Posts Tagged ‘remote teleoperator’

1970-1 – CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator – Naval Undersea Research (American)


1970-1 – CURV Mobile Linkage Manipulator. Originally developed for the Cable-controlled Undersea Remove Vehicle (CURV), it was adapted for potential use as a mobile nuclear manipulator as seen here. Later it was used in Bezjcy's lab at the Jet Propulstion Laboratories (JPL), along with the JPL/Ames Arm.




The NEVADA/CURV system (Fig. 3) consists of the CURV Linkage Arm mounted on a turret which can be rotated and elevated relative to the carrier vehicle, two TV cameras for stereo viewing, a separate TV camera for monodisplay, and a remote control station with RF or hardwired link to the vehicle-arm-TV system. This hydraulically powered arm has six degrees-of-freedom, plus opening and closing the hand mechanism. The essential and novel feature of this manipulator is that it provides true linear extension by the use of an idler gear of twice the radius of a forearm drive gear. Extension is achieved by moving the upper arm with respect to the idler. The linkage action causes the course travelled by the wrist during extension to be a straight line passing through both the azimuth and elevation axes. Elevation is achieved by rotating the whole mechanism about the vertical axis of the idler. A double parallelogram added to the linkage eliminates wrist disorientation during changes in elevation and extension or the arm. Thus, the arm performs the function of positioning the hand, without disconnecting it, in a spherical coordinate system. The arm has a high section modulus which makes it rigid but lightweight. The existing prototype can handle loads corresponding to nearly 70% of the arms weight at 1.5 m extension. The control system is presently a single on-off control for each joint. Rate control servo for joystick control and position control servo for computer control are under construction. The equioment of the hand with tactile, proximity, and force/torque sensors is also in progress. Presently, the NEVADA/CURV system is used for hand-eye coordination experiments.
Source: JPL Technical Memorandum 33-721. Jan 1, 1975

See also paper by Uhrich, R., "CURV Linkage Manipulator," Naval Research Center. November 1971.


Linear linkage manipulator arm

Publication number    US3703968 A
Publication type    Grant
Publication date    28 Nov 1972
Filing date    20 Sep 1971
Priority date    20 Sep 1971
Inventors    Richard W Uhrich, Jimmy L Held
Original Assignee    Us Navy

A manipulator arm comprises two parallelogram linkages in combination with a trapezium linkage. The three linkage systems cooperate to produce movement in spherical coordinates when used in conjunction with three independent actuators. The two parallelogram linkages preserve spacial coordination between the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints and the trapezium linkage permits radial extension of objects carried thereby.

See other early Teleoperators here.

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1960 – KOELSCH Mobile Manipulator – William A. Koelsch Jr. (American)


1960 – KOELSCH Mobile Manipulator






The JPL KOELSCH Robot system (Fig. 2) contains two identical arms mounted on a common shoulder link supported  by a vertical post. The post is fitted to a small tread platform. The common shoulder link can be rotated about and raised along the vertical axis of the post. Relative to the common shoulder link, each arm has six basic motion capabilities (six degrees-of-freedom): horizontal shoulder rotation, vertical shoulder swing, vertical elbow swing, vertical wrist swing, head rotation, and hand grip. All joint motions are independent and can be operated individually or simultaneously in any direction. The servo system has both manual and computer control modes. The manua; control is conventional rate control for each joint drive. The computer provides position control, but the drive servo loops are analog. Manual and computer control modes of operation are mutually exclusive. For remote control experiments, the Koelsch manipulator is equipped with the dual TV system mounted on the common shoulder link. The TV base has pan and tilt mechanisms. The identification of object coordinates is performed by the use of a curson in the video display frame. Several sets of control experiments have been performed using the JPL KOELSCH Robot arm also using proximity sensors in both manual and computer control modes.

Source: JPL Technical Memorandum 33-721. Jan 1, 1975

There is also a paper on this Mobile Manipulator: MOBILE MANIPULATOR, J. A. Brown, Esso Research and Engineering Company, Linden, New Jersey, William A. Koelsch, Jr., Koelsch Electronic Development Company, Boise, Idaho (USA)

See other early Teleoperators here.

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1955 – Mobile Remote Manipulator – (American)


1955 – Mobile Remote Manipulator at Argonne National Labs.


Sphere-mounted tongs, similar to those on Mobile Remote Manipulator.


Popular Mechanics Feb 1955

Lead Shield on Wheels Guards Atomic Worker
Electric motors propel a heavy, three-sided lead shield used in handling radioactive materials at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. The barrier, which is four inches thick, has a lead-glass window through which the operator looks as he manipulates "hot" materials with tools which pass through ball joints located below the window. By moving either of the two handles located on the chassis, the operator drives and steers the five-ton unit. The handles control independent motors that move the front wheels, which allows great mobility. The unit is used in removing radio-active materials from a cyclotron while its 280-ton magnet is energized.

The above image has always reminded me of a Dalek. Was Terry Nation (creator) or Ray Cusick (designer) ever inspired by it?

There are similarities between the Argonne mobile platform and a Dalek:

The Kaled mutants are at war with the Thals.  To survive from further dangerous radiation that envelopes their planet, they encapsulated themselves in mobile platforms to protect their already mutated bodies. They became the Daleks.  [See Dr Who and Dalek history here.]

In my research for my next series of posts, I came across this interesting Diving helmet. It, too, reminded me of a Dalek.


"Not the Man from Mars". The diving helmet from 1938. Source: Moderm Mechanix, March, 1938.

So, quite possibly,…….


Early Dalek design by Ray Cusick showing sphere-mounted tongs (a.k.a. ball-joint attachments).


See other early Teleoperators here.

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1930 – Teleoperated “Flying Robot” – Russell Keaton (American)


Published December 2, 1930.

Buddy Deering: "For a Iong time I had been thinking of a Flying Robot – Radio-controlled with Attractor-beam propulsion. I had it built…..with this control box I can make it do anything and talk through it."


Sundays / Buck Rogers S03 – Mysterious Saturnian (1930-09-14 to 1930-11-30). The Fair Prisoner (Sept 9, 1930).

During March 1930 the Sunday version of the Buck Rogers comic strip began, but Buck didn't feature in the Sunday strip, but this time his girlfriend's brother Buddy Deering (because back then they didn't know how 'Buck' could serially feature in both daily serials and a full length Sunday special!) has a teleoperated robot, a flying robot at that. The strip was signed by Dick Calkins although the actual illustrator was Russell Keaton (until 1933).


Not your regular "fireman's lift" used here. I wonder if Buddy's control box had tactile feedback or not.

Image source: See here.

See another Buck Rogers robot here.

See other early Teleoperators here.

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1929 – “Robot #792” Mobile Remote Robot – Philip Francis Nowlan / Dick Calkins (American)


On Wednesday, July 24, 1929, a Buck Rogers cartoon strip was published depicting 'Iron Men', robots that are operated by radio control. It said that "each Robot's receiver and transmitter is permanently tuned to its own control box, and it can be controlled through no other."

The robot's eyes  included a lens for television transmission, speaker for a mouth, microphonic 'ears' for transmission of hearing to remote control operator, a swivel neck, electro-magnetic push-pull muscles in its arms, and a tractor-type base.

The control box has a television view plate, a receiver, tractor control, a microphone and a speaker.

At the time, Philip Francis Nowlan was the writer and Dick Calkins the illustrator.

It would take another 30 years before the first remote manipulator was to materialize in robots such as "The Little Ranger."

Point of Interest:

Although the word "robot" was first coined in 1920 following the publication of Karel Čapek's play "Rossum's Universal Robots", the word was used to describe "artificial humans manufactured for slave labour", made organically, not the mechanical men or automatons that we now associate a robot to in popular culture. It wasn't until the publication of the Metropolis programme handed out for the Marble Arch Pavilion premiere in London Mar 21, 1927,  that the words: Mary the "Robot", Maria the "Robot" , "Automaton", "Automaton Mary", and "Artificial Man" were attributed to "Metropolis".  This programme also compares excerpts from the book with "Scenarios" (i.e. the screenplay). So whilst the book never uses the word "Robot", the Scenarios do!  It's quite possible, then, that Fritz Lang, or the people behind the English-language programme, were the first to connect his "automaton" to that of a "robot". Capt. Alban J. Roberts started calling his mechanical man a Robot during a London stint at Maskylene's St. Georges Hall. Soon followed by Capt. Richard's Eric the Robot opening the Exhibition in September of 1928. Mostly likely both were influenced by the movie and the programme's description. I believe the media propagation of that event and subsequent showings of Eric were the beginnings that transformed the word "robot" to what we now understand it to mean, not Čapek's original meaning. "Eric the Robot" made the visual connection between the word robot and the mechanical man (or automaton) by emblazing the "RUR" lettering upon its chest.  The American "Televox" automation was anthropomorphized in October 1927, but not called a robot until later. Eric the Robot was then touring the United States and was seen by Westinghouse to be in competition with it. Interesting to note that only the media referred to "Televox" as a Robot. Westinghouse's own literature never did.

In the Buck Rogers daily strip published on December 21 of 1929 (see below), we see another robot, this time one created by the Mongols, which, as well as being called "Televox" is verbally commanded by detailed instructions, just like the real "Televox".

Certainly the Buck Rogers comic strip would have contributed to the popularization of the revised meaning of the word "Robot", but it did not start it.


Going a step further, on February 14, 1930 (below), we see individually remotely operated Robots from the Americans do battle with the Mongol's more humanoid 2-legged Robot army.



See the complete daily strip and larger images here.

See Origin of Robots here.

See other early Teleoperators here.

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