Posts Tagged ‘Swedish’

1870 – Artificial Man – Orin Vasta (Swedish)


Source: The Daily Telegraph Harrisburg, PA.29 Dec 1870
A NEW ADAM IN SWEDEN. Curious Story from a Swedish Paper—
How a Man was Made—What a New Being Thought and Felt—How He Acquired Ideas, etc., etc., etc.
The New York World says: A Swedish paper makes the seemingly preposterous assertion that a scientific gentleman of Stockholm has succeeded in fabricating a man—not a "steam man," nor a man who goes by clock-work or springs, but a veritable man—whose flesh is such as is common to the genus homo, whose bones are filled with true marrow; who, if he does not think, talks as if he did; whose hair and nails grow; who breathes, lives, moves, and has his being, and in all particulars is such as he would have been had he been turned out in nature's workshop, and not in that of Orin Vasta. To be sure there are necessarily minor points of difference between this product of assisted nature and the ordinary products of unassisted nature. The being—for it is hardly right to call him a man, after all—has, of course, no recollections of childhood, or even of his brother, "the insensible rock and sluggish clod," with whom, twenty years ago, he was intimately acquainted. He has no past extending further back than three years, and as little understands the process of his fabrication as does the new-born child, and he came into conscious existence in a second, or even less, by a period corresponding with the rate at which the nerve force travels. He was born a full man, with a brain pan as capable of producing mature thought when material for thinking was supplied, as is an ordinary man of 25 years of age It took him only six months to learn to speak the Swedish language with tolerable ease, and then he was able to tell the impression made upon him by his existence, so accurate was his memory. By no means would we vouch for the truth of all this, but the story is good enough to be repeated.
The way in which the monster was constructed is peculiar. Frankenstein was absolutely nothing compared with him. He was not made of wood and iron, but of various pieces of dead human bodies, carefully selected, preserved, prepared and adjusted in such a way that after the head was put on the shoulders, and the two pieces of spinal column joined at the neck, in an instant the nervous machinery acted, the heart palpitated, the lungs inhaled and exhaled air, the eyes opened, color came into the hitherto livid face, and all the processes of life began; the theory of this being that, as no two bodies are ever in actual contact, the molecules of man's body are not. Vital processes do not, therefore, need actual contact of particles in which they appear, there is, therefore, no necessary interrelation between them, and if by compression they can be forced to within the same distances from each other which they have in life, life must ensue when, by connecting the spinal column with the brain, transmission of nerve force becomes possible.
Hereditary transmission of mental and physical qualities is impossible in a being thus constructed; for, as there is no germ, so there is no development of it; the being is but a composition of what is commonly called "dead matter." To all intents and purposes such a being is the primitive man of whom the world has heard so much, and therefore is fine material for psychological study.
After twenty years passed in hitherto fruitless experiments, it may be believed that Orin Vasta was excited when, all things prepared for the calling into being of a monster, he proceeded with the experimentum crucis of joining the brain and the spinal marrow. To say that he was appalled by what he instantly saw is not to say an incredible thing, and, in very fright he fell to the floor, whereupon the newly created being did the same thing; but, when Orin arose, his creature lay still, for the very simple reason that it is very easy to fall but not to rise again till one has found out how to do so. But the fabricator helped his newly made friend to rise, and seated him in a chair. Whereupon all sorts of emotions were expressed in the man's face at what must have seemed to him a strange doubling and cracking of himself, but in reality, as he afterwards explained, he had no such thoughts at all, but was merely a curious machine in which emotions were expressed in the face because of reflex action of the nervous system. This is a curious point, for during all the time which intervened between his creation and the development of speech in him he says he neither felt joy nor sorrow, pain nor satisfaction, although be would often be seen to weep and laugh and express all emotions and passions as a human being expresses them. If struck he would cry out and pucker up his face as an infant does, but has afterwards remembered how he felt at such moments, and could relate his thoughts; of course his experience is valuable, where a child's cannot be obtained since the first two or three years of man's ordinary life are utterly forgotten and lost. This singular being said that when he was struck he knew it merely because he saw it and experienced a new sensation in his head, and which he did not refer to the place smitten.
He had no desire to pucker up his face and cry, nor did he know that he did so till another different sensation which he felt in his ears seemed to set his head all in a whirl, one sensation begetting another until at last he thought that his head was all there was—that the room and his fabricator were all in it, and acting there as one. In other words, he was a sort of idealist, getting the universe under his own hat. Could he have expressed himself in philosophical language lie would not have said with Hume, that ideas and impressions were all that existed, but with some Germans, that ideas are all. But, to do him justice, he did not remain long in this condition of mind, for when his fabricator made him walk he obtained an idea of locality, and consequently of something that was not he, thereby making a great stride. But yet a more singular phenomenon than even these was noticed and afterwards interpreted by him. When he began to think he was conscious of an entirely new cerebral sensation, of disintegration of some fine substance within his head; he knew that this disintegration occasioned his thought and not vice versa. On this principle he afterward explained the well-known fact that in mental science, called the association of ideas, since mechanical action among molecules cannot but result in other and connected motions, and hence, if their product be ideas, these must always seem and actually be connected, while on no hypothesis except this is that remarkable fact explicable.
As time went on and the man had become gradually separated from his notion that he was all that existed, a feeling of awe and reverence sprung up within him for Vasta, whom naturally enough he called his master, and whom he considered a superior being, inasmuch as he felt himself in his power. He would pray that he might see his face always, for he loved him. To try an experiment Vasta withheld food from his creature for a day, and when asked for it took it from his pocket and bestowed it upon the poor fellow, who thenceforth for some time begged him night and morning not to withhold food from him. Afterward Vasta discovered that the man had formulated a prayer in which he, Vasta, was called the "Bread giver," and, merely from philanthropic motives, he dispelled this illusion, as he knew that its inevitable result would be to make the man very lazy. At first he had no idea of size, solidity, perspective or the ordinary properties of matter; but, when taught geometry, made most rapid progress, and when told one day that a straight line was the shortest distance between two points, astonished his master by saying: "No; a line is not distance at all ; a straight line is the shortest line between two points." He looked at all things in the most matter-of-fact way, but accounted for them in the most whimsical. There was, according to him, a "goodness" that made things good, an "evil principle" that made them bad, a "beauty" that made them beautiful, an "intellect" that made his master wise, and a "chairness" or "boxness" that made things chairs and boxes.
But as he became more conversant with nature these opinions faded away. Taken from his room into the streets of Stockholm, he saw men like Vasta, he saw houses and strange animals, and these set him to thinking, but when he went into the woods and fields and saw how plants and animals grew and the conditions of their existence, his views changed entirely. Vasta was no longer a god, but a man like himself. It was in the woods that the manner in which he was brought into conscious life was explained to him; how he was like other men in that every particle of his body was at first taken from his ancestors—if the dead bodies from which he was made can be called by so sacred a name—but that he differed from others merely in the fact that he was the result of a great scientific experiment, and had been produced merely for scientific purposes. "You see," said Vasta, "evidence of design in every part of the body; see how particular I was to put your eyes in your head instead of in your heels." "But why,"
was he answer, "did you not place them on long flexible protuberances in my forehead, so that I might have seen
in all directions without changing my position?" "Ah," said the old man, smiling benevolently; "had I done so how could you have worn a hat? In other words, how could you have been a social being ? Socially, it is as necessary to wear a hat as to have a moral nature." "But why not give me more hands with which better to earn a living and pursue science, to which I devote my life?"
Again the old man smiled. "Political economy would not stand it—it would have taken all your earnings to supply yourself with gloves, and thereby the mass of men would suffer, for nature has so arranged matters that in the universe there can be at any given time only gloves enough to supply the actual and ordinary number of hands." And so at every turn was this strange being taught by the philosopher who had only skill enough to make him, and in the end to leave him to shift for himself.

See the timeline on Cyborgs and Bionics here.

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1978 – ORCA I ROV – Saab-Scania (Swedish)


orca-1 saab--x640

(Oceaneering Remote-Controlled Arms)
DEPTH: 2,300'
DIMENSIONS (LxWxH): 11.5' x 6.6' x 6.6'
WEIGHT: 6,000 lbs
SPEED: (Max Surface) NA
(Max Current) NA
STRUCTURE: Rectangular, open metal framework encloses and supports all components. Syntactic foam blocks mounted on top of frame.
PROPULSION: Seven 6KW hydraulic thrusters provide maneuvering in all translational and rotational directions.
INSTRUMENTATION: Two CCTV: one fixed camera with wide-angle lens, one p&t mounted with zoom lens, four mercury vapor lights, two halogen lights, stereo still cameras. Three manipulators: one master-slave force feedback unit (GE Arms) with lift capacity of 65-100 lbs, grip force of 247 lbs, reach of 5'6"; two grabber manipulators capable of lifting 175 lb at full reach (6'3"); tool rack, echo sounder, two directional hydrophones, transponder, gyro, depth_meter.
POWER REQ: 440VAC, 60Hz; 380V, 50Hz.
SHIPBOARD COMPONENTS: Control console and computer, transformer, launch/ retrieval system.
SUPPORT VESSEL REQ: Deck space: 538 to 861 sq ft.
TOTAL SHIPPING WEIGHT: 12 tons plus launch/retrieval device BUILDER: Saab-Scania, Aerospace Division, Linkoping, Sweden

General Electric's Diver Equivalent Manipulator System (DEMS) was employed on a tethered unmanned submersible called Oceaneering Remote Controlled Arms (ORCA), and on a Oceaneering's Ocean-ARMS. See here for more information on the G.E. DEMS.

See other early Underwater Robots here.

1997/2002 – Electrolux Trilobite Robotic Vacuum Cleaner – Anders Haegermarck, Lars Kilstrom, Bjorn Riise (Swedish)

Product Description (of Version 2.0)

Imagine pushing a button, walking away, and having clean floors an hour later. That futuristic scenario is now here with the Trilobite, the hands-free, "intelligent" robotic vacuum first introduced in Europe by Electrolux. While it isn't the first robotic home vacuum, the Trilobite is a major leap in home robotic technology–one that is reflected in its price. Where other small, round semi-autonomous vacuums are essentially "dumb" robots that randomly move about a room, the Trilobite uses a type of radar that maps a room and then plots a course based on previous cleaning travels.

Evolution in Revolution

The name comes from the hard-shelled sea creature from the Paleozoic era (betwen 250 to 560 million years ago) that roamed the ocean floor during, feeding on particles and small animals. Sound familiar? Today's Trilobite has been in the works since 1997, when its prototype was introduced on the BBC technology program, Tomorrow's World, and it has been perfected at Electrolux's development facilities in Sweden.

The round, red Trilobite uses ultrasound technology to see obstacles and avoid them. Much like a bat, which emits a high-pitched sound to create a personal sonar reading of its landscape, the Trilobite pings 60,000 Hz ultrasound vibrations at surfaces to create a map of the room and remember it for future assignments. This computer processing power is what raises the Trilobite's profile over the competition, whose vacuuming robots can only react to a situation (such as bumping into something) and cannot store data into memory.

The Trilobite in Action

Start the Trilobite by pressing the power button and answering yes to the question, "Start cleaning?" that appears on its LCD screen. The Trilobite then moves to the nearest wall, following along the edges of the room to create an inner picture of the room. This wall phase (the Normal mode of operation) forms the basis for calculation of the time required for cleaning of the open spaces that follows. The sonar detects any obstacles–blocks left on the floor, chair legs, a dog's water bowl–and a new path is quickly calculated. Transition between hard floors and carpet takes place effortlessly.

The Trilobite also offers two other operation modes. The Quick mode, which is good for a small room or last-minute tidying before the in-laws arrive, skips the wall measurement and moves about the room randomly for around 20 minutes. If you've just dumped a bag of flour on the floor or the kids have tracked an inordinate amount of dirt in from the backyard, the Spot mode can concentrate on an area about 3 feet (1 meter) square, covering every part in a maze-like pattern. You can also choose to clean via a timer for up to 60 minutes.

An infrared sensor detects changes in elevation of four inches and greater to help it avoid falling down stairs. It also comes with special magnetic strips that can be placed in doorways, other openings, or elevation changes less than 4 inches to provide boundaries. The Trilobite can analyze and solve problems it encounters. For instance, if the unit vacuums up a sock left on the floor which stalls the brushroll, the unit will stop, reverse its brushroll to expel the obstruction and then continue with its task once the brusroll is once again operating freely.

It carries two nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH) batteries on board, switching to the second as the first runs low on energy. As the second battery's power dips below the 50% point, the unit will cease vacuuming, return to its docking station, charge for about two hours, and return to the point where it ceased vacuuming to complete the task. The recharging dock fits along the base of any wall within 6 feet of a power outlet.

The Limits of Technology
While it is designed to access some tight spots in your home–especially areas that are hard to reach, like under the bed–the Trilobite obviously will not fit into spaces smaller than its diameter. You'll need a DustBuster or the shockingly analog-style broom to clean these spaces as well as corners. Occasionally, the Trilobite will miss a calculation and bump into furniture or an object left in the middle of the floor. But it has a suspension bumper that cushions the impact, and at a maximum speed of 1.3 feet (0.4 meters) per second, any unexpected collision will be light. It's about as loud as a normal vacuum, so it's best used when you're out of the house–just as it's designed to be used. Also note that the Trilobite works with only dry detritus–it's not a wet vac.

 –Agen G.N. Schmitz

[Source: Amazon]

Patent info:

Publication number US5781960 A
Publication date Jul 21, 1998
Filing date Apr 9, 1997

Inventors: Anders Haegermarck, Lars Kilstrom, Bjorn Riise


US5940927 and US5023444

See other early remote-controlled and robotic vacuum cleaners and floor scrubbers here.


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1928 – Meccano Walking Tractor – A. L. Spilhaus (Sth African) and C. Lee (British)

1925 Nilsson Walking Tractor

It is not always possible to use vehicles with wheels, especially when the ground is heavy and the surface uneven. The problem of overcoming the difficulty has long occupied the attention of inventors, and a new type of transmission was evolved when caterpillar action was used for the tanks during the War. One of the latest inventions in this connection is that of Mr. Nilsson, of Stockholm, whose novel "walking tractor" has recently been tested by the Swedish Government.
  This tractor moves forward, and hauls or carries a load, without the use of driving wheels or caterpillar action.
It uses levers or legs to retain a fixed grip on the ground, and is driven by a motor, mounted midway between the legs and a pair of wheels, which run free.
Power is transmitted through gearing to produce a movement of the legs, and this movement is almost identical with that of the legs of a horse, when the animal is hauling a load. The addition of a heavier load to the tractor causes the legs to take an increased grip on the ground. It is only necessary, therefore, to provide the tractor with suitable shoes, which vary according to the nature of the ground on which the vehicle is working.
  The legs are directly-geared members without cams, springs, or chains, and their movement is so timed that both legs are always planted on the ground before a leg is raised.
When a leg is lifted, the movement is speeded up and then is greatly decreased, until the leg reaches the ground again, at which point the speed is the same as at the beginning of the step. Thus the action does not force the shoe into the ground, as it might do if it came down with full force in places where the ground is soft.
  The method by which the tractor is steered is interesting. The gearing from the motor is connected to the legs in such a way that, when it is so desired, one leg moves forward more swiftly than the other. This movement is under control of the driver, so that the tractor will move forward in any desired curve. Apart from this, the tractor may be steered by the front wheels.
 It is anticipated that the tractor will be particularly useful for agricultural work, for it may be used for hauling ploughs and harrows over rough land, and used also for other farm duties.

Source: Meccano Magazine January 1925

1928 Meccano model of Nilsson's Walking Tractor.

Above model built by Brian Elvidge of the South East London Meccano Club.

Trivia: The above 1928 Meccano Magazine article was co-authored by [the now late] A. F. Spilhaus, who is famous for his Mechanical Toy collection of over 3000 pieces and book.

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1957 – Walking Pram – (Swedish)

Metal feet on Swedish carriage enables it to "walk" up or down stairs. The rocking rhythm on flat surface puts baby to sleep.

Source: Mechanics Illustrated May 1957.

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