Posts Tagged ‘1962’

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

beetle ps 8 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

1958-62 – "Beetle" Mobile Manipulator.


Background Information:

remote manipulator pm sep56 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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.

remote manip us3043488 pat x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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


Beetle announce x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Source: Missiles and Rockets, Volume 9, 1961

Robots EIJul61 model x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Beetle model x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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


beetle ps 4 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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

beetle ps 7 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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.

beetle ps 2 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)
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.

beetle ps 5 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)
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.

beetle ps 1 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)
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.


robot archive beetle x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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.

tele manipulator x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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.

USAF beetle robot x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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

1961 ge beetle press 1 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle kennedy press 1 Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

President Kennedy (back to camera) having a look.

hjbeetle2 Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle modestobee22feb1962 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle 0012 Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

Beetle a  0006 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle remote manipulator pic Copy x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)


The Beetles' Arms and Hands

Beetle arm GM pat 2 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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.

Beetle Gripper GM pat 1 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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.

beetle manipulator hand x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

par hook hand beetle x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

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

 

beetle life 14 General Mills x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

The General Mills logo on the manipulator arm.

beetle remote manipulator diag x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle remote manipulator dimensions x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

beetle09 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

hotSoup13 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

hotSoup21 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

hotSoup22 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 diag2 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 diag3 x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 diag x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)

PaR m550 pic x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)


18nj0o4hj5ly4jpg x640 1958 62   Beetle Mobile Manipulator   G.E. Corp. (American)


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.


See other early Teleoperators and Industrial Robots here.


1962 – Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept) – Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

Sperry pod 62 x640 1962   Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept)   Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

1962 – Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible. Not the name the vehicle was called in the original Sperry Gyroscope Company advertisement when it appeared in the February, 1962 issue of  Scientific American Magazine.

The shape is somewhat reminiscient of Wernher von Braun's "Bottle Suit", with manourvering engines top and bottom, but only one pair of manipulator arms.

SperryGyro 1962   Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept)   Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

The image is more famous in being copied by the Soviet Union and re-issed by the TASS agency in 1969 as if it were their own space station development. The first space station ever was Salyut 1, which was launched by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971. Like all the early space stations, it was "monolithic", intended to be constructed and launched in one piece, and then manned by a crew later. The wheel shape had been dropped by all by this time.

sperry space station tass 1962 press 1 x640 1962   Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept)   Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

10/11/69-MOSCOW: The Soviet Union hurled a "flying machine shop" carrying two cosmonauts into earth orbit 10/11. Reliable sources said it would be followed soon by one or two more manned craft and that crews would eperiment in the construction of an orbital space station. This Soviet sketch shows a future Soviet space station which will be used to assemble and launch interplanetary ships. The sketch shows portion of space station (BTM), a spaceship under construction (UR) and a one-man construction craft (UL). TASS PHOTO


 1962   Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept)   Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

Source: Lodi News-Sentinel, October 25, 1969.

sperry life 14 nov69 a x640 1962   Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept)   Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

Source: Life Magazine, Nov 14, 1969.

sperry sci am feb62 x640 1962   Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept)   Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

Source: February, 1962 issue of  Scientific American Magazine.

Soviet space station NYT 13Oct1969 x640 1962   Manned Auxillary Fitter Craft with Mandible (Concept)   Sperry Gyroscope Company (American)

Source: New York Times, 13 Oct 1969.


See other early Space Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1962 – Nonanthropomorphic Space Suit (Concept) – Douglas Aircraft Corp (American)

douglas aircraft baker p21a concept x640 1962   Nonanthropomorphic Space Suit (Concept)   Douglas Aircraft Corp (American)

For Douglas Aircraft, in 1962,  their earlier space manipulator designs, i.e., the Project Mercury converted capsule and the "Humpty Dumpty" unit, can be considered as first-generation, feasible, nonanthropomorphic devices. A much more speculative concept, but in every sense within our technological reach, is shown in figure 3 above. This is basically a space tug and repair vehicle and is spheroidally shaped. Viewing this figure, we see:
a. The control console will release doors on mechanical arms and legs, select various extensions, select self-viewing TV cameras, select receivers (communications), and regulate gyro control.
b. The 3-D helmet is a contained electronic unit and inside is a dot-type screen instead of the usual cathrode-ray tube. The image surface is hemispheroidal to reproduce real optical effects. The hemisphere would fit on the face over each eye to achieve stereoscopic effects. As the observer rotates his head he picks up the next camera transmission – not as a separate picture but as a continuously integrated picture. In actual use, the helmet could be reduced to a much smaller head set.
c. Expanding arms use servomotors with variable current control. They are run by operational gloves.
d. When the operator is positioned in the attitude seat, he has a complete attitude control of the sphere as he has of his own body.
e. Television cameras are placed on the main periphery of the globe.
f. Jet stabilizers are located between the cameras.

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


See other early Teleoperators here.

See other early Lunar and Space Robots here.


1962 – Table-Clearing Robot – Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

Thring TableClearing robot 1967 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

"Working model of a table-clearing robot [Mk 2] designed to test the present-day feasibility of principles required for the house-working robot and other machines. The model has one 'sight' and two 'touch' sensors which enable the mechanical arm to pick up objects and place them on the rotating, clearing tray on top of the machine."

INVENTORS' EXHIBITION

 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

2065.27 | INVENTORS' EXHIBITION. London 13/01/1969

M/S table clearing robot. M/S as it lifts cup up from table. C/U cup being lifted from table and placed to one side. M/S as cup swings round to make room for another.

thring pathe robot table 5 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

thring pathe robot table 4 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

thring pathe robot table 3 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

thring pathe robot table 2 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

thring pathe robot table 1 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)


THE HOUSE-PROUD ROBOT
Clearing the table after a meal is a task which can be given to a robot. This one, like many other robots, does not have a human form like its counterparts in fiction. But it does its job well.

ThringClearerPt1 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)
1. The mug is seen by a photoelectric "eye" and the "hand" is directed towards it.
2. Controlled by pressure sensors, the hand grips the mug firmly.
3. As the hand retracts, it puts the mug on a rotating turntable.

ThringClearerPt2 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)
4. By its rotation, the turntable clears the mug out of the way. Far right: a close-up of the robot housemaid in action.


Thring TableClearer2 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

This table-clearing machine has a photoelectric eye which detects objects. This directs linkage; closes on them
lifts them back to the turntable.


Thring table clearing robot col1 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

Thring table clearing robot col2 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)


thring WoWe9may73 a x434 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)


Earlier Mk 1 version of Table-clearing Robot

thring mk1 table clearing robot 1 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

Thring table clearing robot mk1 62 x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)


Meredith Thring with his models of Domestic Robot

thring 67press1 x530 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

Thring domestic robot cartoon x531 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)

Cartoon from New Scientist, March 1963.

thring domestic x640 1962   Table Clearing Robot   Meredith Thring (Australian/British)


See other early Domestic Service Robots here.


1962-3 – The Jetsons Automatic Vacuum Cleaner – Hanna-Barbera (American)

The Jetsons live in the year 2062 in a futuristic utopia (100 years in the future at the time of the show's debut) of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions.

jetsons autovac 1962c 1962 3   The Jetsons Automatic Vacuum Cleaner   Hanna Barbera (American)

Robotic vacuum cleaner.

 1962 3   The Jetsons Automatic Vacuum Cleaner   Hanna Barbera (American)

This console activates the washing, ironing, and vacuuming. Antennas imply radio-control. Image source Paleofuture

jetsons robot cleaner vacuum 1962 3   The Jetsons Automatic Vacuum Cleaner   Hanna Barbera (American)


jetsons rosie sweeping 1962 3   The Jetsons Automatic Vacuum Cleaner   Hanna Barbera (American)

rosie the robot jetsons vacuum 1962 3   The Jetsons Automatic Vacuum Cleaner   Hanna Barbera (American)

Rosie with her sweeping and vacuuming attachments.


jetsons vacuum cartoon everett 1985 1962 3   The Jetsons Automatic Vacuum Cleaner   Hanna Barbera (American)

A later 1985 version of an automated vacuum cleaner.


See other early remote-controlled and robotic vacuum cleaners and floor scrubbers here.