Posts Tagged ‘1991’

1991/2002 – Floorbotics Robotic Vacuum Cleaners – G. T. Duncan Ashworth (Australian)

The FloorBot is a robotic floor cleaner for the home. It's designed to automatically clean the floor while you relax, get a little exercise, or just head off for work. Press the start button and the FloorBot cleans in logical laps while sensing and navigating any obstacles in the area. When the FloorBot has finished cleaning it simply turns off. The development is the culmination of years of work in software development and real world simulation, advanced electronic engineering and mechanical design, 3D CAD design, and patented sensor systems. This was aided by comprehensive market research.

The core technology of the FloorBot is a highly flexible, platform independent navigation system, designed to suit many application requirements.
Intelligent mobile robotic appliances based on the FloorBot system could be further extended to provide a telepresence in the work area via integration with a vision system, and could be remotely controlled via Internet or BlueTooth technologies.

For full article see here.

Early brochure on the Floorbot V4.

A later model intelligent vacuum cleaner, the VR-8.

The Monash Museum of Computing History, Monash University have a Floorbotic Robotic Vacuum Cleaner on display at its Caulfield campus in Melbourne, Australia.

Patent Info – Navigational control apparatus and method for autonomus vehicles . See full patent details here.

Publication number US5321614 A
Publication date Jun 14, 1994
Filing date Jun 6, 1991
Inventors Guy T. D. Ashworth

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


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1991 – “Televac” Automatic Vacuum Cleaner – Andre and Bernard Jonas (French)

Robo-Vac: Televac, a robot vacuum cleaner that runs on a timer, rotates in six-degree increments as its flat-lying hose extends 18 feet under furniture. Obstacles are detected by a sensor on the nozzle. Televac is shown below with and without its cover.

US Patent information: Automatic vacuum cleaner

Publication number US5095577 A 
Publication date Mar 17, 1992
Filing date Feb 27, 1991
Inventors Bernard Jonas, Andre Jonas
Original Assignee Azurtec

Abstract: A mobile cleaning apparatus device automatically follows guides such as walls or other obstacles, by engaging the guides with element and controlling the steering of the apparatus in response to the level of forces sensed by the detector.

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

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1991 – TOPS TeleOperator/telePresence System – Smith and Shimamoto (American)

TeleOperator/telePresence System / Concept Verification Model (CVM)

The TeleOperator/telePresence System/Concept Verification Model (TOPS/CVM)[34], was developed as the successor to the 'Greenman'. The TOPS/CVM consisted of a 3-DOF (degrees-of-freedom) head, a 3-DOF torso and a dexterous, force-reflective 9- DOF hand coupled to a force-reflective 7-DOF arm.

Fig. 1 TOPS from Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, San Diego
The operation of TOPS was described as follows:
"… The operator controls the hand/arm combination through an exoskeletal controller, while the torso and head motions are controlled by the operator's torso and head motions. …. … The viewing system provides 1023-line monochrome video to the TOPS/CVM operator and has a 70-degree field of view with full stereo overlap. … … The operator interface allows the TOPS/CVM operator to easily control all major TOPS/CVM functions and modes. This is done through the use of voice control and graphic overlay feedback. The second major interface, the supervisor interface, allows technical test personnel intimate access to all TOPS/CVM sensing and actuation systems."

For pdf see here.

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1991 – Pitman – Jeff Moore (American)


Designed as an "enhanced special forces capability for low intensity conflicts and counterterrorists". It was conceived at Los Alamos National Laboratory by Jeff Moore of Advanced Weapons Technology Group.
The operator is housed in a 500 Lbs fiberglass, polymer/ceramic composite armor called Body Armor, Powered (BAP). Pitman is capable of carrying 300 Lbs of equipment. BAP consists of six layers: (1) Impregnated antibacterial polypropylene; (2) Closed-cell foam laced with heating/cooling tubing; (3) Sealed, impermeable "condom" layer; (4) nitrogen- filled polyurethane bubble sensors; (5) energy absorbing closed-cell foam(6) laminated, composite armor. The exoskeleton frame and joints are lightweight graphite epoxy or Kevlar. Joint structure and kinematics are still unconceptualized at this time[1994]. Photoreactive polymer-gel muscles drive the joints. Protected from 0.50 caliber armor piercing rounds, laser, thermal, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, this 500 Lbs suit appears weightless because the polymer-gel actuators counterbalance the weight. The operator views the environment through vibrating mirror virtual displays. Mounted over his head are C3i Antennae and sensor arrays. An Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)/battery/environmental control pack provides power and cooling/heating for operator comfort.
This design marks a departure from the use of traditional actuation and joint technology. More organic in nature, this monster blends with its operator in as seamless a mechanical interface as possible. Traditional joint technology used in Hardiman and even in the Man-Amplifier may be unsuitable. Actuator control is provided by the soldier's own brain and central nervous system augmented by computers. Lining each segment a sheet of nitrogen filled polyurethane sacs (similar to bubble wrap). In addition to providing cushioning, this material senses the operator's movements and generates signals that are processed for actuation. In the ultimate system magnetoencephalographic (MEG) sensors would monitor brain activity creating a phantom central nervous system to control the polymer muscles. Hydrogen/oxygen conducting polymer fuel cells supply the power.
Although still years into the future, the Army's interest has been piqued. No doubt in time this technology will become a reality as pursues bigger and better killing machines.

(Text borrowed from Mark Rosheim's book "Robot Evolution". 1994)

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