The original name of ABB’s robot factory at Bryne was Trallfa, a company that pioneered development of a robot for spray painting in 1965 – 67. It has its origin in a company manufacturing wheelbarrows, sack trolleys and transport equipment, which was founded in Bryne in 1941 by Nils Underhaug.
Nils Underhaug, a young man from Nærbø, wanted to enter into the automobile repair trade. By the age of 17, he had already created his first automobile, a monster with four bicycle wheels and a 1 ½ horse power engine, which scared the horses in the neighborhood and aroused the surrounding farmers’ disapproval. But it worked! Little did he know then that he would later come to play an important part in the world of the automotive industry.
Nils completed his education and apprenticeship as an auto mechanic and worked for some years repairing automobiles. In 1941 Nils decided to start his own company. Equipped with a case of automobile tools and USD 2000 in the bank, plus an optimistic outlook on life, he started a trolley factory – Trallfa – on February 1, 1941.
Nils started out with only two employees. The factory grew steadily, and soon Trallfa could move into its first real factory building. Wheelbarrows became their specialty. New designs were created, prices lowered and the new wheelbarrows became a great success. The wheelbarrows were painted by hand, and despite the fact that several workers with modern equipment worked in shifts, painting became a bottleneck.
In 1962, Jæren Automation Association, with Nils Underhaug as chairman, employed Ole Molaug as manager. Molaug was a young mechanical engineer from a small place at the farthest end of a fjord in western Norway. After graduating from technical college, he returned to his father’s workshop to earn a living at the wood turning lathe. He early had the idea to use electronic devices on the shop floor, and wondered a lot about constructing a robot. He learned electronics through private
studies. Later he received a grant from the Research Council of Norway to continue his studies.
Molaug brought his robot idea up for Nils Underhaug and were challenged to come up with specific plans for a spray painting robot. Ole studied the spray painting methods at Trallfa and on July 1, 1964, he presented a paper outlining his idea accompanied by a simple sketch, estimating the cost to USD 1500 – 2000. Nils Underhaug gave Ole Molaug the go ahead.
Molaug took charge of the electronics and tool maker Sverre Bergene from Trallfa was entrusted with solving the mechanical and hydraulic challenges. They worked at night and into the small hours, while doing their ordinary work during the day. Even though colleagues began to gossip about “those expensive toys”, they never lost faith.
In the summer of 1966, the robot had progressed far enough to be introduced at the Trallfa stand of the local exhibition “Jærdagen”. There it executed profile drawings, and crowds gathered to see this strange contraption performing.
So far so good, but would it really work? The opportunity came in February, 1967, when the robot had a trial run at the conveyor in the factory’s paint shop. Nils Underhaug had the honor of pressing the button to start the robot. Start it did, and painted wheelbarrow boxes passing along the conveyor – one after the other. The results were excellent.
To make a long story short, Trallfa decided to go into production with its robot. In 1969 the first industrial spray painting robot were delivered to Sweden for bath tub enameling. The company established itself early as the leading supplier of robots for spray painting applications, as it still is today in ABB.
Also, Ccontributed greatly on the electronics side.
The above images from Tormod Henne, December 2009 book on the history of ABB robots.
Taking 400-foot 15-second hops, lunar "pogo sticks" could most forward at about 20 miles an hour—much faster than the four to five miles an hour
of vehicles now being considered for moon exploration. The moon leaper was devised by Dr. Howard S. Seifert, scientist at the United Technology Center at Sunnyvale, Calif. This artist's concept shows lunar Ieapers in action, with the twin cabins in various positions for takeoff, flight and landing.
—AP Newsfeatures Photo.
Source: Reading Eagle 29 Jan 1967
Lunar Leaper Is Designed By Scientist
Sunnyvale, Calif. (AP)—The best vehicle for exploring the moon, once man was landed, may be a kind of pogo stick making 400-foot hops among the craters.
Dr. Howard S. Seifert, United Technology Center scientist subs also teaches at Stanford University, has worked out concepts for such a vehicle. He's serious.
Dr. Seifert has talked with others in the field and with various government agencies. including NASA. and says he has found a high degree of interest in the novel idea.
The monopod, moon hopper or lunar leaper—you name it—would consist of a 40-foot hollow pole between two cabins. The cabins—one carrying a pilot and a passenger, the other containing power plant, flight control equipment and a life support system — would ride up and down the pole on a cushion of compressed gas.
As Seifert envisions it, a moon hop would start with the cabin structure resting rear the bottom of the pole. Pressure of gas against a piston would force the structure 30 feet up the pole, where it would lock in place, carrying the pole on upward with it on a ballistic trajectory.
The pole would be leaning forward at 45 degrees to the lunar surface at the start of the 400-foot, 15-second hop. Midway in flight, the lower end would swing forward in preparation for landing, when a big traction foot would contact the surface and the cabins would slide downward. compressing the gas again for the next leap.
The traction foot, the point of contact of the pole with the lunar surface, would be light, flexible. cleated and probably at least four feet across. It would be designed, Dr. Seifert said. to reduce bearing loads to acceptable values for the lunar soil.
The pole's momentum would swing it to position for the nest take-off during the one to two seconds between hops.
The craft would move forward at about 20 miles per hour, Seifert said.
This compares with a limit of four to five miles an hour for walking or wheeled vehicles now being considered for moon transport.
Seifert pointed to nature's hoppers—the kangaroo, rabbit, grasshopper and flea, among others.
"It would seem reasonable that matters and energy could be combined by man to create an efficient hopping transportation system on the moon," he said.
"Successful use of this system depends upon a lunar surface sufficiently free of large rocks and strong enough to support the vehicle."
Moon information accumulated thus far, mainly through photographs, indicates much of the terrain would be suitable for hopper travel, he said.
Paired gyroscopes would keep the cabins level and the pole correctly angled even if the foot skidded while landing on a sloping surface, Seifert said. Around the 200-foot-high apex of one jump, the pilot would select his landing point, using a computer and bomb-sight type device to pick a suitable bouncing spot.
Seifert said power would be supplied by a relatively small gas generator enabling the craft to move forward eight or nine miles on a gallon of standard fuel—"tremendously better than a rocket in that respect."
To Regain Energy
Once started. the hopper would regain about 80 per cent of its expanded energy in each gas compressing bounce-down, he explained. The bouncing mode of travel—with about 10 seconds of each hop bring spent above 100 feet—would aid observation and exploration, Seifert believes.
The scientist is a past president of the American Rocket Society and has served as vice president of the International Astronautical Federation and director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is the author of more than 30 papers on liquid, solid and nuclear rocket motor development and guided missile systems.
His moon hopper concept could be tested on earth, Seifert said, and colleagues at Stanford have expressed great interest in working out the system.
"Friends have said they'd like to test hop such a vehicle around a football field," Seifert said.
Artists Concert Illustration
Source: Popular Science, March 1969
Officially called "The Lunar Hopping Transporter", although attributed to Seifert, there were quite a few people involved in the research project for NASA for the Apollo Moon Mission program.
US Patent number: 3522859 – see here for full patent details. Filing date: Jan 22, 1968 Issue date: Aug 4, 1970
First filed in Great Britain 26 Jan 1967
Model of Centipede.
In the first model (Fig. 6.15(a) above) of the centipede the sprung legs were operated with two chains, one arranged half-way up the legs and one attached to the top of the legs, so arranged that the legs were always held vertically. Each leg is separately sprung and can have various types of feet on it (Fig. 6.16-not shown). However, a fundamental advantage of separate legs is that if one has a solid rubber pad for each foot, with no track on it at all, it still gives a good grip on soft ground because the front and rear edges of the foot act as the track. The actual weight is taken on a rail with a roller feed to the leg running on it.
Above: Small-scale working model of mechanical elephant designed for rough- country load-carrying and a wide range of jobs required in developing virgin land for agricultural purposes. The legs of the 'centipede' track are individually sprung, giving the machine a capability of climbing vertical objects up to one-and-a-half metres high in the proposed full-sized version. The machine could also cross rivers and lakes.
A study of this machine showed that it is not essential to have the legs moving vertically when they come down to the ground and they can come round a circle at the front and still give the same ability to climb stairs. The next version shown in Fig. 6.17 above can be described as a caterpillar track with legs. Each element of the caterpillar chain consists of T-shaped piece, joined to the next element by rollers at the corners of the crossbar of the T with the stem of the T forming the sprung leg. The two rollers run on rails which are concave upwards so that slightly more weight is taken on the middle feet than on the end ones, to make turning easier. The chains are driven by a hexagonal wheel at each end, with grooves in them that mesh with the rollers. If one has too few corners on these wheels there is too much variation in the speed of the track as the wheel rotates because of the difference in the radii of the circumscribing and inscribing circles of the polygons hence the wheels should be at least hexagons. The rail has to be located with its end at the radius of the circle traversed by the insides of the rollers.
The other proposal (Fig. 6.18 below) has been specifically put forward for the problems of carrying tree trunks over areas where tree stumps are frequent, and for operating sugar beet or potato-extracting machines in a very wet season.
This has a single rubber track supporting low-pressure pneumatic rubber legs, which are preferably elliptical in cross-section, with the long axis in the forward direction, so that they can bend more easily sideways than backwards under load. The belt is driven by a toothed drum on each end, with the teeth meshing with grooves on the inside of the belt. The flat raised part of the teeth on the belt is coated with a low friction plastic and runs between the two drums on a convex-downward smooth steel rail, in the form of a wide plate, which takes the load.
Text: Science Journal, October 1968 Special Issue: Machines Like Men
Machines with arms p59
H. A. Ballinger
Representing a further class of machines for the radioactive environment is the result of my [Ballinger] own work at Harwell. Some four years ago a study of reports on' criticality' incidents in the United States highlighted the advantages of a machine with arms for reactor damage control duties. A survey of existing designs showed, however, that none had the obstacle surmounting ability needed to reach an accident point within a building. A vehicle study was therefore made which resulted in the design of the RIVET (Remote Inspection Vehicle, 'Telechiric'). The dimensions of this device are such that it has, when in transit, the profile of a crawling man — yet at the scene of an accident it can erect its TV eyes and operating arm to the height of a standing man. In this position it can outreach a human by manipulating loads of up to 35kg at a 1.4 m radius. A novel track design enables it to surmount those obstacles where any single step is as high as 50 per cent of its track length—the limit of a modern tank is 12.5 per cent. It can mount stairs of 45o angle, turn in a 1.2 m corridor, or enter an office, pass through the knee hole of a desk and then climb onto the desk top.
Hugh A. Ballinger is an assistant chief engineer at the Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment. His department develops the technology of remote and active handling for the Authority. It also provides the general scientific equipment and services for research into materials science. Previously has led groups developing nuclear fusion and fission plant; he helped to build and operate the first experimental reactor at Harwell.
I was recently researching the robots used in the 1979 movie "Saturn 3". One of the minor robots is referred to and is said to be a RIVET made by Harwell Laboratories (UK Atomic Energy Authority).
The original patent was filed in Great Britain in 1967.
Here are the details on the US patent of RIVET. See here.
Patent number: 3533483 Filing date: Feb 8, 1968 Issue date: Oct 13, 1970
A later version [but pre-1986] from UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) called "Spider".
Another later version called ROMAN.
Origins of Articulated Track
The track design, particularly that of the later model "Spider" above, is very similar to that of iRobot's Packbot. It's interesting to note that the original track patent for Packbot does not reference the "Spider" vehicle in its prior art. Possibly the "Spider" design is not patented or only patented in the UK. Other than similar approaches used for wheelchair climbing, the RIVET/SPIDER design is the first I've come across like this.
Interview with John Gaughan who restored "Tap Dancer".
AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHAN VON HUENE
ON HIS AUDIO-KINETIC SCULPTURES
* Computer artist living at 820 Hermosa Drive, N.E., Albuquerque, N.M. 87110, U.S.A. (Received 22 November 1969.)
Interviewer's note—Stephan Von Huene was born in Los Angeles, California in September 1932 and is currently residing there at 1336 Sutherland Ave. He studied art at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles and at the University of California at Los Angeles [1-4]. He teaches at present at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.
Newmark—'Tap Dancer' (1969) is your latest audio-kinetic sculpture. Do you feel it is the culmination of a period in your work?
Von Huene—All of the sculptures that were in my 1969 exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art were the culmination of a certain direction; that is, the use of biomorphic forms activated by a player-piano mechanism and accompanied by music.
`Kaleidophonic Dog' (1967) was my first machine to operate successfully. A dog is lying on its back with parts of it moving, accompanied by sounds of a wooden drum, 8 organ pipes and a xylophone. Used in the machine are five loops of 2 in. tape with perforated programs that move along a tracker-bar arrangement. The pneumatic system causes parts to move and the drum, organ pipes and xylophone to produce sounds.
N. Would you describe the mechanism you use?
V. H. The basic part of it is a valve that acts like a switch and a tracker bar over which rides a perforated tape. When the perforations in the paper tape line up with holes in the tracker bar,it turns on the valve switch and allows air to be pumped out of
a small bellows that has a hammer attached to it. The hammer may hit a drum or it may operate another small bellows that opens a palate valve connected to one or more organ pipes. The organ pipes are operated by an air blower. The perforated tape, or several of them, can be rewound automatically; the system can also be operated during the rewinding phase. If anyone is interested in the details of the system I use, I would be glad to provide them.
N. What led you to use the player-piano mechanism ?
V. H. I was at first simply interested in finding out how it worked. I found that the 11.5 inch player-piano paper strip was too wide for my purposes and now use a 2 in. paper tape. I punch holes in the tape at random or with a specific program of sounds in mind. I would like to make it possible for anyone to prepare the tapes, so they would produce sound combinations to suit themselves—either ordered sound sequences, which are, I suppose, what we call music or haphazard sound arrangements.
N. Would you describe your most recent piece, `Rosebud Annunciator' (1969).
V. H. It has an overall appearance of early California architecture, heavy and oak-furniture-like, an influence that stems from a very romantic part of my early life in Pasadena, California. On top of the machine is a leather rose, made up of sixteen sections that can be inflated and deflated. Then, on each side there is a post with an inflatable, deflatable leather sphere in a box on top of it, connected by tubing to the pneumatic system. The center part is made of a large xylophone with twenty-four notes, two cymbals, a drum and an octave of reeds.
N. I note that 'Rosebud' is 7 ft high and 8 ft wide. What led to the center part being so large, was it the xylophone ?
V. H. The xylophone determined the width but it was the pneumatic system underneath it that brought about the rather large height.
N. Tell me how you incorporated inflatable parts with sound producing elements in this audio-kinetic sculpture.
V. H. First, I made the rose as a relief in wood. Then I formed over it separate pieces of leather. Later, I mounted these pieces so that the assembled form could be activated by air pressure. The motion of the rose and the sounds are controlled by the player-piano mechanism and the roll, both when it unwinds and rewinds. The roll rewinds faster than it unwinds in this machine. While the roll unwinds the animation of the rose and the spheres is slow, monotonous, ceremonial, then on the rewind there is a fast jumble that gives the feeling that the machine is falling apart amidst a din of sounds.
N. Has anyone commented on the sounds emitted by 'Rosebud' ?
V. H. In the fall of 1968, I was asked to exhibit `Rosebud' in the Electromagica Exhibition in Tokyo. That was an international exhibition of art objects using electricity. It was organized by the Japan Electric Arts Association. At the show I met a Chinese scholar who said that he noted with interest that my machine was playing Japanese music. I explained to him that I had based the music, more or less, on Bach's 'Two-Part Invention' and the beat was related to some of the music composed by Stravinsky. Perhaps this combination sounds Oriental to some. To me the beginning part sounds a little like the music I heard in Vera Cruz, Mexico. The end, as I said before, is a jumble of sounds, nevertheless, the complete program has, I believe, a certain kind of consistency which I enjoy.
N. Did it take you a long time to complete `Rosebud' ?
V. H. Approximately two years—'Kaleidophonic' Dog' took three years. 'Washboard Band' and 'Tap Dancer' each took me only six months to complete.
N. Would you give some details on 'Tap Dancer' and 'Washboard Band' ?
V. H. 'Tap Dancer', as you can see in the photograph, consists of the legs of a man below the knees. The shoes are a bit odd looking. The legs oscillate in clockwise and counter-clockwise directions, while the toes of the shoes go up and down. The toes are connected pneumatically to wood blocks inside the supporting box to make tapping sounds against the top of the box. The sculpture is programmed by a tape loop that lasts about 4 minutes and it automatically plays over and over.
`Washboard Band' consists of two major elements. The taller column supports an ordinary laundry washboard upon which beat four sticks. There is also a sliding piece that moves
horizontally, back and forth, to produce a rasping sound. Above the washboard is a cymbal and a cow bell, which are struck periodically. On the top of the shorter column, there is a plastic box containing reeds that vibrate when air is blown past them. (The air also moves leather strips above the reeds.) The sculpture is programmed by two tape loops of different length. With each revolution of the loops the program on each tape phases into a new relationship.
N. Do you have some new ideas you want to apply to your audio-kinetic sculptures?
V. H. Yes. I want to handle the whole sculptural lay-out in a different, simpler way. Also I want to use different sound-producing objects that produce less well-known sounds. I'll still use wood and leather for some moving parts, as I find them satisfactory materials—I used wood and leather even before I started to make audio-kinetic sculptures. When I became interested in player piano mechanisms and organ pipes, I found they also had wood and leather parts. I believe I have improved the old systems for sucking and pumping air both to activate pneumatic parts and to produce various kinds of sound. When I made figurative sculpures in the past, I used wood covered with leather rather than with paint. You may find it surprising that I also used bread instead of wood because I like its tactile, sensual qualities.
N. But is bread sufficiently durable?
V. H. I made it durable. After the bread formed, I dried it and covered it with resin. Sometimes, I used fresh dough and allowed the rising of the dough, caused by the action of yeast, to fill a desired shape. I enjoyed working with a material that has life-like properties. I became quite obsessed with bread for a while. I wrote stories on paintings I had seen that seemed to me to be all bread. People seemed to be all bread. It was as if they became what they ate. No doubt, a very primitive attitude on my part. Why make images of people out of stone, of metal? Why not make them out of bread or leather? Certainly, these materials are most appropriate for making images mimicking people.
[Source: Kinetic Art: Frank Molina- Leonardo Magazine - Dover Press]
STEPHAN VON HUENE
Animation by Allan Kaprow
Born 1932 in Los Angeles, California. Graduated from Chouinard Art Institute in 1959, and received M.A. from the University of California. Los Angeles in 1965. Currently Associate Dean of the School of Art, California Institute of the Arts.
Current art is often made of absences: absence of purpose, absence of meaningful connection between things, absence of material and conceptual definition, absence of elaboration, absence of professionalism, absence of uplifting values, absence of personal identity, absence, even, of pathos. Artists seem intrigued by these gaps, these meta-states that leave things blankly self-evident or connected in perfunctory series like the numbers in a traffic count.
Stephan von Huene's art is one of presences. Not simply the physical presences of well-crafted objects, inventive and focused for eyes and ears; but, rather, 'magical' presences. Here are beings, surrogates for ourselves, who perform for a time and then are mute until requested to act and speak again. Oracles. They communicate in crypto-syllables from a language just beyond translation. They emit hoots, moans, clicks, beeps and breathy sounds, punched out on hidden paper tapes and run by vacuum sweeper motors. I've seen them in their mahogany dusk. Lights shine from their insides. Ceremonies.
For instance: A one-man band without the man who is the band, mechanically having become the band, plays for itself in an empty room. A white rose. Presence of the absence.
And: A vaudeville team in some bar in 1920 where for a nickel in a slot they'll rag, rattle, tonkle, scrape and blow. Washboard face with cowbell feather. Guardian Nickelodeon. Very serious. Mutt and Jeff at attention.
And: Enormous shoes of the clubfoot dandy, tapping away nifty twist of the hard-tipped toes under heavy folded cuffs. Insidious dance to the music we refuse to hear so we listen to the tappety tap of the man we won't see. Tappety
And: Erect wooden columns, alone, in pairs, threes and more (NYC office buildings), floating on contained light, totems intoning cadences of windy stories spoken to the shivering back. Jokes. Jokes you don't laugh at since you don't know when. (Meditative punch-lines.) Squared lips mouthing them, saying something known but forgotten. Dead-pan. Elegant. Ancestor.
Von Huene's art is located at a point just between those turn-of-the-century fantasies of machines that come alive, and archetypal evocations that reach beyond time. It thus escapes both the topicality of modernism and the datedness of the recent past. There is no nostalgia in his beings who articulate their own existence almost didactically and "in tongues." They seem on their own, stylistically removed from now just enough to perform without either necessity or apology. They are perhaps even a little smug in their mystery. What they are not, that is, what is absent, is of no importance to them. It is what makes their magic so potent.
[Source: Sound Sculpture, Grayson - see pdf here.]