Posts Tagged ‘Robot’

1975 – “Roboteer” Mobile Remote Manipulator – MBAssociates (American)

roboteer x640 1975   Roboteer  Mobile Remote Manipulator   MBAssociates (American)

Walking the Thing

Roboteer, who was manufactured by a firm in San Ramon, California, is accompanied by employee Judy Bently as the mechanized marvel uses its own street crossing on its way to an unannounced destination. Officials say the robot is designed to perform functions which are considered hazardous to more ordinary and fragile mortals.
Source: Celebrity Magazine, 1976.

MBAssociates International, San Ramon, CA
This tethered, remotely controlled, 2-tracked device was designed to serve as an explosive ordnance disposal and surveillance vehicle for the military. It can maneuver in open terrain (soft, muddy, or steep) and indoors (can climb stairs and surmount small obstacles). Its 7-axis manipulator arm can lift 11.3 kg (25 lb) with a 1092 mm (43 in.) reach. In addition to the standard equipment package, which includes a video camera, optional sensory and instrumentation items include AC to DC inverter, portable gasoline-powered motor generator, audio transponder (which allows two-way communication and sound transmission), water proofing, vehicle-mounted rechargeable battery power supply, pulse width modulation command system, and a minicomputer for autonomous control of the system. The dimensions for this 127-kg (280-1b) vehicle are: 1016 x 508 x 1143 mm (1 x w x h) (40 x 20 x 45 in.) (with video camera and manipulating arm in the stowed positions). The 250-W, 117V, 60-Hz power requirements are provided by a 30.5-m (100-ft) control cable [optional extension to 152 m (550 ft)].

See another MBAssociates manipulator here.

See other early Teleoperators here.

1966 – “Herman” Mobile Remote Manipulator – PaR Systems (American)

PaR 1 x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

The PaR-1 mobile manipulator. The vehicle and manipulator are powered and controlled by cable. The manipulator arm and the two TV cameras are mounted on articulated booms. The height of the central support tube is 68 inches. PaR was a subsiduary of GCA when this model came out.

PaR mobile robot 0007 x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

PaR-1 with its remote operating console. It is cable-connected.

PaR mobile robot 0004 x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

robot herman 6 x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

"Herman" Mobile Remote Manipulator

robot herman 22 x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

Nuclear Radiation Can't Scare Robot – Source:The Cornell Daily Sun, Volume 95, Number 122, 6 April 1979

Middletown , Pa . AP If the time comes to walk into a room hot with lethal doses of radiation at Three Mile Island, the first one in will be Herman — and he won't have a choice.
Herman is a robot.
As a nuclear life-saver , he has worked wonders.  But as a robot, the 13-year old mechanical marvel probably would be a vast disappointment to science fiction fans weaned on R2D2.
Herman is mainly a large motorized box. He (she? it?) is 5 feet long, 6 feet tall and mounted on tank-like treads. He has one long arm and two strong fingers.
The robot's range extends to 400 feet, a limit set by his umbilical cord, a power control cable.
Harold Denton , operations chief for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told reporters Wednesday: "We haven't used Herman the Robot yet, but we hope to use him to take samples in high radiation areas and avoid unnecessary exposures of radiation to people."
Herman was created in 1966 when a fire at the government's Savannah River uraniun enrichment plant in South Carolina showed the need for remote-control, mobile equipment that was radiation resistant.
Two television cameras give Herman his sight . He can switch from performing delicate manuevers to lifting 160-pound loads or dragging 500 pounds , said James Alexander, an official of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where Herman is usually kept in the "Y-12 weapons  plant."
"Herman has a very delicate touch. He can do many things as you can do with your two fingers," Alexander said. "He can turn valves. He can pick up very small objects … He can take a bucket in behind him, put it on the ground, reach over, pick up something, put it in bucket, the take the bucket, put it somewhere else."
This would be Herman's first tour of duty at a commercial nuclear power plant but he has shown his worth before in dealing with nuclear incidents.
A few years ago, Herman freed a container of radioactive Cobalt 60 that had gotten stuck in a pneumatic transfer tube in a lab at the University of Rochester.
Another time, Herman crawled into a physics lab at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., to retrieve a radioactive source that had gotten loose. Using his single arm, he placed the source back into its protective container.

robot herman x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

At the time [1984], with the Department of Energy's okay, the robot and operators are dispatched to the troubled site. Union Carbide receives what it terms a "full recovery" fee—money that covers the salaries of the robot's personnel, transportation, lodgings, and meals. Union Carbide does not sell the Y-12 plant mobile manipulator, as Herman is known. It paid $63,010 when it bought the robot several years ago. Vehicles like Herman could still be bought from Programs and Remote Systems Corporation.

robot herman 79 1 x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

robot herman 79 2 x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

Y-12's Herman still on standby

 Four Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant men who operate the plant's mobile manipulator or robot, nicknamed "Herman," have returned home after a week of standby duty at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, subject to 24-hour recall. The robot remains at Three Mile Island.
 Robert W. Frazier, team leader, William Pankratz, Thomas E. Copeland and Richard Turner, all of Y-12 Maintenance Division, were summoned to the power plant site March 30 to operate the robot if its services were needed during the emergency. The manipulator system was transported to Pennsylvania in its travel van, driven by Department of Energy personnel.

 One mission considered for the robot was that it enter a room which has a high radiation level and take samples of the primary coolant water for chemical and radiological analysis. During their week's stay at the power plant, the crew members rehearsed this mission, which would have involved about 35 separate operations and would have required 8 to 10 hours to complete.
     Press interest
 At week's end, Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials at the scene informed the Y-12 team that the operation had been postponed and that team members could return home, subject to possible recall at a later time. The manipulator system was reloaded into the travel van, but is being retained at the power plant site.
 The robot apparently captured the imagination of news reporters covering the story. Wire services and newspapers across the nation requested file photographs of the maniuplator system, and all three national television networks requested file videotape scenes of the system in action (made in a Y-12 documentary video program in 1977). The robot provided the lead story for the "CBS Evening News" program on April 4 [1979].        
The manipulator system, built to Nuclear Division design specifications by a commercial vendor [PaR Systems] in 1966, consists of the mobile manipulator, its control console and a workroom-laboratory. The manipulator is designed to operate at distances up to 700 feet from the control console, to which it is attached by a cable. The manipulator is about five feet long, six feet high and about two and one-half feet wide. It has a mechanical hand capable of lifting 160 pounds and dragging 500 pounds. Two television cameras mounted behind the arm transmit pictures to monitors on the control console.
  The manipulator system was obtained by Y-12 as a safety support
backup in operations involving the handling of toxic or radioactive materials in the plant. It has been used outside Oak Ridge on two previous occasions to recover radioactive sources: at the University of Rochester in 1975 and the University of the South at Sewanee in 1976.

Source: Nuclear Division News [Union Carbide] April 19, 1979.

alshade record 1979 herman robot tmi x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

Record cover made soon after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

PaR is still in business and this is their current single-arm remote mobile manipulator.

Mobile Manipulator PaR x640 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

par mobile new 1966   Herman Mobile Remote Manipulator   PaR Systems (American)

See also post titled "1960 – Space Manipulators – General Mills" for description on General Mill's approach to manipulator design concepts.

See other early Teleoperators here.

1928 – “The Psychophonic Nurse” (Fiction) – David H. Keller (American)

“The Psychophonic Nurse”, by David H. Keller. Published in Amazing Stories, 1928

The Psychophonic Nurse Frank R Paul 1928 1928   The Psychophonic Nurse (Fiction)   David H. Keller (American)

Illustration by Frank R. Paul.

The Psychophonic Nurse
A child-care robot – a nanny bot.

“I had her made by the Eastinghouse Electric Company. You see, she’s just a machine nurse, but as she doesn’t eat anything, is on duty twenty-four hours a day, and draws no salary, she’s cheap at the price I paid.”

“…let me show you how she works. She’s made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic intruments, and by means of tubes such as are used in the radio, she’s very sensitive to sounds. She’s connected to the house current by a long, flexible cord, which supplies her with the necessary energy. To simplify matters, I had the orders put into numbers instead of sentences. One means that the baby is to be fed; seven that she’s to be changed…”

“…When I ordered this machine … I bought a phonograph with clock attachment. It will run for twenty-four hours without attention. Then I had a baby doctor work out a twenty-four hour programme of infant activity for different ages. Our baby is about two months old. You put this phonograph with the two-month record on it in the nursery… At definite periods of the twenty-four hours the phonograph will call out a number and the nurse will do what is necessary…

Article sourced from here.

[RH - one wonders how long baby would be in soiled daipers before the appropriate 'number' came up?]

The above fictional robot was inspired by the then new and wonderful Westinghouse Televox of 1927, which operated in s similar fashion.

See other early Domestic Service Robots here.

1950 – Remote-control Manipulator – Art Youmans (American)

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)

Several feet away, the operator controls the arm from this chair.

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)

It can measure out liquid by the drop.

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)

 "Adelbert"—Science's "Right Arm"—Can Even Write Its Name
ALTHOUGH it looks more like a dentist's oversized drill, a gentle-acting mechanical arm called "Adelbert" is actually built like the human arm. It has an elbow, shoulder, wrist and fingers. Unlike normal arms, it is completely double-jointed.
Adelbert's inventor is Art Youmans, who works for a Tulsa company that does radioactivity well logging in surveying oil fields. Radioactive materials often require remote handling, hence the invention of remotely operated Adelbert. Youmans spent 18 months working on his robot.
Similar arms are in use in research labs, but Youmans claims his arm is best. It is versatile. It can snatch up heavy cans or fondle eggs. It pours from slender test tubes as adroitly as a chemist. Even untrained operators can pour liquids with Adelbert and not spill a drop. A favorite trick is to pick up a pencil and write its name.
The operator sits in a one-armed chair—the arm being the control. When the operator moves this arm forward by pivoting his arm from the shoulder, Adelbert does likewise. Raise a forearm and the mechanical arm mirrors the action. A pistol-grip bar controls the twisting of the wrist. This movement even outdoes the human arm- can spin its hand all the way around in either direction. That's handy for screwing nuts on bolts. Open the fingers and Adelbert follows suit. Unaffected by radiation, Adelbert offers safety and deftness—a combination atomic researchers need.

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)
Inventor Art Youmans watches his "right arm" mix chemicals.

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)

It is gentle enough to handle eggs.

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)

 1950   Remote control Manipulator   Art Youmans (American)

Publication number    US2861699 A
Publication date    25 Nov 1958
Filing date    16 Oct 1950
Also published as    DE976882C
Inventors    Arthur H Youmans
Original Assignee    Gen Mills Inc

Remote-control Manipulator

The present invention ……… provides a manipulator that may be entirely electrically operated from a remote point …….  The manipulator can be operated by a separate unit which transmits power to it in any desired manner. The device of the instant invention can be made to perform all of the operations that can be performed with the human arm as well as operations which would be incapable of performance with the human arm. It can be made to perform double jointed movements and large angle deflections of its elements which cannot be duplicated by the human arm. It is fundamentally different from a set of tongs because it can be directed to perform a complicated series of movements which the operator at the controls supervises but does not himself perform.

It can perform operations at any rate and in any manner which the operator chooses and each operation can be controlled with any degree of precision which the operator desires by independently reducing or increasing the speed of the separate elements moving in their respective degrees of freedom. Since each of the movable elements of the manipulator forming the subject matter of the present invention may be moved independently, delicate operations may be performed by incrementally moving one element at a time about its pivotal joint while all other movable elements of the apparatus remain automatically relatively fixed.

The apparatus of the instant invention is extremely versatile in that the hand of the manipulator is provided with gripping members which may be adjutsed to the position of the object being handled with respect to the axis of rotation of the hand. Thus, for example, in pouring one can hold the lip of the vessel stationary while rotating the body of the vessel or in holding a screw driver one can make the blade stay in a screw slot during rotation of the screw driver. This is made possible by adjusting the span of the hand by moving one set of digits which oppose a movable thumb in a manner that will align the object to be manipulated with the axis of rotation of the hand. Novel arrangements have been provided for actuating the grasping digits of the hand whereby any desired pressure can be exerted by the digits on the object being grasped at the will of the operator through the medium of the novel control provided for the manipulator. 

… see more patent description here.

See other Early Teleoperators and Manipulators here.

1950c – “The Iron Hand” Industrial Robot – Erie Engineering Company (American)

The Iron Hand (Sourced from here and authored by Kerry Kirsch)

The Iron Hand was a robot that was developed by someone at Erie Engineering Company, 840 West Baltimore, Detroit, Michigan in the shadows of the old General Motors Building. Erie Engineering was owned by my grandfather, Frank Karl Kirsch, and specialized in Tool & Die designs for the automobile companies. The name "Iron Hand" sounds like it was inspired by a comic book hero. Back then, safety was not the priority that it is today. At a very young age, I recall hearing several stories of people regularly being injured, or killed in a stamping press. I won't go into the details, but I suspect that these reoccurring tragedies led to the idea of the Iron Hand to automate press work. I don't know the exact date of the photographs, but a car is visible in the background. I would be interested from hearing from someone the model and date to get a more accurate timeframe. I am guessing that they are from the late 1940s, early 1950s.

iron hand 1a x640 1950c   The Iron Hand Industrial Robot   Erie Engineering Company (American)

I suspect that the guy in the first picture was the man responsible for the design – he looks like a proud father. Unfortunately, I don't know who he is. I understand that the robot was hydraulically powered and the photos seem to show a hydraulic cylinder. The part in the gripper is a sheet metal stamping that appears to be part of a floor pan.

iron hand 2 x640 1950c   The Iron Hand Industrial Robot   Erie Engineering Company (American)

[RH/ Car appears to be an 1950 Buick bucktooth grille designed by Henry Lauve]

Back in those days, there were not a lot of options for controlling machines. The Iron Hand was controlled by a traffic light controller. Basically it is a timer that fired hydraulic valves. The mechanism for the arm is really quite ingenious. If you look carefully, you will notice a cylinder at the rear of the arm that imparts motion for reaching through a pair of links of unequal length to the upper rear arm. The arm consists of 4 rods connected at an elbow. In the elbow is a link that imparts motion from the upper rear rod to the lower front rod. It produces near perfect linear motion with only one cylinder.

Iron Hand 3 x640 1950c   The Iron Hand Industrial Robot   Erie Engineering Company (American)

The above photo appears different from the other two. The robot is rotationally in a different position than in the previous photos and there appears to be some heavy chain attached to the frame that could not be seen in the others. I suspect this is because of the appearance of a waist axis. It’s not clear to me how this would have worked yet, but I'm sure someone has some ideas.

Iron Hand 4 x640 1950c   The Iron Hand Industrial Robot   Erie Engineering Company (American)

This is a photo of the prototype model I took recently. Under the triangular shaped plates at the top there was a short link that connected the lower left arm to the upper right arm. The link was broken off before I got the model. When I was in college, I measured it all up and wrote a Fortran program to model and plot how it would move. It produced near perfect linear motion. For my senior project at Lawrence Institute of Technology, I designed and built a similar arm that used 4 gears to replace the linking mechanism. I used a single DC servo motor with a harmonic drive gear reducer to rotate one of the rear arms at the base to achieve linear motion.

See other Early Teleoperators, Industrial Robots and Manipulators here.