Posts Tagged ‘Force-reflection’

1976 – MF3 Manipulator Vehicle – Köhler (German)



Blocher-Motor GmbH & Co. KG, Metzingen, West Germany CMS Technologies, Inc., Ft. Lee, N.J., U.S. Distributor
This device is a remotely controlled, tethered 4-tracked vehicle which is used in the nuclear industry and other hazardous environments. It was initially conceived and developed at the KFA Julich Research Laboratory in West Germany. Its single, light-duty, electric-powered manipulator arm can lift up to 20 kg (44 lb); the heavy-duty arm can lift up to 80 kg (176 lb). Both arms have 6 axes of movement and possess infinitely rotating long openings. Optional 7-axes electric lightweight master-slave arms (single or dual) which can perform extremely delicate operations by means of power feedback can carry 12 kg (26 lb) In a sustained operation or up to 24 kg (53 lb) in a temporary capacity. The MF3 is remote controlled from a portable control desk located up to 100 m (328 ft) from the 408-kg (900 lb) device. The MF3 dimensions are: 2264 x 720 x 400mm (1 x w x h) (89.1 x 28.3 x 15.7 in.); with track adjustment, the length and height are, respectively, 940 and 1080 mm (37.0 and 42.5 in.). It can climb stairs with a gradient of up to 45 degrees, turn on a 1200 mm (47.2 in.) radius, and can surmount 600 mm (23.6 in.) high obstacles, and traverse 1 m (3 ft) wide chasms (gaps). Its maximum speed is 30 m/min (99 ft/min), optional accessories are video cameras, TV monitor at the control desk, headlights, noise transmission system, X-ray unit with mounting arm, and alternate grippers. Power (220V, 50 Hz) and communications are made through an umbilical cord (cable). On-board electrical tools are powered through on-board sockets. An alternate model can operate with four on-board 12V batteries.











A mobile base with optional manipulator arms. The EMSM 2 arms by the same developers are shown above.





mf3-emsm2 - Copy-x640


Above and below – Current MF3 offerings by KHG.


See other early Teleoperators and Industrial Robots here.

1970-2 – “Virgule” Remote-Controlled Manipulator – Jean Vertut (French)


1970-2 – "Virgule" Remote-Controlled Manipulator.


Virgule being demonstrated at an exhibition.

See 1:14 and 4:16 into video clip.


The MA22 arm (slave unit shown) was very innovative at the time. The motors counterbalance the rest of the arm. It was replaced in 1975 by the MA23 which is still highly successful today.



The Virgule was an interesting machine. It had (1) four self-contained propulation and steering wheels with special tread-pattern for stair-climbing. (2) Extended front wheel (both extend to give stability). (3) Retractable from wheel (both retract to allow passage through a narrow door). The MA-22 manipulator arms (5) use a cable and ribbon design. There is feedback between the master and slave.




New MA 23 master-slave manipulators with servo control and force feedback. Their application in routine work and in scheduled and exceptional operations. The MA 22 system, based on the Virgule device, led to the development of a new technology which combines high reliability with excellent performance, very small electronics and high-torque d.c. motors. The second generation, MA 23, is characterized by a substantially improved mechanism, enabling maximum advantage to be derived from the servo control and making it possible to reproduce, at unlimited distance and with very high slave strength, the dexterity displaced by light master-slave manipulators on the operator side. The authors describe the equipment and indicate the various possibilites for its use in facilities. Long-term development and testing is also being directed towards under-water operation and industrial automatic manipulation. (Source)


 Jean Vertut (1929-1985)

See other early Teleoperators and Industrial Robots here.

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1997 – Robotic Master-Slave Manipulator – Mark E. Rosheim (American)

Patent number: 5845540
Filing date: Sep 25, 1997
Issue date: Dec 8, 1998
See full patent here.

Patent Abstract:

A pair of connected joints is provided in a master-slave robotic system each operated by a plurality of force-imparting means. Such force imparting means for the second joint supported on a member controlled by the first joint imparts force to a member controlled by the second joint at an acute angle. A third joint is used with the flexible drive tape partly internal thereto.

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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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1983-88 – “Greenman” Teleoperator – Smith & Armogida (American)

“Greenman” (1983-1988) – The first anthropomorphic (human configured) manipulator developed at SSC San Diego was the Remote Presence Demonstration System, nicknamed “Greenman”. It was assembled in 1983 using MB Associates arms and a SPAWAR Systems Center San Diego-developed torso and head. It had an exoskeletal master controller for the human operator’s torso, arms, and head. Its vision system consisted of two 525-line video cameras each having a 35 degree field of view and video camera eyepiece monitors mounted in an aviator’s helmet.

Greenman provided SSC San Diego with valuable experience in teleoperation and telepresence issues and designs. Even with its simple claw hands and no force or tactile feedback, novice operators could readily perform manipulative tasks without training. However, it clearly showed that dextrous hands, force feedback, and a high-resolution vision system were necessary for diver-equivalent work capability. Also the Greenman was not designed for in-water use, and demonstration of in-water work was deemed necessary to fully demonstrate the diver-equivalency concept. These shortcomings were later addressed in the TOPS project.

Video  “Greenman – Teleoperated Humanoid – The first anthropomorphic (human configured) manipulator developed at SSC San Diego was the Remote Presence Demonstration System, nicknamed Greenman.”

See pdf here.

Images below from pdf.

See the later 1991 version called TOPS here.

See other Early Teleoperators and Manipulators here.


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