Posts Tagged ‘1962’

1962 – Szegedi Robot Man – Dr. Muszka Dániel (Hungarian)


1962 – Szegedi Robot Man [reproduction] by Dr. Muszka Dániel.


Fotó: Bodajki Ákos

Article source: here. (Google translation from Hungarian.)

Human-sized robot arrived at the Paks Nuclear Energy Museum. The heroic age of cybernetics – or life was the latest piece of the temporary exhibition called PC before the tin man in Szeged at which the invention is called the Ladybug is an emblematic figure of the era of domestic cybernetics. The machine was originally a human-sized house in Szeged welcomed the pioneering forefront of visitors, passers photocell detects the proceedings. When there is a plate in his left hand was the answer to the questions that have been selected in a separate instrument table, for example, specific directions about where to find the principal's office. Today the board of twelve topics, the robot talks the visit planned in 1962 by Daniel Muszka, all of which are related to cybernetics. The special exhibits on his right hand holding a radio, which formerly Kossuth and Petofi Radio broadcasts could choose from. The robot moves a head Wartburg windscreen wiper motor with rotating antenna's eyes light up as well.

Embernagyságú robot érkezett a paksi atomerőmű Atomenergetikai Múzeumába. A kibernetika hőskora – avagy volt élet a PC előtt elnevezésű időszaki tárlat legújabb darabja a szegedi bádogember, amely a Katicabogár elnevezésű találmány mellett a hazai kibernetika korszakának egyik emblematikus figurája. Az embernagyságú gép eredetileg a szegedi úttörőház előterében köszöntötte a látogatókat, az előtte elhaladókat fotocellájával érzékeli. Bal kezében található tábláján egykor azokra a kérdésekre adta meg a választ, amelyeket egy külön műszerasztalon lehetett kiválasztani, például útbaigazítást adott arról, hol található az igazgatói iroda. Ma a táblán tizenkét témakörről beszél a Muszka Dániel által 1962-ben tervezett robot, ezek mindegyike a kibernetikával kapcsolatos. A különleges kiállítási darab jobb kezében egy rádiót tart, ebből hajdan a Kossuth és a Petőfi Rádió adásai közül lehetett választani. A robot fejét egy Wartburg ablaktörlő-motorja mozgatja, forgó antennája mellett szemei is világítanak.


See also Daniel Muszka's cybernetic Ladybird Beetle here.

See other early Humanoid Robots here.

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.

1962 – Underwater MOBOT – Hughes Aircraft (American)


Source: Meccano Magazine, Feb, 1963.
….. I am introducing you to a machine known as Mobot, pictured above. Developed by the Shell Oil Company in the U.S.A., Mobot can work on oil wells 1,000 feet down on the ocean bed. It can swim, see, hear, and has a "nose" that can turn screws, work valves, and grip pipes and hoses. It can also wield a wire brush and other tools.
Mobot's first job was to complete a well off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. As you probably know, because most of the promising areas on land have already been explored, drilling in the open sea has become the oil companies' biggest hope of finding new oil and gas fields. Since, however, exploration at great depths rules out the use of conventional well-head equipment, placed on a platform projecting above the water, the necessary components have to be assembled on the floor of the ocean itself, and the well put into production by remote methods. Mobot can carry out these tasks at greater depths, and for longer periods, than any human deep-sea diver could cope with. Electro-hydraulically operated from a master control centre aboard the drilling vessel, Mobot swims down to its work, using two adjustable propellers. A gyroscope gives it a sense of equilibrium. The device can see up to 30 feet by means of self-contained lighting and a TV camera, which transmits its field of view to a screen in the control centre. Sonar acoustic equipment, possessing a bat-like squeak, is used to locate well-head or other metal objects at greater distances. A sensitive microphone enables the robot to listen to the various operations it performs. THE EDITOR



In this application, referred to as 'Welmo'. Image source: The Complete Handbook of Robotics, Safford.


Caption: SHIPBOARD control panel, television screen, and other devices used to monitor and guide the robot's underwater activities are shown above. Shell Oil Company uses the robot to perform work on submerged wellheads, but it could be used for other deep-sea jobs.

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Caption: MOBOT'S powerful claw is adjusted by workmen prior to lowering the robot into the sea for routine task.

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Caption: MOBOT'S electronic "brain" components are sealed in a pod (below) at the bottom of robot. Principal parts (left) of the 7000-lb. monster are: (1) cord protector (2) mercury vapor lights (3) TV camera (4) sound microphone (5) hydraulic arm with socket wrench attachment (6) hydraulic lift to raise arm, TV, lights up to 8 ft. height (7) motor-driven wheels (8) propellers (9) pressurized tank for hydraulic lift (10) bumper wheels to ride on wellhead (11) compressed gas tanks to pressurize electronic pod (12) electronic pod.

Source: Science and Mechanics, August 1963.

MAN now knows more about the vast reaches of space than he does about the comparatively minute and mysterious submerged ocean world. He has a greater knowledge of Venus, which revolves about our sun at a mean distance of 67,200,000 miles, than of the mysteries hidden by the greatest known ocean depths of the 35,400- ft. Mindanao Deeps. Now Shell Oil Company has developed a mechanical robot who is at home in the sea. Named "MOBOT," it is knocking on the door beyond which lies the world of the secretive sea.

Mobot is a true mechanical giant. He stands a towering 14 feet high, is five feet in diameter, and weighs a solid 7,000 pounds on land. In the sea for which he was created his weight is reduced to 3,800 pounds. At present he is at home at depths down to 1,000 feet, where he is a hardworking counterpart of a human diver.

Mobot can see by means of a television camera with an underwater range of 30 feet. Beyond this range he depends on sonar search equipment to locate metallic objects at ranges up to 1,400 feet. He can automatically scan a full 180° which gives him great range. An "umbilical cord," consisting of a 52-conductor electrical element, secures him to a master control board situated on a ship stationed overhead. There an operator guides him, electronically, to perform various underwater duties with human-like dexterity.
A gyrocompass gives Mobot a sense of direction. He "swims" in the water by means of two adjustable propellers, one on each side. His electronic heart and brain are neatly contained in a pressurized pod at the bottom of his giant frame. Darkness is of no consequence, for he has his own lights in the form of two 800-watt mercury vapor lamps mounted on the TV camera housing.
For work, he has a hydraulic arm to which a socket wrench is generally attached. Other hydraulically operated tools, such as grippers, may also be used in place of the socket wrench. The socket rotates at a speed of 20 rpm at a torque of 1,000 foot-pounds. Mobot is a formidable mechanical man indeed.
For what exact purpose did Shell Oil Company develop this explorer of the depths? That is simply answered: to replace the limited human deep-sea diver and to perform all necessary underwater operations. Mobot can go deeper and stay longer than a human diver. He is an extremely effective means for locating and facilitating reentry into an existing oil well on the floor of the ocean. He can tighten or loosen bolts or nuts on the undersea oil wellhead, operate valves, use a wire brush, and grip pipe and hoses with the proper amount of pressure. Unlike humans, he takes no coffee or lunch breaks.
Just how does Mobot manage to stay in close contact with the wellhead on which he is working despite deep-sea currents which might tend to make him drift away? A circular track on the underwater well-head entables him to run his motor-driven wheels on the rail. He rides the rail while he performs the jobs of changing vertical flange bolts, horizontal lock screws, or turning valves.
Dr. J. W. Clark, of Hughes Aircraft Company which cooperated in the building of Shell's Mobot, foresees a rewarding future in the use of deep-sea robots. In addition to underwater petroleum drilling, we can flatly predict that exciting underwater exploration, mining, farming, and salvage operations are now possible.
A great adventure befell Mobot one day. Scientists still have not come up with a satisfactory answer for it. Aboard ship, seated before the television screen which monitored the robot's undersea actions, was Forrest Adrian. Mobot was busily checking a complex of oil equipment with his mighty, sensitive arm.
Suddenly Adrian caught his breath in unbelief at what appeared on the screen. From his throat rose an amazed cry. First to respond was a drilling foreman, Paul Martin. "Look!", Adrian yelled, pointing at the screen with a shaking finger. Martin sucked in his breath at what the screen revealed. Cavorting like a corkscrew gone haywire before the eyes of the startled men was a snake-like creature about 15 feet long. A rough and bumpy ridge encircled its wriggling form like a crude spiral, and it swam with the brisk boring action of a corkscrew.
The deep-sea divers among the amazed crewmen stared at the sea denizen with utter unbelief. They had all seen many strange forms of sea life, but nothing like this creature had ever been seen by any of them. Undisturbed by the nearness of his strange visitor, Mobot continued with his duties 180 feet beneath the surface of the sea.
The living corkscrew appeared and disappeared at intervals. It seemed to become either larger or smaller whenever it reappeared. This led the spectators to believe there were several of the nightmarish beasts in range of the underwater television camera with which Mobot was equipped. Yet only a single creature appeared on the screen in each instance.
At the time of this writing the strange creature still remains unidentified. Shell officials are anxious to learn what the creature is. They want to know if it is capable of endangering human divers or damaging undersea equipment. Scientists on marine life have been consulted, but as yet no positive identification has been made. But all this means nothing to Mobot, and, on the next appearance of this strange creature, he may be directed to capture it in his mighty claw.
Whether it will prove to be friend or foe is still to be determined. But the hopeful Shell people have christened it "Marvin," because the name means "sea friend." States John Prescott, curator of fish at Marineland: "About the only way we'll be able to make a sure identification is to actually have a specimen to examine." Lets hope that Marvin proves to be a friend!"


The MOBOT (MObile roBOT) was developed by Hughes Aircraft Company and is used by Shell Oil Company of California as an underwater wellhead manipulator. MOBOT, which is shown in Figure 16, consists of an electro-hydraulic vehicle designed to be lowered into the ocean, land on a track, and operated to insert or break out screws arranged in a horizontal axis. The MOBOT's operations are directed from the surface by means of a closed-circuit television network supported by acoustic sensors. MOBOT, because of the nature of the work it must perform, is very specialized and therefore is limited with respect to the underwater work it can perform. A more advanced version of MOBOT has been proposed but to date has not been constructed. This advanced vehicle called UNUMO is also shown In Figure 16.


Press Release: PORT HUENEME, Calif., Oct. 31–ROBOT GOES TO SEA–Workmen stand by as Shell Oil Company's underwater robot is lowered into the ocean at Port Hueneme, Calif. yesterday. It was the first public showing for the mechanical roustabout, a remote-controlled quarter-million-dollar gadget that swims, sees hears and has an arm to turn valves and wield tools. The robot in designed to help in drilling and maintenance of oil fields hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean. The robot is equipped …



Underwater wellhead apparatus and method
Publication number    US3099316
Publication date    30 Jul 1963
Filing date    25 Apr 1960
Inventor:    Johnson Glenn D
Original Assignee    Shell Oil Co

 This invention relates to offshore wells drilled in earth formations lying below a body of water, wherein the wellhead equipment of the well is positioned below the surface of the water. The invention pertains more particularly to a method and apparatus for manipulating equipment in the vicinity of, or which are components on, an underwater wellhead.

At present, offshore wells are drilled either from stationary platforms anchored to the ocean floor, movable barges temporarily positioned on the ocean floor or from movable barges floating on the body of water in which drilling operations are being carried out. Regardless of the manner in which the wells are drilled, most wells are completed in a manner such that the outermost tubular member of the well extend upwardly from the ocean floor to a point above the surface of the water where a wellhead assembly or Christmas tree is mounted thereon for controlling the production of the well.

Wellheads extending above the surface of the water constitute a hazard to the navigation of vessels in the area as well as constituting a structure which is readily attacked by wave action, it being well known that the corrosive action of seawater and the air readily attack the normal steel platforms unless they are protected in a suitable manner by corrosive-resistant material. However, with the wellhead and/or casing head extending above the surface of the water, the flow controlling components of the wellhead may be readily adjusted by an operator working from a platform adjacent the wellhead structure above the surface of the water. Additionally, any workover or reconditioning operations carried out on the well may be readily accomplished as all of the portions of the wellhead structure which must be disassembled order to carry out these operations, are above the surface of the water where they may be reached by maintenance crews.

Recently, however, methods and apparatus have been developed for drilling and completing oil and gas wells in the ocean floor in a manner such that after completion of the well, the wellhead assembly, including various components, such as flow control valves, is positioned beneath the surface of the water, preferably on the ocean floor. These facilities are often positioned in water depths greater than the depth at which a diver can safely and readily work. it may therefore be seen that the adjustment of any of the wellhead components from time to time, or the re-entry of a well to carry out maintenance or reconditioning work, presents a considerable problem when the wellhead assembly is positioned below the sur face of the water.

It is therefore a puimary object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for manipulating equipment in the vicinity of, or components on, a wellhead assembly positioned below the surface of the water.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a remotely-controlled manipulator device adapted to move through the body of water and be temporarily secured to an underwater wellhead while being movable therearound for carrying out any of the various operations of setting, adjusting, connecting or the disconnecting of a wellhead assembly, components or associated equipment thereof.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a device adapted to be movably-positioned temporarily on a track adjacent an underwater wellhead, said device being provided with a rotatable object-engaging arm which is movable in any direction in a vertical or horizontal plane within the vicinity of the wellhead assembly.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a wellhead apparatus adapted to be positioned underwater for receiving on said apparatus and movable thereon a manipulator device adapted to engage the various components of the wellhead assembly.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a method and apparatus for remotely adjusting the flow of fluid from an underwater wellhead assembly from a remote location.



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Underwater MOBOT

See pdf

Dr. John W. Clark, Manager of the Nuclear Electronics Laboratory at Hughes Aircraft Corporation, headed the Mobot group.

See other Hughes' Mobot-related posts here.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1962-65 – Deepstar 4000 Diving Saucer – Jacques-Yves Cousteau / Westinghouse (French/American)


Image source: Popular Mechanics, August 1963.

1962 – Deepstar 4000 Diving Saucer – Jacques-Yves Cousteau / Westinghouse launched in 1965.


26 Jun 1962-NEW YORK: William E. Knox, president of Westinghouse International, demonstrates the flexibility of a remote control arm, part of a unique deep-sea vehicle at a 6/26(/62) press conference. The new  self-propelled vehicle, to be named "Deepstar," which will be built by Westinghouse Electric, will give a three man crew the maneuverability needed to explore the "last frontier on earth." A cutaway drawing of the vehicle appears in the background.


Manipulator arm is folded away.

See 7:06 into video clip.


Source: Undersea Studies With The Deep Research Vehicle Deepstar-4000, March 1969

Manipulator and Bottom Sampling Devices
A single mechanical arm (Figure 61) with only three degrees of freedom can be installed in about three hours on DEEPSTAR. This arm weighs 15 pounds, has a maximum reach of 42 inches and can lift about 35 pounds. In most cases, due to the limited dexterity of the arm, the vehicle is manoeuvred in conjunction with the arm  to obtain a sample. A basket, which can extend from the port side of the vehicle, is used to store samples. At the outward end of the arm is an orange peel sampler. Experience showed that the sampler's fingers were often bent and forced out of alignment. A more rugged arm with increased dexterity would be far more effective and a variety of  hands or end samplers is also desirable.









Image source and for in-depth article see Popular Science, October 1962.









Initially the S.P. 4000, it was built in collaboration with Westinghouse and became the D.S. 4000, or Deepstar 4000.

Cousteau's futuristic designs were done by his long time friend, Jean Charles Roux. The above illustration being for the S.P. 4000 maquette in Expo 67, Montreal.


Expo '67, Montreal.

Image source: here



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Source: Tyrone Daily Herald, Jul 14, 1967.

Related Patents:


Method of navigation for a submarine boat

This patent not so much describes Deepstar 4000 per se, but includes description on manoeuvring the vehicle that also effect the positioning of the manipulator arm. Further, the drawings includes a diagram of Deepstar 4000.

Publication number    US3169500 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Feb 16, 1965
Filing date    Jul 13, 1962
Priority date    Jul 21, 1961
Inventors    Gagnan Emile, Alinat Jean, Cousteau Jacques Yves
Original Assignee    Spirotechnique

Manipulator apparatus

Publication number    US3400541 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Sep 10, 1968
Filing date    Nov 23, 1966
Priority date    Nov 23, 1966
Also published as    DE1531286A1
Inventors    Lloyd Wayne B, Schlissler Earl R
Original Assignee    Westinghouse Electric Corp

Manipulator apparatus for use on undersea vehicles. An exterior-mounted multi-joint manipulator arm has a respective hydraulic actuator and electro-hydraulic flow control valve at each arm joint. Common hydraulic supply and return lines connect the several control valve to a sea-ambient pressure-compensated hydraulic supply-return system. Current regulating means at an operators station provides for operation of the control valves, and means are included for equalizing all hydraulic volumes within the system at sea-ambient-compensated pressures during de-activation of the apparatus.

Powered manipulators mounted on the exterior of the hull of space and undersea vehicles are employed for grasping and manipulating objects at the exterior under the control of an operator inside who has visual contact with the manipulator and the object to be grasped or manipulated. A typical manipulator to which the present invention relates is generally a simplified mechanical simulation of a human arm and includes the grasping means, mechanical arm sections, and pivot joints, corresponding grossly to wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. Power actuators, commonly hydraulic rotary actuators, are affiliated with the several pivot joints of the manipulator and the operator inside the hull in observance of such manipulator through such as a window in the hull, controls operation of the several rotary actuators to dictate movements of the manipulator to obtain operation of the mechanical hand. The ease and rapidity with which the task of controlling operation of the manipulator is accomplished is greatly affected by the type of control system provided for the several actuators embodied in such manipulator.

Presently, the most common control means for each of the several actuators is a three-position control valve with upon, the operator must initiate the rate of motion by operating the proper control valve in the proper direction, visually monitor the effect the valve operation is having on manipulator position and then consciously terminate the movement by suitable valve operation. With employment of such on-otf valve control, the result has been a fixed rate of speed of operation of a particular actuator, hence, particular rate of joint movement. The problem arising with fixed rate control is that a compromise must be reached between high speed operation of a given actuator (open for rapid slewing through wide angles) and low speed for fine control near the object to be grasped. As a result of this compromise, both rapid slewing and fine control are sacrificed in such conventional fixed-rate manipulator systems. This results in lost time in doing work with such a manipulator and increases the possibility of damage to the object to be grasped, or of damage to the manipulator.

Such conventional manipulators as employ on-off control valves mount such valves at a fixed location relative to the hull of the craft and remote from the actuators at the arms of the manipulator, and require an undue multiplicity of hydraulic lines of considerable length extending between the control valves and the actuators on the manipulator joints; two separate hydraulic lines being required for operation of each of the actuators so controlled by on-off selector valves. Such long lines tend to establish low resonant frequency conditions which introduce lags in response of the actuators to dictates of the control valves as well as pose a problem of suitable protection for all such lines during operation.

The on-off selector valves are usually of the poppet valve type which tends to introduce random and erratic high creep rates of the mnaipulator joints due to leak-by at the poppet valves which tend to become slightly unseated by particles of dirt which can accumulate on the seat.

Because of employment of such multiplicity of separate hydraulic lines between respective on-off selector valve devices and the actuators they control, these lines and actuator chambers to which they are connected tend to establish entrapped volumes of hydraulic fluid in lap position of the valves which can experience severe pressure changes at their exterior during ascent or descent of an undersea vehicle, which can cause implosion or explosion of hydraulic components as a result thereof.

In view of the foregoing remarks it is the prime object of the present invention to eliminate the above problems, either separately or collectively, i.e., to provide for adjusting the rate of operation of the manipulator joint actuators, to reduce the number of hydraulic lines employed for operation of the several actuators, to overcome the problem of implosion or explosion of hydraulic components during ascent or descent to and from great depths, to employ a control valve system which greatly reduces the tendency for leak-by within the valve responsible for creep of the actuators and manipulator joints, and to provide a simplification in construction and an increase in reliability and dexterity in performance of the system.

In general, the above object is obtained in the present invention by the provision of a manipulator apparatus which, in addition to the usual actuators mounted on the manipulator arm joints, also includes respective variable rate electro-hydraulic servo valves mounted directly on the manipulator arm sections. The servo valves have only two hydraulic lines common to all of such valves and which extend therefrom to a hydraulic power supply system located externally of the hull of the craft on which the manipulator is mounted; each servo valve being constructed to minimize leakage between the hydraulic lines to the actuator as well as to provide for establishing interconnection between all hydraulic ports, passages, lines, etc., in the actuator system, including the hydraulic power supply, whereby internal hydraulic pressure becomes equalized with the environmental pressure of the system by way of ambient-pressure-compensated hydraulic supply system. Operators control means disposed within the hull of the craft provides for electrical control of operation of the variable-rate electro-hydraulic servo valves by way of electrical lines passing through the hull of such craft.


Manipulator apparatus

Publication number    US3422965 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Jan 21, 1969
Filing date    Feb 13, 1967
Priority date    Feb 13, 1967
Inventors    Lloyd Wayne B
Original Assignee    Westinghouse Electric Corp

ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A master-slave manipulator apparatus useful on undersea vehicles in which a master arm inside the hull is actuable by an operator to effect corresponding movement of an exterior slave arm, without requiring control feedback from the slave arm, comprising multiple-pivot slave,
and master arms with hydraulic rotary actuators on the slave arm joints, an open-loop control system including electro-hydraulic flow-control servo valve devices on the slave arm for controlling rate of supply of hydraulic fluid to the actuators respectively, and means for producing respective control signals for the servo valves on the slave arm according to the angular velocity and acceleration between relatively movable parts of the master arm at each of its joints, the angular positions of such master arm parts with respect to a common reference, and the relationship between such conditions which affect gravity and inertia torque loads on the respective actuators of the slave arm.

The present invention relates to manipulator apparatus.

Background of the invention 1) The invention relates to hydraulically-operated master-slave manipulator arm apparatus suited for use on undersea vehicles.

(2) Previous attempts have been made to use the master-slave method of control to improve manipulator agility. At least one of these, having both position and force feedback, is almost unbelievably agile, but its master arms are bulky, the system is very complex and the mean time before failure tends to be short.

The conventional approach to master-slave control is by use of a closed position servo loop through use of a position pick-off mounted on each joint of the slave arm and used in conjunction with a companion pickoff on the control arm. This type of position slaving has the disadvantages of position pickotfs operating in the hostile environment and of many additional wires (from the pickoffs) passing through the pressure hull. Another disadvantage given for prior art master-slave manipulators with position feed-back is the snap-in effect, which is the alignment transient which can occur when the system is first turned on with an initial misalignment between the position of the master and slave arms.

In the case of undersea applications, the disadvantages mentioned above, along with that of higher cost, have largely prevented the use of master-slave manipulators.

Summary In view of the foregoing remarks, the present invention provides a master-slave manipulator apparatus which preserves the agility and maneuverability of this type of apparatus, but which overcomes the above objections to previous forms of such type by use of an open-loop control system which takes into consideration relationships at the master arm which affect gravity and inertia torque conditions of the slave arm.

Manipulator apparatus

Publication number    US3589134 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Jun 29, 1971
Filing date    Oct 30, 1969
Priority date    Oct 30, 1969
Inventors    Hackmann Robert L, Hunt Donald W
Original Assignee    Westinghouse Electric Corp

1. Field of the Invention Manipulator arm assemblies and controls therefor.

2. Description of the Prior Art
Mechanical arms, sometimes referred to as manipulators, are very often used when a particular environment is too hostile or dangerous for a man's direct participation. The manipulators provide an extension of the human arm capability in addition to motions and capabilities not performable by a human.

A typical manipulator includes two or three pivotal arm sections the last of which carries a tool, cleaning brush, or some other terminal device such as a gripping mechanism, for performing a certain task. The terminal device is visually observed by an operator by means of direct observation or by a television system. In moving the terminal device to a desired location the operator uses a model of the manipulator served to the actual manipulator, or a puppet arrangement where control cables attached to the operators arm move the manipulator in a corresponding manner to the arm; these types of controls can be very fatiguing to the operator and in addition where response times are relatively slow the operator must make a move and then wait to see the response of the manipulator assembly and thereafter take any necessary corrective action. This move and wait technique greatly extends the time required to perform a given task. In a manipulator having three pivots and three arm sections if it is desired to move the terminal device along a line it is necessary for the operator to command at least three different pivot actuators. An under or over command requires corrective action of one or more pivots and the relatively simple task of moving in a straight line becomes an extremely complicated procedure.

It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a control system for a manipulator apparatus which relieves the operator of cumbersome and detailed manual control for various desired line movements.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A control system for manipulator assembly is provided which includes a plurality of actuators which in response to an input signal pivotally move the arm sections of the manipulator relative to one another. One of the actuators is commanded to move one of the arm sections and a positional orientation of the commanded arm section is sensed and the remaining actuators are provided with input signals to command them as a function of the positional orientation of the first arm section.
Manipulator arm

Publication number    US3610438 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    Oct 5, 1971
Filing date    Mar 16, 1970
Priority date    Mar 16, 1970
Also published as    DE2112066A1
Inventors    Opdahl Everett W
Original Assignee    Westinghouse Electric Corp

ABSTRACT: A manipulator arm is exemplified which employs externally at its joint a pair of parallel actuator links extending longitudinally between pivotal connections on adjacent rounded arm section ends that are coupled together for rolling motion of one of such ends on the other. Rotary actuation of the links about the pivotal connection on one arm section causes a greater rotary movement of the other  section about such connection. Control and/or actuator lines extend longitudinally inside the arm; interconnected at the arm section joints via flexible sections snaked between the actuating links for constant length at all angular joint positions.

1. Field of the Invention
Manipulator arms suited for use on undersea vehicles.

2. Description of the Prior Art
It is common practice in manipulator arm constructions for undersea use to employ a fork fitting or offset hinge at the arm section joints. In either case, it is difficult to pass control and/or actuator lines through the joints. If the lines are run externally, they are susceptible to damage or snagging unless shrouded, which is difficult to achieve.

In order to obtain joint motions in excess of 90deg, rotary type hydraulic actuators have been employed, which are located directly at the pivot axes of the joints. This type of actuator installation also inhibits the passage of control and/or actuator lines therethrough.

Arm joint constructions which permit one arm section to fold back against another, heretofore have been difficult if not impossible to attain. A result has been that the degree of compaction of the arms during stowage has been undesirably limited, hence the arm storage demanded has been greater than desirable.

In certain existing arm joint constructions, actuators become exposed and/or protrude when the arm assumes a folded position. This makes them susceptible to damage when stowed externally of the vehicle and/or increases stowage volume requirements.

Still further, certain existing arm joint constructions result in inefficient use of their structural components, hence tend to contribute to increased weight due to larger size required to compensate for the inefficiency.

For light duty manipulators, it is desirable to locate the actuators at the shoulder arm section rather than at the joint being driven, since this reduces the parasitic weight which the arm must lift during its operation. It is difficult to provide for such remote actuation of the joints in previous arm constructions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention, in providing a manipulator arm construction in which the ends of arm sections at the joints are caused to roll about the ends of adjacent arm sections by angular movement of one end of pairs of actuator links disposed at opposite sides of the exterior of such arm, opportunity is afforded for readily overcoming the limitations of the prior art set forth in the preceding description of such prior art.

The externally situated actuator links, being pivotally connected at one end to one arm section and at its other end to the adjacent arm section affords longitudinal space between the two pivot locations to accommodate extension of S-shaped flexible control and/or actuator line sections that transfers itself by bending progressively onto one or the other arm section end without changing length during angular movement at the arm joints in one direction or the other. With the actuator links being disposed along the exterior of the arms at the joints, disposition of such lines within their protective confines is afforded.

By virtue of the rolling motion of one arm section end over the end of the adjacent arm section, angulation of the one section relative to the other to the extent of 180deg for foldback is readily obtainable, and by virtue of obtaining such rolling motion by the turning of one end of the respective actuator link pair to obtain a multiplication of the resultant arm section movement, efficient use of rotary input motion is obtained.

By virtue of longitudinal separation between the input axis about which the rotary input motion occurs and the axis on which the actuated arm section turns, considerable choice of input motion actuator is afforded, including a hydraulic rotary actuator coaxial with such input axis, a local reciprocating piston actuator crank-arm-connected at such input axis, a remote actuator connected via cables in the arm to crank arms at such input axis, etc.

See Cousteau's earlier SP-350 here.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1958-62 – “Beetle” Mobile Manipulator – G.E. Corp. (American)


1958-62 – "Beetle" Mobile Manipulator.

Background Information:


Popular Mechanic's (Sep 1956) drawing made by Frank Tinsley from designs by Lee A. Ohlinger of Northrop Aviation, Inc. of a robot mechanic for the proposed atomic-powered airplane, a star-crossed project that stumbled through 10 years and $500,000 without ever getting off the ground.


General Mills was one company that patented a 'Vehicle-Mounted Manipulator' in 1958 as its proposal for atomic-powered aircraft maintenance, amongst other purposes.

Publication number US3043448 A
Publication date Jul 10, 1962
Filing date Sep 19, 1958
Inventors Melton Donald F
Original Assignee Gen Mills Inc


Source: Missiles and Rockets, Volume 9, 1961



In 1961, GE's Beetle was under construction. The above few pictures show the model that was built beforehand.


World's Biggest Robot By Martin Mann
Fix an atomic rocket engine? Clean up spills of radioactivity? Rescue H-bomb victims? That's what the Beetle is for
THAT monster glaring at you from the left is the biggest robot ever made. It weighs 170,000 pounds in its double-thick rubber treads. It can punch its claw hand through a concrete wall or gently stretch stainless-steel arms to pluck an egg off the top of a house. 
There's a man inside. Safe within the lead-and-steel cab, he can work where no unarmored man could live -in the deadly radiation that atomic energy the most fearsome as well as the most promising invention of the century.    
He could roll right up to the atomic engine of a space rocket and delicately maneuvering those 16-foot arms, make adjustments. Or he could replace a broken part in the atomic boiler of a power plant. Or haul the fatally hot debris of a nuclear accident away to the burying ground. If H-bombs struck he could dash into the destruction zone to rescue injured people and scrape away the worst of the fallout dust. 
That's what this bizarre machine, named the Beetle, can do. When PS Chief Photographer Bill Morris and I first saw the Beetle, it wasn't doing anything but sitting on a hangar floor. They couldn't start the engine.

Beetle is first of a family of robots that will handle the hot jobs of the atomic age


Robot with a bellyache. In four days it operated seldom, and then it limped more than ran. There was difficulty with the degassing circuit. A plug popped and hydraulic fluid squirted out (a dedicated engineer, Dutch-boy-like, stuck his finger in the hole). A diode blew, immobilizing one arm (a welder had dropped a tool into the control chassis). The auxiliary generator pooped out (brush trouble). It seemed that short circuits had their own short circuits (after all, there are 400 miles of wiring in the thing).
Such bugs are standard equipment in any complex new machine. They were cleaned up in a furious week of round- the-clock troubleshooting. But these setbacks were only the culmination of troubles that dogged the Beetle from the beginning. It was originally designed to be a robot mechanic for the atomic-powered airplane, a star-crossed project that stumbled through 10 years and $500,000 without ever getting off the ground. So the Beetle is an orphan. The Air Force, which paid $1,500,000 for it, still isn't sure exactly what it will be used for. Yet the need for machines of this type is so certain that the orphan is already fathering a whole family of newer robots. The next models, now on the drafting boards, will bear only a family resemblance to Papa Beetle. They'll be smaller and lighter, so they can be air-lifted where needed. Most will be remote-controlled–without a man inside you don't need all that heavy radiation shielding.  
The Beetle does carry a man. That makes it more versatile. But it also requires some of the most elaborate engineering ever lavished on any ground vehicle.

It looks like a tank because the chassis is reworked from an Army M42 40-mm. gun carrier. A 500-hp supercharged Continental six speeds it along roads at 10 m.p.h., but there's also an electrical drive by which it creeps 15 feet per minute. It could wrench the concrete all off a test cell without grunting hard–drawbar pull is 85,000 pounds.
The cab, however, is nothing like a tank turret. It not only turns around and around, but moves up and down 15 feet on four stainless-steel legs (built like hydraulic auto lifts). These movements are precise but slow, for that cab weighs 50 tons.
The walls are made of foot-thick lead covered inside and out with half inch steel plates. The entrance hatch is a tight-fitting cork of lead directly over the operator's head. It alone weighs 7 1/2 tons.  
The hatch offers the only way in or out.

Understandably, there are four separate mechanisms for raising it: the regular hydraulic system, the battery-powered hydraulic pump, a hand pump on the operator's left armrest, and hand pump outside the cab.
Even with the four independent emergency outs, the operators seat is still no place for a guy with claustrophobia. It's eerily  oppressive even when the hatch is wide open (I tried it). Those 50 tons of lead and steel form the most effective suit of armor ever wrapped around a single man. It cuts down atomic rays by 3,000 times. That means the operator could put in a full day's work where the radiation level was 3,000 roentgens per hour. Unshielded  exposure to such intense radiation would  probably kill him after 10 minutes.  
The man who will seal himself inside this massive machine is young, flamboyant Randall Scraper, who comes from Indiana, but is always called Tex. Scrapper is one of the most skilful of an elite corps of technicians, the professional manipulators.

These specialists perform the same work as any repairman–taking machines apart and putting them back together again. But there is one big difference: The manipulators work on machines too "hot" to get close to. They cannot touch their work or even their tools. Everything must be done at long range with mechanical arms.

No sense-no feeling. The arm is a stainless-steel boned, electrically muscled copy of human equipment: shoulder, upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. The joints are superhuman: They spin around and around as well as bend. The hand is usually a two-fingered claw that can grasp and manoeuver parts or tools: but it can be snapped off and replaced by any of any specialized types–a socket-tipped finger, for instance.

The steel hand cannot feel, however, and that is a serious loss.You can't tell whether you are crushing something or holding it too loosley it will fall. (Dropping a nut or screw seldom matters: spilling a can of radioactive material could tie things up for weeks.)

Working with mechanical arrms is like playing the nickel-in-the-slot claw machine at an amusement park–and snaring the toy compass every time. It takes unusually sensitive coordination as well as icily calm concentrating–outwardly at least. Tex Scraper steadily chews gum and cigars, often both at once. But he possesses the supreme patience to devote eight hours to removing one nut from a bolt.

"I can do that,: Scraper drawls. "because I turn my ears off. People are always watching, trying to help. 'A little to the right,' they tell me. Well, it may be their right and my left. So I've taught myself to pay no mind. I don't even hear them."

The Beetle is worth its cost solely to take Scraper and his mechanical arms up close to the hot nuts and bolts. He gets safety and a clear view of the work (not perfect, yet better than television). But he pays for these advantages with total isolation.

The operator is sealed tight a mummy. There is barely space to wiggle a foot; standing or stretching is out of the question. His only direct connection to the outside world is an air intake.  
(The duct zigzags, like the entrance to a photographic darkroom so that radiation cannot "shine" in. Special filters are unnecessary because the air itself does not become radioactive.)    
A three-ton air conditioner keeps Scraper cosy (72 to 76 degrees, 60-percent humidity) even if the temperature outside plummets to 25 below or flames to 130 above zero. He talks to base by radio (two separate transmitter-receivers) or public-address system.    
There's even a microphone out front so that he can listen to the engine.

A room with a view. Even more elaborate are the arrangements for looking out.
To go with the windows, there are two pairs of binoculars on swinging mounts; with them Scraper can read the scale of a standard micrometer gauging parts many feet distance.
There is a retracting, submarine-style periscope that rotates and tilts.
Finally there is closed-circuit TV. The screen sits between his legs. One camera is clipped to the cab, like a pencil in a man's breast pocket. It can be picked up and moved around by the mechanical arms. Two fixed cameras point to the rear so that Scraper can see what's going on behind him–outside rear-view mirrors are impractical.
The Beetle's cab even includes a few luxury accessories: a comfortable, power adjusted chair, ash tray, lighter. Most important of all, perhaps, is an oxygen bottle. If absolutely everything went wrong, it could sustain Scraper for eight hours. Presumably that would give time to haul the machine out of danger, cut the cab open, and free him.

Source: Popular Science, May 1962.


Built by Jered Industries in Detroit for General Electric's Nuclear Materials and Propulsion Operation division, the Beetle was designed for the Air Force Special Weapons Centre, initially to service and maintain a planned fleet of atomic-powered Air Force bombers. According to declassified Air Force reports, work began on the 'Beetle' in 1959, and it was completed in 1961.

It has also been said [Halacy, "The Robots Are Here!", 1965] that the Beetle was built for NASA's "Project Rover", a nuclear rocket development program.

 Life Magazine, 4 May 1962 had a brief article and a couple of pictures of the Beetle.


Beetle showing its versitility by putting an egg on a spoon. Not bad given the size and types of grippers, and lack of tactile feedback to the operator.


A startled look as the Beetle is spotted in the make-up mirror.


beetle-kennedy-press-1 - Copy-x640

President Kennedy (back to camera) having a look.

hjbeetle2 - Copy-x640


beetle_0012 - Copy-x640


beetle-remote-manipulator-pic - Copy-x640

The Beetles' Arms and Hands


The General Mills arm used in the Beetle is very similar to this arm descibed by patent US3247978. Karl Neumeier was one of General Mills engineers.


The two-fingered hand is also described in the patent and is most likely the same if not very similar to that used on the Beetle's manipulator arms.



General Mills Hook-and-anvil hand. {Image says PaR Systems, which was a spin-off from General Mills]



The General Mills logo on the manipulator arm.












In the Life Magazine article mentioned above, Getty-LIFE have a lot of images from that photo shoot. They appear in the photo gallery below.

Invalid Displayed Gallery

See other early Teleoperators and Industrial Robots here.