Posts Tagged ‘Submarine Armor Suit’

1985 – Direct Link Prehensor (DLP) – John W. Jameson (American)

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1985 – Direct Link Prehensor (DLP) by John W. Jameson.

The project stalled in 1986. Originally designed for astronaut hard suits, it was later licensed to Nuytco for its atmospheric diving systems, or ADS, particularly the then new Exosuit.

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The Prehensor is a manipulator that matches the dexterity of a gloved human hand. External ‘fingers’ mimic the exact movements of the inside ‘master’ hand and provide full, 100% reflexive index-ability of the external thumb, in concert with the number of other digits employed. In addition, the outside ‘slave hand’ provides directly proportional sensory feedback of pressure, weight, etc., to the inside master hand (yours!).

The unique capabilities of the Prehensor were developed specifically with the Nuytco ADS ‘Exosuit’ in mind, but the system can easily replace existing simple jaw-style manipulators for use on ADS units. An electronically-controlled version is under development for use on remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s) and deep submersibles. There also has been discussion with the national space agencies of several countries on the use of the ‘Prehensor’ as a possible alternative to the conventional space-suit gloves.

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Mechanical prehensor

Publication number US4984951 A
Publication type Grant
Application number US 07/412,540
Publication date 15 Jan 1991
Filing date 22 Sep 1989
Priority date 20 Jan 1988
Fee status Lapsed
Inventor John W. Jameson
Original Assignee The Board Of Trustees Of The Leland Stanford Junior University

The patent was later licensed to Nuytco Research Ltd. around 1990.

A generally anthropomorphic prehensor having at least two mechanical finger apparatus which interface directly with an object being grasped by apparatus of mechanical linking and control mechanisms operatively connected to the operator's fingers. Each mechanical finger has at least two finger links adjacent one another, each finger link independently rotatable about parallel axes in a plane of movement in response to movements of the corresponding phalanges of the operator's fingers. The mechanical prehensor is particularly useful in hostile or hazardous environments such as outer space, underwater, nuclear reactor sites or other hazardous environments, since the mechanical finger means are external to the operator's hand and may be constructed from suitable materials which are unreactive with the hostile environment, while the operator's hand and mechanical linking and control components may be sealed from the hazardous environment by means of a suitable protective shroud.
BACKGROUND ART

Manipulation means resembling crude pincers have been used in connection with diving suits for deep sea operations. The "Jim Suit", manufactured by UMEL of Farnborough, England, for example, has rudimentary external pincers for grasping which are mechanically actuated by hand movements, and it provides a gas-tight shroud around control mechanisms manipulable by the operator's hand. The pincers are claw-like, having two opposed finger means rotatable about a single axis in generally the same plane of movement. Mechanically actuated pincers of this type have some utility in grasping objects in hostile environments, but they achieve only a clamping-type grasp, and thus they provide limited external dexterity and manipulation.

Space suits developed for extra-vehicular activities in outer space typically have gloves for covering the hands of the space explorer. Due to pressurization inside the space suit and gloves, however, the gloves become very stiff during extra-vehicular activities, resulting in limited external dexterity and excessive hand fatigue.

Robotic manipulation devices having a plurality of finger means simulating human finger motions are currently being developed which may have some application in hostile environments. Robotic manipulation devices having multiple fingers capable of executing multiple degree of freedom movements are typically controlled electronically and require substantial amounts of energy for operation. While these types of robotic manipulation devices provide a high degree of external dexterity, the energy required for operation and the bulk of the control mechanisms render them impractical for use in many hostile environments.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a generally anthropomorphic prehensor having external finger means mechanically controllable by movements of the operator's fingers.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a generally anthropomorphic mechanical prehensor providing enhanced dexterity in hazardous environments which operates in response to movements of the operator's fingers and has no supplemental energy requirements.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a hand-powered mechanical prehensor which significantly reduces operator hand fatigue and increases operator safety and dexterity in hostile environments. It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a prehensor having at least two external mechanical finger means, each mechanical finger means capable of selectively executing multiple motions in a plane of motion, thus providing enhanced mechanical fingertip prehension and the ability to grasp and manipulate objects in a hostile environment. It is still another object of the present invention to provide a generally anthropomorphic prehensor having external finger means mechanically actuated by movements of the operator's fingers which provides smooth, accurate, sensitive mechanical finger control, and which is reliable and simple to operate.

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Selected stills from the above video clip.

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With the shroud completed the DLP was ready to place on the spacesuit for testing. But there was a problem. It turned out that not enough attention was given to the ability of extracting the fingers from the control rings for doffing the DLP, and it was never tested with a suit. The Challenger accident [1986] curtailed the project before this could be corrected.


Trivia: John W. Jameson is the same person who designed and built the amazing Walking Gyro!


See other early Underwater Robots here.


1997-2000 – “Exosuit” Development – R. T. “Phil” Nuytten (Canadian)

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The EXOSUIT mock-up by R. T. "Phil" Nuytten from 1999.

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Sylvia Earle with the Exosuit mock-up in 1999.

The Exosuit is Phil Nuytten's next generation Atmospheric Diving System following from his successful Newtsuit.

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Sport Diver Nov-Dec 2005

Dr. Phil and the Amazing Exosuit by Daryl Carson.
EXOSUIT
If you haven't heard of diving's Dr. Phil, here's a tip: He's nothing like the one you might find on weekday television. His genius is in solving mechanical difficulties, and he's applied that genius to building fantastic machines for sub-sea use. In a career spanning four decades, he's produced numerous underwater vehicles worthy of science fiction.
Most sport divers know Dr. Phil Nuytten as the face peering from the clear mask of the Newtsuit, a one-atmosphere, hard-shell diving suit that looks like a yellow Michelin Man. Some know him, too, as the creator of the DeepWorker micro-submersibles used by Sylvia Earle during the Sustainable Seas Expeditions begun in the late '90s. However, in 2000 the diving world got another big shot of Nuytten when Dr. Phil unveiled the Exosuit. Since then divers have been salivating over the possibilities created by this pressure suit capable of free-swimming to depths of 600 feet. Even more tantalizing has been talk of a model aimed at the recreational market and priced this side of six figures.
After more than five years of beta testing, a production model is incredibly close. I had the chance to speak with Dr. Phil recently, and he happily admits he's "running out of excuses" not to put the Exosuit on the market. (Work on the suit was slowed due to resources poured into the DeepWorker project. It seems they can't build the little subs fast enough.)
Three issues have been hampering production, and two of them have recently been overcome. One was the cost of making the joints that give the Exosuit its flexibility, but a new approach has greatly reduced that expense. Another was developing a five-fingered hand (not shown) instead of the simple claw found on the Newtsuit. Dr. Phil says he now has a fully mechanical device that works in concert with the human hand. It's sensitive enough to allow the user to pick up a pen and sign his name. The last hurdle is performing swimming trials, which, if all goes well, could take place as early as next spring.
"I'm hoping to recover a lot of our engineering costs on the first 50 to 75 units," says Dr. Phil, who points out that military and underwater construction applications will be the most prominent. "But eventually I'd like to get the cost down to that of a couple of Volkswagens."
EXOSUIT
Materials: Composite fiber hull with metal inserts
Manipulator: Simple claw manipulator or optional multi-fingered prehensor "hand" [edited]
Models: Free-swimming, self-contained and surface-supplied
Height: Variable 5'6" to 6'4"
Beam: 20" torso, 30" elbow to elbow (average)
Weight in Air: 120 lb. bare; 160 lb. with tanks and scrubber pack
Operating Depth: 300/600 feet
Payload: 200 lb.
Life Support: Dual external cylinders (02, diluent — gas that's mixed with 02 to make it safer to breathe); 48 man-hours


The Exosuit has taken longer to get to market than expected. These images are some 10 or more years since the initial development.

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The well-proven pincer-styled gripper. A new prehensor is offered as an option.

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This image, promoting the HUBLOT wristwatch, highlights the size of the hand cowling of the Exosuit.

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A later image still showing the 'swimmer' option still being promoted.

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Phil Nuytten has proposed a project called "Vent Base Alpha". "I have a plan for an underwater Mars-like colony. It will essentially be powered by the heat vents on the ocean floor and will house people to work on an undersea mining operation out of the heat vents. I´ve spent the last couple of years talking to people all around the world about this concept, and I´m ready to see it happen. I call it Vent Base Alpha."


See other early Underwater Robots here.


1979 – OMAS SPIDER Atmospheric Diving Suit – Graham Hawkes (British)

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1979 –  OMAS SPIDER Atmospheric Diving Suit.

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Underwater World – 1978, Volumes 1-2 – Page 43
A new atmospheric diving suit called OMAS has recently been developed by Vickers Slingsby, and two of these are already in use by the Aberdeen-based diving and underwater engineering company, Wharton-Williams. Nicknamed 'Spider' by Wharton-Williams, this is the fifth A.D.S. to have been developed, the others being Oceaneering's 'JIM' and 'Sam', and OSEL's 'Wasp' and 'Mantis'.
OMAS (alias 'Spider') is guilt of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) and operates to a depth of around 600m. Handling problems sink hopes of Lloyd's certification for Omas, the Vickers-Slingsby one-man diving submersible OMAS,


Plastics and Rubber International – 1979, Volumes 4-6 – Page 7
OMAS (One Man Atmosphere Submersible) is the latest underwater development from Vickers-Slingsby. Constructed from BP Chemicals Cellobond A2785 CV glass reinforced polyester resin (GRP), the 2.2 metre long OMAS is tethered during operations to a mother-ship via an umbilical cord through which power is supplied. OMAS is shaped like a rigid space suit.


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01/01/2001. Source: here.
The Spider, owned by Silvercrest Submarines, has emerged after many years of dormancy. The Spider, built in the 1970s, has unique features not in use on other suits, including hydraulically operated manipulators and vectored thrusters that allow some lateral movement. The Spider is rated to a water depth of 610 meters. Alan Whitfield of Silvercrest Submarines, current owner of the two working Spiders said "the units are presently in Hawaii, in support of a scientific research program. The water depth in the area is 1,500 ft. In November 2000, it is expected that both suits will move to a facility on the US mainland for a maintenance program. After that time, the two units will be available for charter." It remains to be seen if the Spider will effectively compete in the ADS industry.  

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Interior view showing the divers seat and some of the controls. A view of the divers depth gauges etc. Scrubber units can be seen in the base of the vehicle and the auto pilot can be seen near the diver's head position.

The SPIDER had hydraulically operated manipulators. An adjustable pressure relief valve permitted varying the grip pressure.

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One Man 1 Atmosphere Submersible, also known as OMAS SPIDER.

Source: here.

The Spider 'Atmospheric' Diving Suit was produced in the 1970s for exploration and maintenance work in the North Sea. The Spider had a depth rating of 2000 feet and was used in many deep operations mainly from drilling rigs. It had an eclectically insulated GRP body and a Plexiglas hemispherical dome. The diver could operate articulated arms with powered claws capable of various tasks. Six variable direction motors and thrusters provide propulsion . For static operations there are suction pads for gripping smooth surfaces.

Atmospheric Diving Suits normally work in pairs for safety reasons to help release the trapped vehicle should this occur. This also enables round the clock operations.
The Spider was easily moveable and could be deployed very quickly. Apart from work in the Petrochemical industry it could be used for salvage and rescue work. The diver in the vehicle breathes normal air so could work for long periods sometimes eight hours a day without costly saturation diving systems. It was used until 1982 when it was replaced by the Draeger-Newt suit suit, designed by Dr Phil Nuytten from Canada.

Technical specification:
Height:     2,2 Metres
Width:     1.5 Metres
Displacement:     1200kgs
Depth rating:     610 Metres
Propulsion:     6 x 1 hp motors
Umbilical:     12 Tonne breaking strain
TV System:     Low light/colour /real time recording
Emergency power:     24 V 8 Ah for emergency communications

The Spider was completely self contained with power packs and oxygen supply on board giving up to 72 hours of emergency life support systems.

Spider-x640 The SPIDER (Self-Propelled Inspection Submarines DivER) was developed in the 1970's, in answer to the WASP. The basic design was very similar to the WASP, in that it had segmented ball and socket arm joints, a hemispherical pressure vessel for the legs and a 360° viewing dome (Wharton, 1979). One of the SPIDER's unique features were the two hydraulically operated suction pads, 'sticky feet', located in the equipment package that were intended to allow the SPIDER to attach itself to any relatively smooth surface, that is if you can find one in the barnacle encrusted sea. Additionally, rather than the 'standard' mechanical advantage manipulators found on other atmospheric diving suits, the SPIDER had hydraulically operated manipulators. An adjustable pressure relief valve permitted varying the grip pressure. Like the WASP, the SPIDER also has variable ballast control. Two SPIDERs, owned by Silvercrest Submarines, are currently operating in Hawaii in support of a scientific research program.

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Stamp showing the SPIDER.


See other early Underwater Robots here.


1978 – WASP Atmospheric Diving Suit – Graham Hawkes (British)

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WASP – A mid-water unit using thrusters and a tubular lower body section rather than articulated legs.

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Wasp, built by OSEL, Offshore Submersibles Ltd., U.K. The Wasp may be regarded as the next development step in that it maneuvers by the use of four hull-mounted thrusters. Essentially it is a one-atmosphere, armoured diving suit without legs. The Wasp has a depth capability of 610 m and has been used for drilling support since 1978.

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Graham Hawkes inside a WASP suit.

See Wasp 1:24 into clip.

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The Manipulator/Limbs are aluminium construction, fully articulated, fluid-supported flexible arms with direct acting manipulators.

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Models of WASP.

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WASP – The WASP is a new-comer to the ADS Service line and essentially comprises a standard ADS upper body and vision dome system with tubular lower body. The unit is fitted with rotatable thrusters and "flys" in a manner similar to the most maneuverable of the current crop of small manned submersibles. The unit is fitted with the type 3 SAM arms and manipulators. Since WASP in not as widely known as "JIM", it may be appropriate to discuss the design and working concept in some detail.
The WASP unit nay be viewed as a hybrid between a very small submersible and the standard ADS articulated system. WASP is designed to work at depths up to 2,000 feet and receives power for its thrusters through a small diameter surface umbilical. A unique feature is the on-board battery system which acts as a buffer to allow spurts of full power that the umbilical would not be capable of supplying. In addition, the battery system acts as a safety device in that it provides for self-contained operation for nearly one hour, should the umbilical be severed. The umbilical can be detached from inside the WASP and the operator can surface using thruster power, or make a buoyant ascent by jettisoning ballast.
The WASP unit can alter buoyancy and altitude and is able to assume virtually any position by use of the rotating thruster. Since the operator has his arms occupied during work tasks, the unit is designed to be controlled by foot pedal motions similar to those used in driving a motor vehicle. WASP was designed by Graham Hawkes, an engineer who worked extensively with the JIM systems.

Note: The article was written by Phil Nuytten, co-founder of Oceaneering International. Nuytten later left Oceaneering and set up another company to build the HARDSUIT and EXOSUITs.

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Oceaneering's Wasp was originally designed by Graham Hawkes and built by Osel Ltd in the mid-1970s. Currently, there are seven Wasp 2As in service, and two under development, to be known as the WASP 3.


See other early Underwater Robots here.


1906 – Apparatus for Submarine Recovering Operations Patent – Becchi and Tarantini (Italian)

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1906 – Apparatus for Submarine Recovering Operations Patent by Becchi and Tarantini.

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Publication number US872888 A
Publication type Grant
Publication date Dec 3, 1907
Filing date Nov 15, 1906
Inventors Angelo Becchi, Giovanni Battista Tarantini
Original Assignee Angelo Becchi, Giovanni Battista Tarantini

APPARATUS FOR SUBMARINE RECOVERING OPERATIONS.

This invention has for its object to provide an apparatus for submarine recovering operations, for fishing of pearls, sponges, corals etc.

It consists of a submergible chamber movable forward and in every sense, as may be required for its operations. Said chamber is to be occupied by the operator and is internally furnished with all the necessary means for submarine inspections as well as for catching and holding the objects to be recovered or fished. These means are directed and managed by  the operator on the inside of the chamber, but they act partially on the objects that are outside of it.

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When the apparatus is to be employed for fishing sponges etc., the arm is substituted by another one shown in Figs. 8 and 9. This arm consists of two, three or four steel pipes telescoped into each other, the most internal one contains a bar of steel furnished at its end with a special shovel, that maybe changed according to the different kind of fishing that is to be done. Said arm is in constant communication with a pump by means of a flexible pipe 66 another pipe 65 serves to let the water out of the arm, after it has worked in it. A cock 70 will, according to its position, (1st) establish the communication between the water feeding pipe 66 and canal 57, or (2nd) connect pipe 66 with canal 56 and at the same time connect pipe 65 with canal 57 or else (3rd) close any connection between pipe 66 and the inside of the arm. When the water under pressure arrives through canal 57- it will push the pistons 59 68, with which the extremities of the telescoped steel pipes are provided and compel the pipes to slide out of each other, thus extending the arm forward, outside of the apparatus. When wishing to shorten this arm, the operator turns the cock 70 letting thus enter the water under pressure into canal 56, it will then flow through pipe 60 into the space 71 into canal 58 and from this pass through the hole 61 into the space 72. In the spaces 71 and 72 the water under pressure acting on. the opposed face of the pistons 59 and 68 will push them back and the water that is on the other side of the pistons will run from cylinder 67, and pipes 65 the connection with said pipe, being controlled by the position of the cock 70. By means of this movement that extends or shortens this arm, it will be easy to pluck off, wrest and detach the various objects, as sponges, coral etc., to be fished and it will be easy also to bring the operating point of the arm to the place and point required.

Having now particularly described the 2. An apparatus for submarine recovering and fishing operations consisting of an outer casing of an ovoidal form, provided with a: ………

5. In a device of the class described, a shell, derrick arms extending outwardly from the shell, a receptacle suspended from the derrick arms, means within the shell for operating the derrick arms, means to introduce material into the receptacle, and means to move the shell.  

6. In a device of the class described, a shell, derrick arms extending outwardly from the shell, a receptacle supported by the derrick arms, means within the shell for manipulating the derrick arms, and means operable from within the shell for introducing material into the receptacle.

7. In a device of the class described, a shell, derrick arms extending outwardly from the shell, a receptacle suspended from the derrick arms, a telescoping arm extending outwardly from the shell above the receptacle, means to move the sections of the telescoping arm's

8. In a device of the class described, a shell, derrick arms extending outwardly from the shell, a receptacle suspended from the derrick arms, a telescoping arm extending outwardly from the shell of the receptacle, means to move the sections of the telescoping arm longitudinally, and means within the shell for moving the telescoping arm angularly upon the receptacle.


See other early Underwater Robots here.