Posts Tagged ‘1961’

1945 – Radio Jockey – Gernsback / Leslie (American)


Caption: This electronic Robot might have prevented the horse-racing ban, but it would cause technological unemployment among the jockey fraternity.

Source: Radio-Craft for March, 1945.
RADIO JOCKEY – Electronically-Controlled Robot Rider By ERIC LESLIE
HORSE-RACING—the game of kings—has one great weakness. The suspicion of "fixed" races, of "pulled" horses and of dishonest jockeys, has prevented this sport from taking its place with such American national institutions as baseball or football. Even where track officials make every effort to keep their races "clean," an unsavory aura still attaches to the practice of racing horses.
A freak race in the early days of radio broadcasting gave rise to suggestions for a type of horse-race in which the jockey would be eliminated. The event referred to took place at the Cook County Fair, Chicago, in 1922. A horse—appropriately named Radio—raced with no jockey other than a radio receiving set and a horn loudspeaker on his back. His jockey, or more properly trainer, remained in the stands at the microphone of a small transmitter, giving directions and shouting encouragement. According to reports, as the horse came into the home stretch the trainer shouted, "Come on, Radio! Come on, boy !" and the horse responded nobly, just as if the trainer had been sitting on his back and was urging him on toward the finish line.
Spectacular as the stunt was at that stage of the development of radio, it proved only that the speaker was no substitute for a jockey, who not only with voice, but with hand and heel, urges his mount on to victory.

Some years ago [CZ: prior to 1945], H. Gernsback proposed a device which uses equipment and methods not available in 1922 to supply all these. The loud-speaker works as in the older setup, the reins and crop are controlled front transmitters in the stands, at which the trainers can sit comfortably while watching the progress of their "mounts" at any part of the track. The "jockey" would consist of a modern radio receiver, with outputs fitted both to a speaker and to relays which would set into action motors which control the arms to which the reins are attached, or operate the crop. Additional motors can be provided—or attachments made to those used-which would permit changing the posture of the "jockey", causing it to lean further forward or rise upright, to sway to the left or the right, as may be required during the race. It is well-known that a jockey uses his body as well as his voice and the reins in guiding his horse.
Should there be any suggestion of "pulling" or other unfair action, it would not be necessary to depend on the opposed statements of a pair of jockeys, neither of whom might have been in the best condition—either physically or emotionally—to note actually what had happened during the portion of a second in which many of these incidents occur. A complete record of all the jockey's actions can be kept on a tape which would form a part of the transmitting apparatus, so that there could be no dispute as to how any incident had occurred or how much restraint was applied to a horse at any given period during a race.
Old-time sports may believe that such a system would take the "kick" out of racing, but they do flock to the dog-races to watch the electric rabbit !


Caption: "Jockeys" who are electronic experts, and have to watch their fingers instead of their weight may help to make this proposed Radio Robot a reality.

Gernsback resurrects the idea in his annual publication "Forecast" (distributed late 1961).

Source: The Deseret News, 27 Dec 1961.
If Robots Replace Jockeys What Happens to Racing? Forecast Of Future Finds 'Robots' Replacing Jockeys….

INEZ ROBB The holiday season always brings to my door a pair of publications that brighten life considerably. The first is the Farmers' Almanac, without which I would never know quite when to put on my long underwear, plant potatoes, or mothproof the woolen closet……………  

The second publication to spread knowledge and happiness through the household is the annual "Forecast" of Hugo Gernsback, widely acclaimed as "the father of science fiction" and the editor and publisher of Radio-Electronics Magazine. Gernsback is a man on rapport with the future, to say the least. And while I am overjoyed to know that if I can live until 1986, the threat of atomic, hydrogen, cobalt or any other missile is kaput (the submarine demises two years earlier), nonetheless, the most sensational prediction in "1962 Forecast" is of concern to The Society for Improvement of the Breed of Bookies. Sometimes in the future – Gernsback doesn't pinpoint the date electronics will replace the jockey. Or rather the jockey won't be up. The future Sande or Hartack or Arcaro will be in a remote control tower that can do anything the jockey does, including whipping." Instead of saddle and rider, the horse will carry a power pack weighing 35 to 50 pounds that will be capable of "reining" any future Native Dancer.

Presumably the power packs will be painted in the colors or the respective stables of owners, although this is a fanciful thought of my own that I hand on to Gernsback. From his control tower the jockey will be able to sweet-talk; his horse home, since the steed will be wired for sound.

Gernsback believes his system, already feasible in his opinion, will make "for faster and more scientific races."
There are only two problems here: (1) Can you "fix a power pack? (2) Will the future jockey, manipulating in his control tower a panel that looks as complicated as that of a jet plane, have to show a degree from M.l.T. or Cal Tech? Since I am not a horse player, I don't know whether Gernsback's prediction will kill or cure racing. But there it is, for tote board and bookie alike to ponder. ……………

The_Post_Standard_Sun__May_13__1962_ electronic-jockey-x640

Arthur Radebaugh's interpretation of Gernsback's Electronic Jockey. 1962.

Camel Jockey

A robot jockey is commonly used on camels in camel racing as a replacement for human jockeys. Developed since 2004, the robotic jockeys are slowly phasing out the use of human jockeys, which in the case of camel racing in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, often employs small children who reportedly suffer repeated systemic human rights abuses. In response to international condemnation of such abuses, the nations of Qatar and the UAE have banned the use of human jockeys in favor of robots. See more in Wikipedia here.





Patent info.

See also Syd Mead's Racimals here.

See the timeline on other Animal Control here.

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1961 – Archimede Bathyscaphe – Pierre Willm and Georges Houot (French)


Manipulator is shown 6:50 into video clip.





Archimède bathyscaphe.
Some pics by Alain Houot. Text souce: Wiki
The bathyscaphe Archimède is a deep diving research submersible of the French Navy. It used 42,000 US gallons (160,000 l) of hexane as the gasoline buoyancy of its float. It was designed by Pierre Willm and Georges Houot. Archimede was the first vehicle to reach the deepest part of the Atlantic, 27,510 feet (8,390 m) down into the Puerto Rico Trench.

Archimede was christened on 27 July 1961, at the French Navy base of Toulon. It was designed to go beyond 30,000 yards (27,000 m), and weighed 61 tons.

In October 1961, Archimede passed its first dive tests, diving to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) unmanned.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1961 – Trieste Submersible with Manipulator – Harold Froehlich (American)


1961 – Trieste Submersible with Manipulator Arm by Harold Froehlich – General Mills. Image source: Manned Submersibles, Frank Bushby, 1976. The Trieste was purchased by the U.S. Navy in 1958. Development of the manipulator arm, instigated by Don Walsh, was done by Harold "Bud" Froehlich of General Mills. Based on the Model 150 arm, it was finally commissioned in 1961.

In 1963, Trieste was used to locate The USS Thresher which tragically broke up and sunk in deep waters earlier the same year. Top image from Popular Science, Feb 1964.


© 1966 American Society of Naval Engineers
Naval Engineers Journal
Volume 78, Issue 6,  pages 1003–1009, December 1966

When Walsh and Piccard rode Trieste 35,800 ft. to the bottom of Challenger Deep in 1960, they proved that man could have access to any part of an unexplored area equal to 3/4 of the earth's surface. A dream cherished by man since Alexander the Great had become reality. But, as important as was the achievement of gaining access to the vast bottom of the sea, it was but a step in the conquest of the depths. To truly conquer this new frontier, man must be able not only to go there, but to travel over large areas and do useful work there. To provide a capability for doing mechanical work, a number of underwater vehicles have been equipped with mechanical manipulators, and more are planned or in progress.
The first manipulator fitted to a manned deep submersible was the General Mills Model 150 manipulator purchased by the Navy for use on the original Trieste in 1961.
To provide a manipulator for scientific sampling and for performing other tasks at the bottom, the Navy turned to industry to draw on the knowledge accumulated over the previous two decades of nuclear hot-cell-manipulator-development.
The fully developed and proven General Mills 150 was modified for underwater use. With six motions and a capacity of 50 lb. at an outreach of about 30 in., the d-c electric-motor-driven Model 150 offered an attractive addition to the capabilities of Trieste. A mounting was provided, pivoted to the forward ballast shot tub, and equipped with a hoist which could lower the manipulator into operating position before the pilots view port and retract it out of the way when not in use.  The shot tub was suspended from a magnetic release device and could be released from inside the pressure sphere.
This safety feature proved the undoing of the first manipulator. The release was inadvertently tripped shortly after installation, and the manipulator was lost before extensive data could be obtained. A second Model 150 manipulator procured for Trieste retained the aluminum-magnesium structural material used in the hot-cell version. Because of the size and nature of Trieste, it remained in the water for relatively long periods of time, making the manipulator inaccessible for maintenance. Long immersion led to corrosion of the fastenings and castings. Corrosion developed at any point where the surface got scraped, and developed around fastenings as a result of gradual soaking of seawater through the paint film. (more but not available at time of publishing)



The General Mills Model 150 Manipulator Arm


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


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.


Trieste consisted of a float chamber filled with gasoline (petrol) for buoyancy, with a separate pressure sphere to hold the crew. This configuration (dubbed a bathyscaphe by the Piccards), allowed for a free dive, rather than the previous bathysphere designs in which a sphere was lowered to depth and raised again to the surface by a cable attached to a ship.

Trieste was designed by the Swiss scientist Auguste Piccard and originally built in Italy. His pressure sphere, composed of two sections, was built by the company Acciaierie Terni. The upper part was manufactured by the company Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico, in the Free Territory of Trieste (on the border between Italy and Yugoslavia); hence the name chosen for the bathyscaphe. The installation of the pressure sphere was done in the Cantiere navale di Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples. Trieste was launched on 26 August 1953 into the Mediterranean Sea. The design was based on previous experience with the bathyscaphe FNRS-2. Trieste was operated by the French Navy. After several years of operation in the Mediterranean Sea, the Trieste was purchased by the United States Navy in 1958.

The Navy bought the Trieste from the men who had built it in 1953, Auguste Piccard and his son Jacques, for $250,000. It was actually the second Trieste; the original 1948 model hadn't held up well. Source: Wikipedia.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1961 – Submaray Submersible – Doug Privitt (American)


1961 – Submaray Submersible by Doug Privitt started being built in 1961 and was launched in 1962.


Privitt inside Submaray operating the simple rod manipulator arm. It appears to slide inside a ball-and-socket joint, as can be seen in the video clip. Although a simple setup, this arm is quite efficient and versatile. The claw can be interchanged with other tools and attachments using a quick-attachment feature.

Video of Submaray demonstrating its manipulator arm.


Arm fully extended picking up object.


Demo of manipulator lifting an anchor


Arm collecting samples.


Image source: Manned Submersibles, Frank Bushby, 1976.

See another rod and ball-joint arm here.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1952 – Deep-Sea Diving Robot – Al Mikalow (American)


TREASURE HUNTING ROBOT-A 1,500 pound diving robot is checked over by diver Al Mikalow (right) and Paul Ilsley, a diving instructor at Mikalow's diving school in Oakland, Calif. Mikalow intents to dive in the robot later this summer in a search for treasure which legend says lies waiting in the Rio de Janiero, which sank in the Golden Gate entrance to San Francisco Bay, in 1901. Source: Press photo June 1961.


Photo: Carlos Domingues via




December 2000

Mikalow – 1952 (United States)

During a period of history considered by many to be a gap in the development of the atmospheric diving suit, Alfred A. Mikalow, once director and owner of the Coastal School of Deep Sea Diving, in Oakland, California, designed and built an atmospheric diving suit (Figure 16). His suit, employing ball and socket joints, was built for the purpose of locating and salvaging sunken treasure. The suit was reportedly capable of diving to depths of 1,000 feet and was used successfully to dive on the sunken vessel, City of Rio de Janeiro, in 328 feet of water near Fort Point, San Francisco, California (Rieseberg, 1965).

The Mikalow had several interchangeable instruments that could be attached in place of the usual manipulators at the end of the arms. The "deep-sea diving robot", as it was called in Fell's Guide to Sunken Treasure Ships of the World [1st 1965], carried seven 90 cubic feet high-pressure cylinders to provide the breathing gas and control the buoyancy. The ballast compartment covered the air cylinders and opened at the bottom near the diver's legs. The suit used hydrophones as its primary means of communication with the surface and powerful searchlights were attached to the head and arms.

Note: Although Thornton dates this suit at 1952, the first press articles don't appear until 1961.

See other early Underwater Robots here.