Posts Tagged ‘Cybernetic Creature’

1959 – Cybernetic Mice play Hockey – Mullard (British)

An early example of multiple robotic creatures operating together. Other than light and touch sensors, there's no other apparent interaction with them. Possibly an early but simple example of swarm robotics and collaborative robots.

English translation of article text:

To emphasize wont in machine control, a British firm [Mullard] of electronic devices has created these mechanical mice playing hockey on the ice. Each mouse is equipped with a photoelectric cell. Circuits and polarized magnetic lines of force, located under the floor, move the mice to the hatch into which they let the ball.

Source: La Tecnica Illustrata, March 1959.

Per dare risalto ai suol controlli per macchine, una ditta britannica di apparecchi elettronici ha realizzato questi topolini meccanici che giocano a hockey sul ghiaccio. Ciascun topolino e munito di una cellula fotoelettrica. Circuiti polarizzati e linee magnetiche di forza, situate sotto il piano, fanno muovere i topolini verso la porta nella quale devono far entrare la palla.

The Mullard logo.

See all the Cybernetic Animals and Creatures here.


W. Grey Walter Tortoises – Picture Gallery #2

Some more photos of W. Grey Walter and his Tortoises.


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland.


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland.


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland.


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland

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BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland


BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland


Joe Engelberger looking over the then, newly restored original Tortoise.

BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland.


Image courtesy Steve Battle.

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BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland. Photo by Meljay Photographers of New York.

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Tortoise detail. At this stage, assuming tortoise is #6, it has not yet been customised with the top-mounted spare vacuum tube clips nor the tiny spanner used to adjust the relays.

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BNI archives, courtesy of Owen Holland.

Grey Walter in America with his own #6 from the batch of 6 made by "Bunny" Warren of the BNI for the 1951 Festival of Britain. The machine in front is CORA (Mark II), the desktop demonstration model.  As suggested by others, I do not believe the desktop model of CORA was ever wired into a Machina Speculatrix tortoise. It was a very much self-contained and separate from the tortoises.

I believe the CORA (Mark I) (possibly in the image below) was probably "Elmer" converted  by adding the additional reflex circuits. The seemingly black holes are clear sections in the painted plastic shell and were probably there to see the neon lamps operating as part of the additional circuit. At one stage, there were two circuits added, each tuned to a different note from a UK police whistle (which could produce two notes separately or together. When sounded together, this is when the so-called neurosis kicked in, eventually solved by a technique favoured by Walter, leucotomy (labotomy), in this case by cutting out the additional circuits, turning CORA (a machina docilis) back into ELSIE (a machina speculatrix).  


Both photo's by (or for) Pierre DeLatil. Note the extra battery pack in both photos, weighting or lifting the shell to simulate 'bump' mode, maybe to attract baby Timothy for the sake of the photo shoot.

Dr. Ray Cooper (Dir. Burden Neurological Institute), Vivian Walter (nee Dovey) and Dr. W. Grey Walter with two tortoises c1956. Thanks to Owen Holland for correcting the names.

Unfortunately the above image is so poor that it is difficult to see any additional circuitry on what looks like ELSIE that would make it a CORA.


Image from "Future Shock" documentary.


Image of ELSIE showing shell, plastic 'antennae', and lamp at the front.

Meccano model of a tortoise.

See other Grey Walter and his Tortoises here.

See other Cybernetic Creatures here.

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1964 – Cybernetique Tortue (Cybernetic Tortoise) – Armand Delsemme (Belgian)


Les amateurs de « zoologie » électronique sont aujourd'hui légion. Ici, une « tortue » réalisée par le chercheur belge André[sic] Delsemme et qui, comme ses consoeurs, est capable d'apprentissage (arch. ph. Boulanger/Ministère de l'Éducation nationale — Service Cinématographique, Bruxelles).

English Translation

The amateurs of electronic “zoology” are now legion. Here, a “cybernetic tortoise” made by the Belgian researcher André[sic] Delsemme and who, like his colleagues, is capable of learning (arch. ph. Boulanger / Ministry of Education – Film Service, Brussels).

Thanks to my  friend Paul-Alain Amouriq for this picture.

[Aug 2015: Ed. Although the article refers to André Delsemme, it has been suggested by some that it should have referred to Armand Delsemme, the noted Belgian research scientist . The original image appeared in an article by Georges R. Boulanger c1968.]

English translation:

Cybernetics is a Belgian short documentary of 27 minutes, directed by Jean-Marie Piquint in 1964. Cybernetics, its principles and its first applications presented from the perspective of a third industrial revolution with robotics. The film presents and demonstrates, among other things, the principles of William Ross Ashby homeostat and electronic tortoise Armand Delsemme (sometimes erroneously named André Delsemme) in the offspring of William Grey Walter works whose creations called Bristol turtle signed the beginnings of robotics. Production and realization: Jean-Marie Piquint. Comments by Richard Muller said. Scientific Advisor: R. Georges Boulanger. Black and white real views Gevaert filtered Gevacolor color. Jean Coignon animated diagrams. Collection of the film library of the Ministry of the French Community of Belgium. Primo Premio Assoluto: International Science Film Festival in Vicenza (1965). Special Award: Industrial International Film Festival in Rouen (1965). Special mention for color processing: International Festival of Barcelona (1965).

Source: here.

See all the early Cybernetic Animals here.

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