were aimed at an increase in stability through an increase in the number of legs.
Maratori calculated that his machine could achieve a speed of about six miles per hour with a trotting motion or 4.5 miles per hour with a walking motion. These speeds were for a machine about the size of a horse and his calculations did not consider the inertia forces. Since his treatment in the quoted reference was more or less descriptive, he may well have considered the inertia forces and found them acceptable.
Maratori discussed the advantages and disadvantages of his concept over both conventional vehicles and animals. When compared to 'beasts of burden' he concluded that: 'Some advantages are at the quadruped's side as for instance:— To have a brain and some judgement which helps him in choosing his way in finding a firm foothold.' In effect, Maratori's machine has the same problem as Professor Shigley's: how to control the machine, since Maratori's allusion to the animal brain and judgement implies the control process.

8. Maratori. S., " Project Chin Ma (Golden Horse)", Brochure published by the author, Piazza Cavour 4-3, Chiavari, Italy.

 

From R.A. Liston – "Walking Machine Studies" – U.S. Army. 1966.


1960 – Rudy the Robot – Michael Freeman (American)

Freeman Rudy Homebuilt robot x640 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American)

Michael Freeman's first robot was RUDY, a robot he designed and entered into the Westinghouse Science Fair in 1960, aged 13 where he won first place!. Rudy was a mechanical robot that could walk around by using a tether and wheels, and could remember where it went so that later on, it could re-trace its steps. Kind of like a mouse in a maze where it had rudimentary learning ability.  Rudy was three-foot-tall with movable arms, a bullet-shaped head, light bulb eyes, and a wheeled platform for feet (and "named Rudy for the guy who used to clean the playground in front of my house"). He served drinks at cocktail parties. All you did was press a button on his back and he raised the drink tray toward you.

NewYorkMag30Jul79 Rudy robot Michael Freeman x640 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American)


Michael Freeman went on to design and build very successful teaching and learning robots, starting with Leachim in the early 70's, then 2-XL, and Kasey the Kinderbot.  See enthusiast Christopher Goodnough's World of 2-XL site for further information.

The Robots Are Coming By Douglas Colligan. New York Magazine 1978 

…Ingenious robots abound in New York. They read to the blind, teach children the metric system, and even deliver the mail …

"I hava baad newzzz. Your BRAIN may have short-cirCUlted. You have answered A, the word HE, but the corRECT answer is B, the WORD I. I guess human people ENjoy talking about THEMselves." His (its?) words had a weird electronic lilt. He stood about a foot tall, had a squat, boxy little body of gray plastic, two concave silvery dents for eyes, and a row of four red plastic buttons running across his chest. Sticking out from where his stomach would be was the butt end of an eight-track cartridge. His name was 2-XL. and he was designed and built about eight years ago. I had just taken one of his mini-quizzes and failed.

2-XL is one of a number of ingenious robots currently in use in New York. You will find Kurzie at the Mid-Manhattan library. Chauncey works in the Citibank building on Park Avenue. Leachim is gone now, but there's hardly a toy store or department store in town that doesn't have one of his descendants in it. And the silent, nameless invention of Jonathan Kaplan is at home waiting for Kaplan to reprogram its circuits. They're all machines, robots if you please, and they're everywhere.

Building robots is something of an obsessional hobby for Michael Freeman, the brain behind 2-XL. Freeman, a self-taught computer buff and full-time professor of management at Baruch College of the City University of New York. sat at his desk, his robot before him. In his early thirties but still boyish-looking. Freeman ticked off the genealogy of his electronic toy. Before 2-XL, there was Little Leachim, who was preceded by big Leachim. But before all these, there was Rudy.

When Freeman was thirteen years old he built a three-foot-tall robot with movable arms, a bullet-shaped head, light bulb eyes, and a wheeled platform for feet (and "named Rudy for the guy who used to clean the playground in front of my house"). He served drinks at cocktail parties. All you did was press a button on his back and he raised the drink tray toward you. He thought of Rudy again years later when listening to his wife. Gail. complain about teaching the intellectual mix of students in her fourth-grade class in the Bronx.

To help her out. Freeman built her a teacher's aide. This was Leachim (an anagram of his first name), a six-foot-tall, 200-pound robot with blue bulb eyes, a red wooden torso, and plastic pipe arms and legs. Freeman used his own money, about $15,000, to finance it. He used parts from defunct RCA computers to build it and used the collective expertise of himself, his wife, and a Baruch College colleague, Gary Mulkowsky, to mold Leachim into an acceptable teacher.

Freeman recorded everything that Leachim would teach or say on three thirteen-inch platters called verbal discs. Into this "brain" he poured most of the contents of a children's encyclopedia, the Guinness Book of World Records. a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a series of textbooks. The robot also knew some basic Spanish, what the words in the Pledge of Allegiance meant, some rules of chess, and a few snappy jokes. Stored in a separate memory system were the scholastic records of each of its students, their names, weak and strong subjects, and their hobbies. Once Leachim was plugged into the wall, he was programmed to be able to dip into each memory system and so provide a customized lesson for each child.

The children communicated with Leachim by using a telephone dial on the robot's chest to give their identity numbers and then listened to his lesson by headphones. To answer quizzes they would push multiple-choice buttons or dial in number answers. Leachim communicated with them with his voice, actually Freeman's voice in the disc memory, electronically de-toned to sound robotlike.

Practically every class, two or three kids would gather in the back of the class at Leachim's mechanical feet to work on some of their drill lessons while his human colleague, Gail Freeman, taught in the front. During a typical teaching session a child who dialed in her number code would hear the robot chirp; "Hello, Susan. How are you? Let us begin our lesson." It would then scan its memory for questions she had gotten wrong last time and maybe ask them again or tell her to look up the answer in one of her books, giving her the specific page number.

As a teacher, Leachim had the kind of patience only a machine could exercise but Freeman also made sure to build a personality into his robot as well. He could be a prodding or encouraging teacher according to how a child was answering the questions Given a wrong answer. Leachim might say, "I don't believe you're paying attention. Try that again." To a child who seemed to be having trouble he might come up with "You're thinking so hard I can see smoke coming out of your ears." For a right answer, the robot might teach the student some new chess moves, talk about sports, or tell him a joke, the kind that would go over big on The Muppet Show. Sample: "Why are Saturday and Sunday the strongest days? (pause) Because all the rest are weak days (canned robot laughter)."

Leachim had the mental reach of a thirteen-year-old child and could adapt to most students between the ages of nine and thirteen. He was deliberately programmed to keep stretching the minds of the children. "He could teach a retarded kid just above his level, and yet he could also challenge a very bright student." says Freeman. "That's what is great about a machine like this- You push a button and the machine will be to complicated as you want." Amazingly, no one—school officials, teachers, union, parents-opposed having a robot teach fourth-graders. If anything, Freeman says, they were intrigued. And most of the kids seemed to take it for granted that having a robot teach their class was part of the New York City educational experience. "Nobody was afraid of it," recalls Freeman, still amazed. "And this was a six-foot robot."

Leachim taught for three years, from 1972 to 1975, before he was un-plugged. The experiment was successful, Freeman found, but also time consuming. When the machine broke or had to be programmed with information on new children, only he could make the adjustments.

In Leachim, Freeman saw the potential of an educational machine that could be mass-produced and used for routine work in schools everywhere. So he built a more compact version, Little Leachim. A large toy company. the Mego Corporation, has mass-produced a version of this, an electronic toy called 2-XL (to excel).

Basically a simplified version of Leachim, the little plastic robot is equipped with five square inches of circuitry that lets it pick the appropriate program stored on specially designed eight-track cartridges. It dispenses knowledge on everything from history to the metric system. The last Freeman knew, there were around 200,000 all over the country, all speaking with his pre-recorded robot voice. "Hundreds of kids are learning to do the metric system from me," he says, "which is very fulfilling." 2-XL turned out to be a big commercial success (it was one of the big sellers last Christmas). But Freeman's opportunity to fulfill his dream of the teaching robot may be elsewhere. He has been talking to the chancellor of New York City's Board of Education about the possibility of using 2-XL as a teaching tool in the public school system. He already has several educational tapes ready for the little gray machine and has others planned for the future.


See Freeman's Leachim design patent D237383 here Leachim patent x120 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American).

Jasia Reichardt included a page on Leachim in her book Robots: Fact, Fiction and Prediction.

Leachim Reichardt p1 x640 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American)

Leachim Reichardt p2 x640 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American)


Leachim Freeman TeacherJ4p1 x640 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American)

leachim Freeman x640 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American)

Michael Freeman robot Telegraph 25May1978 x640 1960   Rudy the Robot   Michael Freeman (American)

The Telegraph 25 May 1978.