Posts Tagged ‘1980’

1980 – “Crater Scraper” Walking Beam Model – Peter Holland (British)

The "Space Models" designed by Peter Holland, which appeared in the early Model Maker of the 'fifties onwards, were interesting applications of mechanical principles and some are still available today in the Model Maker Plans Service as constructional drawings. This, his latest, "Space Model" makes use of readily available gear and rack sets and there's a radio controlled version too [Ed. Included here]. . . Peter will describe them both.

This machine bears a faint external resemblance to my old M.A.P. Plans Service design "S.L.I.T.H.A.", a friction operated device using one of those dear old ever ready T.G.18 series of electric motors…..
The "Crater Scraper" is an earth levelling device or should I say "Moon" levelling?). It has a beam upon which a car travels, and which, upon reaching the far end, shoots the  beam forward ahead of itself again as seen in the sequence of Fig. 1. Unlike the "S.L.I.T.H.A.", this one has a retractable foot on the car, so that the whole unit is raised when shooting the scraper beam forward. Then raised when the car moves. This results in a form of "walking" action and is illustrated in Fig. 2.                                                

Photo of the basic model.

Movement and operation of the basic model.

The steering motions on the upgraded radio-control model.

Pdf giving complete published instructions 

Thanks to David Buckley in providing the material and idea for this post.

For other Walking models by W. Peter Holland, see my other posts here.

For a similar concept, see Prof. Katsyu's Walking-beam model and Peter Holland's CABER.


1980-1 – Unicorn-1 – James A. Gupton, Jr. (American)

Unicorn-One ( Universal Controllable Robot ) is truly universal and a robot that you can build for between two- and-four hundred dollars, depending on your ingenuity and scrounging abilities. It is fully mobile and has the ability to use its arms and hands. It can be controlled by a cable link to a console, by radio control from a console, or in conjunction with a computer.

(Original image in magazine articles, but cleaned up by TheOldRobots)
This was published in an 11-part series. The first 7 parts can be found here (uploaded by Karl Williams). I've added part 9 (remote control part 2) from my own collection, but I'm missing part 8 (remote control part 1). Part 10 (computer interface and part 11 (Adding Sensors) has been provided by Tonino Giagnacovo (Apr 2012) and is uploaded here. If anyone has Part 8, please send me a scan and I'll publish on my website giving due acknowledgement. (send to cyberne1 at cyberneticzoo dot com).

Update: On 7 April 2013, Palmer Johnson, from Missouri, USA sent me a pdf of the missing Part 8 now found here. Thanks Palmer.

The top half looking like the prototype R2-D2 from the original Star Wars movie.

Robot builders Eddie Cook (left) and Scott Carter are putting the final touches on Unicorn 1, the robot they and their classmates built as part of their robotics course at the Union County Career Center. (Photo by James A. Gupton, Jr.)

(Poor quality image)

About the Author of the series of articles: Mr James Gupton Jr has a most unusual background including photography, electro-optics research and development (which resulted in five patents on computer display tubes and phosphor screens), along with teaching electronics. The Union County Career Center is the only high school in North Carolina to provide an electronics program which covers subjects from direct current to microprocessors.

1979-80 HEBOT I, II & III – John FitzGerald (British)

Hobby Electronics magazine (November 1979-January 1980) describes an autonomous robot.

HEBOT is a free roaming robot which can negotiate obstacles, steer towards a light (infra red) and follow a wire (A.C. current) around your home.

HEBOT emits a squeak when it detects light or following a collision. Control is transferred to the wire following circuitry unless HEBOT encounters an abstacle.

HEBOT also has a microphone, and can be wired to go into reverse, spin, or just stop.

HEBOT's 'random walking' is a bit of a misnomer, as it actually executes a series of spirals.

There is room for development. Board one will support a further four levels of control. It also has a simple constant-current nicad charger for its recharging 'nest'.

Click image for pdf.

Click image for pdf.

Click image for pdf.

1980-82 – ROBART-I Sentry Robot – H. R. Everett (American)

Text and some images sourced from here –

This link also contains other links to ROBART information, not covered here.

ROBART-I was Bart Everett‘s thesis project at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.  and one of the very first behavior-based autonomous robots ever built. The navigation scheme provided a layered hierarchy of behaviors (see Table below) that looked ahead for a clear path (high-level), reactively avoided nearby obstacles (intermediate-level), and responded to actual impacts (low-level). A basic tenet of this strategy was the ability of certain high-level deliberative behaviors to influence or even disable the intermediate and low-level reactive behaviors, such as when docking with the recharging station, for example.







Look ahead for encroaching obstacles

Look for opening in forward hemisphere

Home in on recharging station


Wall Hugging

Seek clear path along new heading
Follow adjacent wall in close proximity


Proximity Reaction

Impact Reaction

Veer away from close proximity

Veer away from physical contact

ROBART I’s assigned function was to patrol a home environment, following either a random or set pattern from room to room, checking for unwanted conditions such as fire, smoke, intrusion, etc. The security application was chosen because it demonstrated performance of a useful function and did not require an end-effector or vision system, significantly reducing the required system complexity. Provision was made for locating and connecting with a free-standing recharging station when battery voltage began running low. Patrols were made at random intervals, with the majority of time spent immobile in a passive intrusion-detection mode to conserve power.

Being a prototype, the images below will show variances as it evolved.

ROBART-I with re-charging station (and Lisa!)

ROBART-I ended up being the start of a family…

See other early Humanoid Robots here.

1980 – CRAB (Creeping Robot Activated Balloon) Model – Peter Holland (British)

Creeping Robot Activated Balloon (CRAB) – A clever Walking Beam model devised by Peter Holland.

See pdf below for full instructions on how to build this novel walking model.