Posts Tagged ‘Austrian’

1960 – Cyborg – Kline and Clynes (American and Austrian)

Painting by FRED FREEMAN, originally appearing in the July 11, 1960 issue of LIFE Magazine.

The creature unreeling an electric cable as he explores a distant planet is a man prepared for  space as some scientists propose. Electrodes and other attachments would control many of the physical functions normally initiated by the brain, such as heart-beat, regulation of body temperature, and breathing. Electrodes planted in the pleasure centers of the brain would help him to pass the tedium of space travel. Dubbed a "Cyborg" (cybernetic organism), he may well exist in the near future for U.S. space agencies have authorised serious research towards his creation. (Time-Mind book)

Extract of interview between Chris Hables Gray and Manfred Clynes
The Cyborg Handbook 1995 – p47

MC: …. Life magazine wrote it up a little later. They had a big article with a picture of the cyborg. Did you know that?

CHG: No. I'll have to find that.
MC: I had a big photograph of that thing hanging on my wall for years.
CHG: Was that 1960?
MC: It must have been very near there.

[Source: Ames Daily Tribune 16 Jul 1963.]

Another Artist's impression of a CYBORG related to Toby Freedman's articles c1960's. [Source: Popular Science Oct 1963 see below for pdf.]

Cover of The Cyborg Handbook. The must-have book for anyone interested in the history of Cyborgs. 

Martin Caidin's book Cyborg. The TV series "The Six-Million Dollar Man" was based on this book.

Click on images to see pdf's about Cyborgs.

Life Magazine 2nd Oct 1964

See pdf here 

Where are the Cyborgs in Cybernetics – Kline

See pdf here 

Cyborgs and Space – Astronautics Sept 1960

See pdf here 

The Cyborg Study – Driscoll – NASA

See pdf here 

The Coming of the Mundane Cyborg – Steven Mentor 

See pdf here 

Must Tomorrow's Man Look Like This? – Toby Freedman,  Popular Science Oct 1963

See pdf here 

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1957-73 – “MM6″,”MM7 Selektor” & “MM8 Contina” Selektor – Claus Scholz (Austrian)

"MM7" on the left, Claus Scholz in the middle and "MM8" on the right. 

Scholz made MM7 between 1957-8 and finished with MM9 in 1973, so I believe. 

The MM7 Selektor human machine is the development for which the international scientist Scholz-Nauendorff, nicknamed the "Viennese father of robots", is best known. Designed as a means of studying cybernetic movement the MM7, with its feedback stepping switches and visual receptors, is widely regarded as the predecessor of today's industrial robots. Its inventor later concentrated on artificial thought processes in an attempt to motivate follow-up models to act autonomously.

Cybernetic Machine MM7 Selektor, 1961

Claus Christian Scholz-Nauendorff [1915-1992]

Inv # 21918

MM stands for MaschinenMensch i.e. MachineMan.

Popular Mechanics 1964 incorrectly calls this robot MM47, it is MM7. 

Younger lady is Scholz daughter, I believe.

Note: MM47 is a typo, should be MM7.

 MM7's younger brother MM8 (Contina).

Notice the later modified head on MM8 between the images above and below. The rear head mount and grill-mouth are changed. This is an upgrade of MM8 .

Upgraded MM8.

MM8 is controlled by another 'phantom' or remote control, looking simpler than MM7's phantom.

The combination of 'phantom' and controls and motors makes MM8 much more responsive than MM7. The video clip shows MM8 brushing Mrs. Scholz' hair, near impossible for MM7.

See video clip below:

Clip Description:




Reference 2661/64
Can 3734
Date original 16 MARCH 1964
Duration 1.49
Technical 16MM/NEG.
Subset Reuters TV – RTV Post 1957
Colourbw B/W
7. MV DITTO 0.36

Another video clip here, thanks to the author of a comment below in locating it.

Stills  from clip.

MM7 (and MM8) remotely controlled by a 'phantom'.

Scholz was also experimenting in voice recognition and ….

…pattern recognition.

Claus Scholz.

Translated from Spanish by Google
A creature that is not gossip
Last "robot" built by the Viennese engineer Claus Scholz, who has been engaged for years in this kind of gadgets. Went do remote electronic control, open the door when the doorbell rings, the phone serves, if Mr. or Mrs. are not home, takes message on tape and plays it when convenient. It also handles the vacuum or serving a drink if asked. In short, perfect maid or butler, the days off without pay.

Caption: Taking a wrong message by telephone without names is something that "MM-7" made without difficulty. (Improved image from another magazine)

Caption: The lady who goes to visit her friend is frightened by the disquieting aspect of the "maid". But you will get used to her. (Improved image from another magazine)

(Improved image from another magazine)

Caption: [Below image] Will need to understand that children of the house, if any, are gradually accustomed to a different home as physical as the one they know. To the left [above], 'MM-7' helps to shed the coat sir.

Google translation from Spanish


It's ugly, but does not answer to bad manners

THE Vienese Engineer Claus Scholz is about to solve the problem of domestic service, as alive as living standards improve. He has built and what will be the perfect servant and that currently called "Selector MM-7 '. This is a "robot" able to perform simple tasks, such as dusting, open the door, sweep, serving snacks and dry dishes. The mechanical maid is high. It measures 1.82 meters, but weighs little: is less than 50 kilos. Her skin is not pleasant, it is made of synthetic resin, and has feet too big, first to fit the number 49. Nor can it be said to offer a pleasant face. But evil does not answer, no armhole and, above all, does not require frequent wage increases or claims free time to go with her boyfriend to "cinema". For now, the new home is in the period that the housewives have devoted to updating the servants from the village. The engineer Scholz says his "chacha" soon be perfected and that before long enough that the lady says, "Prepare a meal for six people" so that the "robot" fulfill the order. For now, the acquisition of a maid is expensive electronics. If forecasts are met rows mass production and further desired, housewives can calm breathing, and tightness of the traditional "girls serve" will be corrected with the entry into the homes of these dolls, which provided "mnemonics files" receive instructions and develop relevant work .., without question. So be it.

Source: Blanco y Nero, Dec 1963

MM7 as he was in 2009.

In May of 2009 I travelled from Australia to Europe on a pilgrimage to see the old robots the had infuenced and aroused me in my youth. I went to Vienna to see Heinz Zemanek and his many Cybernetic tortoises and Maze solvers. These items are now housed in the Technical Museum of Vienna. Whilst there, I also saw Scholz's MM7, which was unexpected. DI Dr. Otmar Moritsch arranged for my behind the scenes visit. Here is the address of the Museum:

Technisches Museum Wien
Mariahilfer Str. 212
A-1140 Wien

Head and upper body detail.

It looks as if Scholz had walking and stability problems early on with MM7.  The knees were then "frozen" to prevent a bending action, and a metal frame added that also extended the length of the feet and added a steering castor at the rear.

David Buckley (on the right) joined me on my pilgrimage. Peter Schoen, Dr Otmar Moritsch's colleague who went out of his way to ensure our visit was a success, is on the left.

Close-up of the hands.

Detail of the head.

MM7 has no back as such.  His exoskeleton body is made of reinforced fibreglass.  MM7 was mains, not battery powered.   

MM9 was built around 1973, so i'm lead to believe, but currently I have no image of it.  MM6 was built in 1957-8.

MM6 found!

Here's the amazing story of how MM6 was found:

ANSICHTSSACHE NR. 14: "Einer von denen" – Christian Stadelmann über eines seiner Lieblingsexponate in der Ausstellung "Roboter. Maschine und Mensch?"

Im Technischen Museum Wien ist noch bis 14. Juli 2013 die Ausstellung "Roboter. Maschine und Mensch?" zu sehen.

Christian Stadelmann, gemeinsam mit Bodo-Michael Baumunk Kurator der Ausstellung, stellt hier eines seiner Lieblingsexponate vor. Es handelt sich um den „Maschinenmenschen“ Numero 6 aus dem Jahr 1958. Erbaut wurde er von dem Wiener Kybernetiker Claus Scholz-Nauendorff in dessen Privatwohnung. Christian Stadelmann umreißt die Bedeutung dieses Roboters folgendermaßen:
„Das ehrgeizige Ziel, das Scholz-Nauendorff verfolgte, war es, sogenannte künstliche Intelligenz in Gestalt humanoider Roboter zu schaffen. Die Ergebnisse dieser Arbeit muten aus heutiger Sicht bizarr an, allzu simpel erscheinen die technischen Lösungen angesichts des Anspruchs, ein dienstbares Wesen zu schaffen. Aber die Öffentlichkeit zeigte vor allem an den Nachfolgemodellen MM7 und MM8 großes Interesse. Scholz Nauendorff präsentierte seine ‚Geschöpfe’ mit ernstem Stolz im Fernsehen und in Zeitungs- und Zeitschriftenartikeln. Dauerhafter Erfolg war diesen Forschungsaktivitäten nicht beschieden. MM7 kam ins Technische Museum Wien, MM8 ins Wiener Bezirksmuseum Landstraße. Sie haben dort einen eher skurrilen Status erlangt. MM6 ist überhaupt in Vergessenheit geraten.“
Und wie kam nun dieser MM6 in die Ausstellung des Technischen Museums? Das ist eine jener spannenden Geschichten, wie sie Ausstellungsmacher/innen auf der Suche nach interessanten Exponaten gerne erleben. Im Zuge der Recherchen zum Begleitmaterial zu den „Maschinenmenschen“ konnte Christian Stadelmann die Witwe des 1992 verstorbenen Kybernetikers, Friedericke Scholz-Nauendorff, ausfindig machen. Während eines Gesprächs über die „Maschinenmenschen“ ihres Mannes erwähnte sie dem Kurator gegenüber en passant, dass „einer von denen“ ja noch „hier herumsteht“. Für Christian Stadelmann war das ein ebenso aufregender wie berührender Augenblick:
„Auf meine unsichere Frage hin, was sie denn meine, führte mich die beim Gespräch anwesende Pflegerin von Frau Scholz-Nauendorff in einen Vorraum zur Küche, wo tatsächlich in einem Erker der mannshohe, über 50 Jahre alte Roboter stand. Wegen mechanischen Problemen hatte Scholz-Nauendorff seinerzeit die Entwicklung daran eingestellt und mit der Herstellung des Nachfolgemodells begonnen. Über meinen Wunsch, den MM6 ins Museum zu holen, zeigte sich die Betreuerin sehr erfreut, denn sie fürchtete sich jedes mal, wenn sie an ihm vorbeigehen musste, wie sie gestand.“
Für Christian Stadelmann ergab sich bei dieser Gelegenheit nicht nur ganz unerwartet ein tolles Ausstellungsobjekt, sondern auch eine direkte Verknüpfung zu den vielen Hoffnungen, die in Roboter gesteckt wurden und werden – wozu auch die Vorstellung zählt, dass Roboter dereinst in der Pflege von kranken Menschen eingesetzt werden könnten. Ein Gedanke, der in diesem Moment und in Gegenwart einer Pflegerin aus Fleisch und Blut einen ähnlich unheimlichen Beigeschmack besaß wie die äußere Gestalt des MM6.

English translation

ANSICHTSSACHE NO. 14: – ". Robot machine and man" "One of those" Christian Stadelmann about one of his favorite exhibits in the exhibition.

The Technical Museum in Vienna until 14 July 2013, the exhibition "Robots. Machine and man?" to see.

Christian Stadelmann, together with Bodo-Michael Baumunk curator of the exhibition, shares with us one of his favorite exhibits. These are the "human machine" Numero 6 from the year 1958. It was built by the Viennese cyberneticist Claus Scholz Nauendorff in his private apartment. Christian Stadelmann outlines the importance of this robot as follows:
"The ambitious goal of the Scholz-Nauendorff pursued, was to create so-called artificial intelligence in the form of humanoid robots. The results of this work seem bizarre at from today's perspective, the technical solutions seem overly simplistic, given the claim of creating a serviceable creature. But the public was mainly due to the subsequent models MM7 and MM8 interest. Scholz Nauendorff presented his 'creatures' with earnest pride on television and in newspaper and magazine articles. Long-term success was not granted these research activities. MM7 came to Vienna Technical Museum, MM8 into Vienna's Museum highway. They have acquired a rather bizarre state. MM6 is ever forgotten. "
And how does this MM6 came into the exhibition the Museum of Technology? This is one of those fascinating stories, as curator / inside in search of interesting exhibits like to experience. In the course of research on the supporting materials for the "machine-man" could make Christian Stadelmann's widow died in 1992 cyberneticist, Friedericke Scholz Nauendorff, locate. During a conversation using the "machine-man" of her husband, she mentioned the curator over en passant that "one of those" still "around here is." For the Christian Stadelmann was as exciting as touching moment:
"In my uncertain question what they mean for me the nurse present during the conversation of Mrs. Scholz Nauendorff led into an anteroom to the kitchen where actually stood in an alcove of the head-high, over 50 years old robot. Due to mechanical problems Scholz Nauendorff had once stopped developing it and started the production of a new model. About my wish to bring the MM6 to the museum, the supervisor was very pleased, because she was afraid every time she had to walk past him, as she confessed. "
For Christian Stadelmann was found on this occasion not only quite unexpectedly a great exhibit, but also a direct link to the many hopes that have been placed in robot and be – including the idea is one that robot one day used in the care of sick people could be. A thought that at this moment and in the presence of a nurse in the flesh had a similar sinister connotation as the exterior of the MM6.

As a result of the 2012-13 Robot exhibition held at Vienna Technical Museum, I now have images of MM6.

Scholz was exploring electro-hydraulic limbs in MM6, dating from 1957-58.

Above photo by Thomas Preiss.

Images by David Kotrbar.

MM8 normally resides at Wiener Bezirksmuseum Landstraße (Vienna's District Roads Museum).

MM8 doesn't walk (slide) as per MM7, but rolls around with rigid legs.


Picture rights: Wessely

Claus Scholz with MM8 in 1990.

Picture is from praktiker magazine 6/1990 which carries an excellent article on the story of Claus Scholz and has diagrams of MM6 to MM9.

Claus was a Professor. The only paper I could find is "System with automated exploring of problems for intelligent data processes by ergonomic dialog" published in 1982 under his fulll name of Claus Christian Scholz-Nauendorff.

Audio files by Scholz are located here and here. An English translation by a reader would be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.

Missing Articles: Mentioned here are 2 articles on Scholz that I'm having difficulty in locating.

One is supposedly in an 1964 edition of LIFE magazine. I've searched all of 1964 issues online and not found this article. It may be in an International edition of Life Magazine.

The other is in a 1970 German edition of Mickey Mouse (Micky Maus).

Any assistance in locating these articles would be much appreciated.

1964 – “ROBUG” – Hans Moravec (Austrian / Canadian)

ROBUG: switch-programmable to wake/seek/avoid on light/touch/wind; feelers charged to 90 volts!

"In high school [Montreal,1964] he [Hans Moravec] won two science fair prizes for a light-following electronic turtle and a tape-controlled robot hand. As an undergraduate he designed a computer to control fancier robots, and experimented with learning and automatic programming on commercial machines. During his master's work he built a small robot with whiskers and photoelectric eyes controlled by a minicomputer, and wrote a thesis on a computer language for artificial intelligence. "

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1959 – Machina Combinatrix – Kretz / Angyan / Zemanek (Austrian)

The above three images suggest there is a film clip out there somewhere.

The Vienna Tortoises: Left: 1954 Eichler's Schildkröte; Centre: 1959 Kretz/Angyan/Zemanek Machina Combinatrix; Right: 1965 Bielowski Schildkröte

HANS KRETZ: An Interview Conducted by David Morton, IEEE History Center, 25 July 1996

Interview #283 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement
This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Hans Kretz, an oral history conducted in 1996 by David Morton, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

PLACE: Vienna, Austria
DATE: July 25, 1996

Education and Cybernetics

I was born 1930, in Linz, in Upper Austria. After primary school and high school in Vienna I went to study telecommunication and electronics. In German we said "technique of low currents," a rather old-fashioned expression. I studied at the Technical University in Vienna, and graduated in 1960 as Diploma Engineer. My thesis was on a Cybernetic subject called the "artificial turtle." It was a model of neuropsychological functions. This is the more scientific description. I was engaged about two years to talk with a neuropsychological physician from Hungary. He told me what more or less simple animals are doing if certain stimuli are applied. And I made a block scheme out of his different remarks and descriptions. And afterwards I made the technical realization in the form of a small battery operated self-running model. It operated on different preconditions. I "taught" the model to build up so-called conditioned reflexes, as Pavlov's dog has done. From time to time it would "forget" something it had learned in previous periods and it could be shocked by strong stimulus, and so on. Afterwards I built two models. One for the young Hungarian who immigrated 1960 to the States and demonstrated his model at MIT, for instance. And people were very impressed but said the model was too small.


What was his name?


Andrew Angyan. Later on, he was a physician in Los Angeles. Now I made another model for my university, the Technical University of Vienna. This model later on came to the Technical Museum of Vienna where my model can be seen together with a picture and a short description of myself. In this technical museum you can also see another cybernetics thesis, e.g. a model of a "mouse in a maze" after the principle developed by the Greek myth of Ariadne's thread, and also the famous "Mailuefterl." It's the first fully transistorized mainframe computer in Europe. Made at the technical university under the chief management of Professor Heinz Zemanek, a pioneer not only in Austria but at least in Europe of cybernetics and as well in computer questions. One of the most experienced in that respect. I myself was half a year afterwards a scientific assistant in this scope at the university. I had lectures in London at the Royal Academy and in Karlsruhe at the Nachrichtentechnische Gesellschaft. And later on there were several publications on this specialty. On the other hand my job meant to handle most modern topics.

——–end excerpt—-

[7] Kretz, H. 1961. "Vollständige Modelldarstellung des bedingten Reflexes" [Complete model of the conditioned reflex]. InLernende Automaten, NTG Fachtagung, Karlsruhe 1961, Munich, R. Oldenbourg, pp. 52-62.
[8] Kretz, H., A. J. Angyan and H. Zemanek. 1961. "A Model for Neurophysiological Functions,"Fourth London Symposium on Information Theory, London, Butterworth, pp. 270-284.
[9] Kretz, H. 1962. "Kybernetik-Brücke zwischen den Wissenschaften" [Cybernetics–bridge between the sciences] and "Modelldarstellung biologischer Verhaltensweisen" [Models of biological behavior].Umschau, pp. 193-195 and 240-242.

Beyond art: a third culture : a comparative study in cultures, art …, Issue 72 By Peter Weibel, Ludwig Múzeum (Budapest, Hungary

Heinz Zemanek p327

6. Cybernetics
Electronics began flirting with biology early on in the 1930s, and there were even forerunners in the nineteenth century. Actually, electricity began with biology and Galvani in the 1930s, its main purpose was telecommunication, and its goal was to learn from biology. The 1950s became the golden age of cooperation. and there is a familiar key word for it, cybernetics. Again, I may and must begin with myself, because I am the only one on earth who has built and further developed all three basic models with my students. They are the Artificial Tortoise. the Mouse in the Maze, and the Homeostat.
The artificial tortoise looks only slightly like a tortoise and was not intended to imitate one. Rather, it is a model for the conditioned reflex the Russian physiologist I. P. Pavlov developed the algorithms for it around 1890 When a dog sees food,  the production of saliva in his mouth increases. This is an unconditioned reflex if a bell is rung at the same time (Pavlov used an electric door buzzer), the animal learns that the bell promises food, saliva production increases when the bell rings, even if no food Is visible. This is a conditioned reflex that disappears when the hope for food is not fulfilled often enough. Pavlov described the phenomenon, not as a formula but in prose. British neurologist W.G Walter recognized that this model Could be made electronically and built a little covered vehicle (hence the name tortoise), containing a lamp and whistle. Symbolizing food and sound respectively if the vehicle has an obstacle, the cover closes a contact; the model rolls back and tries again, adjusting a little more to the right or left. This creates the impression of animal behavior. The first Vienna model was a copy of Walter's model and represented Austria at the first cybernetics congress in Namur in 1956.
My medical partner for the next step was Hungarian neurologist and psychologist A.J. Angyan. He traveled with a more complex model of Walter's tortoise to a conference in London, the Mechanization of Thought Processes, in 1958  and stopped at our institute in Vienna in order to improve his somewhat poor model (at that time, cybernetics in the communist countries was still a bourgeois, decadent quasi-science, and Angyan could not obtain proper components). On his return trip, he decided in Vienna not to return to Hungary. but to apply for an American visa. During the waiting period, which lasted longer than expected (a good opportunity for us!), he not only cooperated with us as a team member in developing an expanded model for two connected conditioned reflexes but also obtained a grant from the Rockland State Hospital in New York City, which permitted him to live in Vienna and contribute a little to the costs — in return, the Hospital received one of the two models built. The student assistant was Hans Kretz. Altogether, we built more than five models of the tortoise in Vienna.

Angyan, A.J.; Kretz Hans; Zemanek, Heinz: A Model for Neurophysiological Functions. In: Fourth London Symposium on Information Theory, 1960, hrsg. von Colin Cherry. London 1961. S. 270 – 284 (ZA 112) -pdf here   A Model for Neurophysiological Functions. 1960 za112

Excerpts of pdf:

Brief technical description
While the logical description is based on dynamic techniques (time is strictly quantized and the variables and functions are sequences of values 0 or I for each moment), the model has been designed using a static technique: relay
contacts and potentials are maintained for the time between activation and disactivation (time quantization is not strictly necessary and series of ones are replaced by blocks of direct current.
The receptors—A microphone controls two selective feedback amplifiers for N2 and N1 and one biased amplifier for N3. The decision between 0 and I depends on thresholds circuits in the amplifiers.
A phototransistor with 'a cylindric lens controls a multistage D.C. amplifier which discriminates strong (S3) and weak (S1) light and which includes the differentiating circuits Do and D1.
Instead of Walter's moving shell this model has a relay circuit for checking the motor current. When an obstacle is encountered, the motor current increases and the relay operates, i.e. T 1.
Information processing circuits—The logical functions make use of relay contacts and diode circuits. Delays are produced by thermistors or by RC networks; storing is by self-locking relays.
The counters are networks of contacts and capacitors controlling bi-stable relays with neon lamps.
The effectors—These actually consist of two motors controlled in a way that produces the desired movements E6 through E0. A special effect is the goal-seeking mechanism which is controlled by the single phototransistor: every time a beam of light reaches the phototransistor there will be a slightly delayed change-over from one motor to the other resulting in a serpentine movement.

Technical data: differences between models 4 and 5—There is no basic difference between the two models 4 and 5. Both are compact automata running on two wheels (each wheel driven by a separate motor) and one ball-type castor. A 6 volt Ni-Cd-battery powers the entire equipment of two motors, 19 relays, 14 transistors and 8 pilot lamps. A D.C.-converter supplies 270 volt for the counting units. 6 push-buttons also permit manual establishment of various states.
Model 5 used the experience gained in constructing model 4 and has somewhat smaller dimensions (10 in. by 7 in. by 4 in.) and lower weight (about 5 lb.).
Figure 10 makes it clear that both technical design and logical examination of such intricate models is an involved job. In particular, development and functional improvements on the model can be made only by engineering experts who, in addition, understand the biological language.
A much better, more straight-forward, more flexible and less expensive answer to the problem of biological models would be programming on a computer. This, however, is subject to two pre-requisites. First, biologists must be able to express the functional structures to be simulated by a model in terms of logical algebra; secondly, an algorithmic language for' logical algebra and the associated formula translator must be developed. In 1960, the Viennese team working with the computer MAILUFTERL began investigations on the processing of logical data by this computer; consideration is at present given to the development of a suitable algorithmic language. Efforts are being devoted to programming the structure of Figure 10.
The authors wish to give acknowledgement to the Rockland State Hospital for financing model No. 4 and to Siemens & Halske, Werntrwerk Munchen, for supplying most of the relays. They are indebted to the MAILUFTERL team for helpful discussion as to logical programming and to H. Resele for help in translation work.

1954 – Vienna Turtle – Eichler / Zemanek (Austrian)

 In June of this year (2009), I went to the UK and to Europe to visit some of the great computer pioneers and in particular, to talk to them about their early cybernetic models they built.  I travelled with David Buckley (see his site here), and one of our stops was to see Heinz Zemanek in Vienna. Heinz is 89 years old and still has an office at the University. He invited us into his rooms where he was putting together his archive, amongst other things. Certainly there was a good section on his shelves on Cybernetics. On the shelves included his copy of Cybernetics by Norbet Weiner. This copy was inscribed and addressed to  Heinz, and was dated 15th January 1952.  I had already researched some of Heinz’ background so I  already knew that he was and is the only person to have completed his versions of the significant cybernetic models of the time, namely Grey Walter’s tortoise, Ashby’s Homeostat, and Shannon’s mouse in a maze.

The first of these was a tortoise built to the M. Docilis specification ie with the conditioned reflex. The student who built it was Ewald Eichler and it was built as part of his diploma thesis -Ewald Eichler: Ein umuetlabhaengiger Automat (Travail de diplome a  l’Universite techniquo de Vienne, 1954)..






 The above image is from Nemes book on "Cybernetic Models" – a must-have book for anyone interested in early Cybernetic Models.



There is a video clip showing this tortoise. Not understanding German I cannot tell what it says. Actually, being a French video clip it may be in French.

Vienna Tortoise video clip location: Note you may need to register to view this clip.

5509GJ 00001  |  1955  |  Gaumont   |  00:00:45  |  Sonore  |  N&B 
… electronique. La nouvelle science connue sous le nom de cybernetique a preside, en AUTRICHE, a la construction de cette …

Référence | Date | Collection | Durée | Description |
5509GJ 00001 | 00/00/1955  | Gaumont (Journal Gaumont) | 00:00:45 | Sonore | N&B  |

Images de la semaine.
La tortue électronique.
La nouvelle science connue sous le nom de cybernétique a présidé, en AUTRICHE, à la construction de cette tortue qui préfigure l’âge futur.
cette machine obéit au sifflet, mais elle peut aussi se passer de tout commandement puisqu’elle est douée de volonté et même de mémoire.
La tortue évite les obstacles et nul ne peut prévoir quelle route elle choisira.
En donnant à la machine l’intelligence et le libre arbitre, les savants sont allés jusqu’au bout du chemin de l’apprenti sorcier.
Recherche technologie. 

Still images from the film clip…


 The above two pics show the steering mechanism. Being a solenoid that pulls to the side when it reverses. It is only a 2-position steering mechanism, and does not scan like Grey Walter’s tortoises.




 description of above time-lapse photo:


Eichler Time-Lapse translation:

German OCR:
Abb. 19. Gang des Automaten
Der Automat bewegt sich in einem rechteckigen, von Leisten eingesäumten Laufstall und trügt auf seinem Rücken ein Glühlämpchen. Bei 1 fährt er los und beginnt seine Umgebung abzusuchen. Bei 2 wendet er sich in einem Kreisbogen nach allen Seiten. Bei 3 stößt er an die Begrenzung an; durch mehrfache Ausweichbewegungen (gerade zurück — krumm vor) kann er sich aus der Ecke herausmanövrieren. Bei 4 hält er wieder Ausschau wie bei 2. Bei 5 wird seine Kreisfahrt plötzlich unterbrochen; die Photozelle ist in den Lichtstrahl geraten und der Automat fährt auf die Lichtquelle zu, trifft aber bald auf ein Hindernis (6). Der Reiz der Berührung ist stärker als die Anziehung des Lichtes, so daß der Automat ausweicht. Am Ende dieser Bewegungen ist die Lichtquelle aus dem Gesichtskreis entschwunden und das bei 5 unterbrochene Absuchen wird fortgesetzt. Bei 8 wiederholt sich der Vorgang von 5. Bei 7 und 9 stößt der Automat abermals an die Grenzen seines Laufstalls. Bei 10 hat er sich der Lampe bis auf Blendung genähert, wendet sich ab und trifft bei 11 auf die untere Leiste. Nach Überwindung des Hindernisses folgt wieder Absuchen der dunklen Umgebung: die Lampe wird wieder entdeckt: Annäherung, Blendung, Abwenden, und dies
wiederholt sich noch einmal (12)

(I haven’t yet merged the below two English translations to hopefully get one better version.)

Babelfish (English):
Fig. 19. Course of the automat The automat moves in a rectangular, from borders enclosed playpen and deceives on its back a glow small lamp. With 1 it drives off and begins its environment to search. With 2 it turns in a circular arc in all directions. With 3 it knocks against the delimitation; by repeated evasive actions (straight back – bent forwards) it can out-maneuver itself from the corner. With 4 it holds again look out as with 2. with 5 its circle trip is suddenly interrupted; the photoelectric cell is come into the ray of light and the automat drives on the source of light too, meets however soon an obstacle (6). The attraction of the contact is stronger than the attraction of the light, so that the automat evades. At the end of these movements the source of light from the scope is disappeared and with 5 interrupted searchings is continued. With 8 the procedure of 5. repeats itself with 7 and 9 pushes the automat again to the borders of its playpen. With 10 it approached the lamp up to glare, turns away and meets with 11 the lower border. After overcoming of the obstacle again searchings of the dark environment follow: the lamp is again discovered: Approach, glare, turning away, and this repeats itself again (12)

Google (English):
Fig 19th Gang of machines
The machine moves in a rectangular strip of enclosed playpen and deceptive on his convincing a Glühlämpchen. At 1 he starts going on and its surroundings scan. At 2 he turns in a circle on all sides. With 3 triggers it to the limit, through multiple alternate movements (straight back – before crooked) can be viewed from the corner herausmanövrieren. At 4, he again look like 2nd In District 5, his journey suddenly interrupted the photocell is advised in the light and the machine goes on to light, but soon meets an obstacle (6). The appeal of the contact is stronger than the attraction of light, so that the machine evade. At the end of this movement is the source of light from the horizon entschwunden and at 5 interrupted scanning will continue. In 8 of the process is repeated from 5 At 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. triggers the machine again to the borders of his Laufstalls. At 10, he has the lamp to dazzle approached, turns and hits with 11 on the lower bar. After overcoming the obstacle scanning follows the dark surroundings: the lamp is rediscovered: Approach, fading away, and this
is repeated again (12)


A couple of pics from my own visit. I’ll later put the full set into a photo galley on this domain.



Zemanek, Heinz: Die künstliche Schildkröte von Wien. In: Radio-Magazin mit Fernseh-Magazin, 9 (1955), S. 275 – 278 (ZA 049)
[The Artificial Tortoise of Vienna:] Article about a project of an artificial tortoise built by Ewald Eichler in 1955

Zemanek, Heinz: La tortue de Vienne et les autres travaux cybernétiques. In: 1er Congrès International de Cybernéthique, Namur, 26-29 Juin 1956. Paris 1959. (Actes de … Congrés International de Cybernétique) S. 770 – 780 (ZA 083)
[The Tortoise of Vienna and other cybernetic projects:] Article in french about several cybernetic projects

The author with Heinz Zemanek, June 2009.

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