Posts Tagged ‘1997’

1997 – “DeepWorker 2000” Submersible – Phil Nuytten (Canadian)


The one-atmosphere DeepWorker 2000 submersible allows a pilot to go deeper and spend more time below the surface than traditional diving methods. The sub comes with external manipulators to tackle serious underwater jobs.


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HydroNewt Manipulators having a standard reach of 5 feet.

Publication number    USD461445 S1
Publication type    Grant
Application number    US 29/152,829
Publication date    13 Aug 2002
Filing date    3 Jan 2002
Priority date    4 Jul 2001
Inventors    Phil Nuytten, Mike Humphrey
Original Assignee    Nuytco Research Ltd.


See other early Underwater Robots here.

1997/2002 – Electrolux Trilobite Robotic Vacuum Cleaner – Anders Haegermarck, Lars Kilstrom, Bjorn Riise (Swedish)

Product Description (of Version 2.0)

Imagine pushing a button, walking away, and having clean floors an hour later. That futuristic scenario is now here with the Trilobite, the hands-free, "intelligent" robotic vacuum first introduced in Europe by Electrolux. While it isn't the first robotic home vacuum, the Trilobite is a major leap in home robotic technology–one that is reflected in its price. Where other small, round semi-autonomous vacuums are essentially "dumb" robots that randomly move about a room, the Trilobite uses a type of radar that maps a room and then plots a course based on previous cleaning travels.

Evolution in Revolution

The name comes from the hard-shelled sea creature from the Paleozoic era (betwen 250 to 560 million years ago) that roamed the ocean floor during, feeding on particles and small animals. Sound familiar? Today's Trilobite has been in the works since 1997, when its prototype was introduced on the BBC technology program, Tomorrow's World, and it has been perfected at Electrolux's development facilities in Sweden.

The round, red Trilobite uses ultrasound technology to see obstacles and avoid them. Much like a bat, which emits a high-pitched sound to create a personal sonar reading of its landscape, the Trilobite pings 60,000 Hz ultrasound vibrations at surfaces to create a map of the room and remember it for future assignments. This computer processing power is what raises the Trilobite's profile over the competition, whose vacuuming robots can only react to a situation (such as bumping into something) and cannot store data into memory.

The Trilobite in Action

Start the Trilobite by pressing the power button and answering yes to the question, "Start cleaning?" that appears on its LCD screen. The Trilobite then moves to the nearest wall, following along the edges of the room to create an inner picture of the room. This wall phase (the Normal mode of operation) forms the basis for calculation of the time required for cleaning of the open spaces that follows. The sonar detects any obstacles–blocks left on the floor, chair legs, a dog's water bowl–and a new path is quickly calculated. Transition between hard floors and carpet takes place effortlessly.

The Trilobite also offers two other operation modes. The Quick mode, which is good for a small room or last-minute tidying before the in-laws arrive, skips the wall measurement and moves about the room randomly for around 20 minutes. If you've just dumped a bag of flour on the floor or the kids have tracked an inordinate amount of dirt in from the backyard, the Spot mode can concentrate on an area about 3 feet (1 meter) square, covering every part in a maze-like pattern. You can also choose to clean via a timer for up to 60 minutes.

An infrared sensor detects changes in elevation of four inches and greater to help it avoid falling down stairs. It also comes with special magnetic strips that can be placed in doorways, other openings, or elevation changes less than 4 inches to provide boundaries. The Trilobite can analyze and solve problems it encounters. For instance, if the unit vacuums up a sock left on the floor which stalls the brushroll, the unit will stop, reverse its brushroll to expel the obstruction and then continue with its task once the brusroll is once again operating freely.

It carries two nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH) batteries on board, switching to the second as the first runs low on energy. As the second battery's power dips below the 50% point, the unit will cease vacuuming, return to its docking station, charge for about two hours, and return to the point where it ceased vacuuming to complete the task. The recharging dock fits along the base of any wall within 6 feet of a power outlet.

The Limits of Technology
While it is designed to access some tight spots in your home–especially areas that are hard to reach, like under the bed–the Trilobite obviously will not fit into spaces smaller than its diameter. You'll need a DustBuster or the shockingly analog-style broom to clean these spaces as well as corners. Occasionally, the Trilobite will miss a calculation and bump into furniture or an object left in the middle of the floor. But it has a suspension bumper that cushions the impact, and at a maximum speed of 1.3 feet (0.4 meters) per second, any unexpected collision will be light. It's about as loud as a normal vacuum, so it's best used when you're out of the house–just as it's designed to be used. Also note that the Trilobite works with only dry detritus–it's not a wet vac.

 –Agen G.N. Schmitz

[Source: Amazon]

Patent info:

Publication number US5781960 A
Publication date Jul 21, 1998
Filing date Apr 9, 1997

Inventors: Anders Haegermarck, Lars Kilstrom, Bjorn Riise


US5940927 and US5023444

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


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1997 – Noo-Noo Robotic Vacuum Cleaner (Prop) – Mark Dean (British)

Noo-Noo (operated by Mark Dean) is the Teletubbies' sky blue pet. He is in Teletubbyland as a type of vacuum cleaner. He rarely leaves the House. He doesn't speak like Teletubbies can; he makes sucking and slurping noises. At times, Noo-Noo gets annoyed with the Teletubbies' antics or get too excited and therefore can vacuum their food or favourite things. the Teletubbies shout 'Naughty Noo Noo' and chase him around the House. The Chase always ends with a Big Hug. Noo Noo has a removable brush on top of him, it's very rare that his brush is removed, it can be seen removed in the episode Swans and the video Big Hug.

Mark Dean from Wolverhampton played Noo Noo throughout the Teletubbies recordings. He also built props and carried out special effects.

Toy version.

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


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1997 – Robotic Vacuum Cleaners from “The Fifth Element” – (American)

Christopher Noessel from has already done such a great job in describing the robot vacuum cleaner from the 1997 movie "The Fifth Element" that I have re-blogged his post here:

Floor sweeping robots –  22 Apr 2013 by Christopher Noessel    

To illustrate his capitalist ideology, (a high-tech version of the parable of the broken window) Zorg activates his automatic cleaning robots. To do this, he deliberately crashes a glass to the floor, where a set of robots come scuttling out from beneath his desk and begin cleaning up.

Three of them serve to demarcate the space as a “”robots working”” zone, with tall masts from which red beacon lights warn anyone nearby. In the middle of these three, a sweeper robot gathers the large pieces of glass with broom and dustbin actuators.

Then, a vacuum robot spins above the location to remove the fine pieces of glass.

Finally, a hemispheric robot also comes to sterilize the area, or possibly to just spray a pleasing scent in the air. After they are done, they retreat automatically to the desk, and a new drinking glass rises from a hidden compartment to Zorg’s desktop, filling with water to the accompaniment of a small voice that announces ““water”” and, as a bowl of the stuff also raises, ““fruit.””

As Zorg pulls a cherry from the bowl, the same voice announces somewhat pointlessly, ““a cherry.”” (Perhaps useful if the eater is unfamiliar with basic types of fruit.)


The robots are meant to do their job safely and efficiently, and then put themselves away as quickly as possible. The main “interface” task they have is to keep nearby humans informed and safe. (Did Asimov write a law for vacuum cleaners?) A minor secondary goal might be to distinguish the function of each by their shape. The robots inform observers explicitly with the stanchion robots’ beacon lights and bright red patterns. In addition, the whirring sounds of each robot’s motors and actuators help to reinforce the fact that they are working. If they were completely silent they would be more problematic for people not looking or unable to see. The beacon might be a bit of overkill and distracting to someone at a distance, but since the robots are small enough to be a trip hazard, and Cornelius is in fact less than a meter away at the time of sweeping, I can see why it might be needed in this particular case. That they are each readily distinguishable means it might be easier to intervene or select a particular one for maintenance. So, aside from the faulty logic they’re meant to embody, mostly really well designed.

The main improvement I can imagine is that the system might reduce the trip hazard by unifying these disparate functions in a single device, and then either keeping them stanchion-high or flattening its top out like a step. But then we’d just have invented Roomba five years early.

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

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1995 – Swamp Walking Machines – Dept. of Theoretical Mechanics (Russian)

Russian Walking Machines from Dept. of Theoretical Mechanics.

All source material from here.

Now tens of scientific groups in the world are developing this problem. Walking machines can be divided into two parts: dynamical stability (with a few legs) and statical stability (multilegged) machines. The letter can be divided into vehicles of profile practicability and vehicles of ground practicability. The vehicles of ground practicability can be used for moving on relatively flat terrain and on the soils with poor carrying layer (sand, marshland, poor earth road), also on the soils with ecologically injured layer (tillage, tundra, permafrost).

One of perspective directions of research work in this field is developing of the simplest plantigrade vehicles. The walking machines designed in the department of theoretical mechanics of VSTU are of this type.

Now we developed several pre-production models of walking machines:

Walking Support for Sprinkling Machine "Kuban"
Transport Walking Machine.
Walking Transport-Technological Mobile System.

This work is executed at financial support of the Russian Fund of Basic Researches (grant 99-01-01242, 02-01-06447, 02-01-15000к) and grants of Ministry of education of the Russian Federation: "Research activities of the higher institutes in the field of the transport", "Research activities of the higher institutes in the field of the industrial technologies".

Some of results of this work described in the following papers:

Брискин Е.С., Соболев В.М. Тяговая динамика шагающих машин с ортогональными движителями// Проблемы машиностроения и надёжности машин, 1990. — N 3.— С. 28–34.
Проблемы расчёта и проектирования шагающих машин грунтовой проходимости. Брискин Е.С., Вавилин Г.Д., Голицин И.В. и др. Доклады научной школы — конференции "Мобильные роботы и мехатронные системы". — М.: Институт механики МГУ, 1999. С. 124–153.
Брискин Е.С., Чернышев В.В., Шерстобитов С.В., Малолетов А.В. и др. Об энергетической эффективности, маневренности, вибронагруженности и управлении шагающими машинами грунтовой проходимости // Доклады научной школы — конференции "Мобильные роботы и мехатронные системы" (с международным участием) Москва, Институт механики МГУ, 1999.— С. 89-108.
Брискин Е.С., Чернышев В.В. Экспериментальные исследования динамики многоопорной шагающей машины с движителем лямбдаобразного типа // Известия вузов. Машиностроение. 1999, №4. С. 32-37
Особенности управления и стабилизации положения корпуса многоногих статически устойчивых шагающих машин /Чернышев В.В., Брискин Е.С., Буданов В.М., Девянин Е.А., Жога В.В., Малолетов А.В., Тельдеков А.В., Шерстобитов С.В., Дудкин А.Г. //Мобильные роботы и мехатронные системы: Мат. науч. шк.–конф., Москва, 5–6 дек. 2000 г. /Под. ред. Формальского А.М., Буданова В.М.; МГУ.—М., 2000.—С.256–273.
Briskin E.S., Chernyshev V.V., Maloletov A.V., Sherstobitov S.V. On Dynamics of Movement of Walking Machines with Gears on the Basis of Cycle Mechanisms//Theory and Practice of Robots and Manipulators — ROMANSY 13 : Proc. of the 13-th CISM-IFToMM Symposium /International Centre for Mechanical Sciences. Wien; New York, 2000.—P.44–48.

Walking Support for Sprinkling Machine "Kuban"

Walking Support for Sprinkling Machine "Kuban" designed in 1995 year.

Research team:

Scientific supervisor: Briskin E.S.
Main designer: Cherkasov V.V.
research assistants: Zhoga V.V., Rusakovsky A.E., Sherstobitov S.V.


Weight  495 kg
Length of the machine 4,6 m
Potency of a drive 1 kW
Peak load 2,5 t
Ground pressure 0,32 kg/cm2

Walking Transport-Technological Mobile System

Walking transport-technological mobile system designed in the autumn of 1998 year. We tested the machine in 1999-2000 years.

Still from video here.

Surface of swamp cleaning with use a sorbent that is created in institute of industrial ecology of VSTU (1999 year).

Sewage disposal plant of nitric-oxygen factory (2000 year).

Research Team:

Scientific supervisor: Briskin E.S.
Main designer: Sherstobitov S.V.
Main designer of the manipulator: Gerasun V.M.
Designer of the manipulator: Rogachev A.F.
Engineer of control system: Golytsyn I.V.
Research assistants: Chernyshev V.V., Zhoga V.V., Maloletov A.V., Teldekov A.V.

Weight 1620 kg
Length of the machine 4,6 m
Breadth 2,8 m
Weight of the moved consignment 3500 kg
Potency of a drive 12 kW
Maximum velocity 0,267 m/s
Ground pressure under full loading of machine 0,32 kg/cm2
Height of overcome obstacles 0,18 m
Breadth overcome of the ditches 0,7 m
Practicability swamp, sand ets.
Lifting capacity of the manipulator 1,5 t

Transport Walking Machine

Transport walking machine designed in 1997 year. The machine consists of two walking supports like as walking support for sprinkling machine "Kuban" and central frame. Also the machine have isolated micro generating plant.
We tested the machine on a difficult region near town Dubovka of the Volgograd's province. The machine can overcome a swamp (0.6 metres deep) and a rise (30 degrees).

Research team:
Scientific supervisor: Briskin E.S.
Main designer: Sherstobitov S.V.
Engineer of control system: Golytsyn I.V.
Preparation of the test procedure, realization of tests, processing of results: Chernyshev V.V.
Research assistants: Zhoga V.V., Rusakovsky A.E., Cherkasov V.V., Kuznetsov S.A., Maloletov A.V.


Weight 1620 kg
Length of the machine 4,6 m
Breadth 2,8 m
Weight of the moved consignment 3500 kg
Potency of a drive 4 kW
Maximum valocity 0,267 m/s (0,97 km/h)
Ground pressure under full loading of machine 0,32 kg/cm2
Height of overcome obstacles 0,18 m
Breadth overcome of the ditches 0,7 m
Practicability swamp, sand ets.

Another similar Russian or Soviet walking machine.

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