large, 3,000 lb, crane-sized hydraulic
vehicle created first for military and then
Obviously made for heavy or difficult
rather than quick tasks, the strong and
well-balanced behemoth could do the job,
but packed only a four mile per hour top
The Walking Truck had a computer
brain that assisted the manipulation of its
legs, which were ultimately directed by its
driver’s hands and feet. Developed by Ralph
Moser for GE in 1969, this metal
workhorse’s leg technologies achieved
coordination that approached that of living
four legged creatures for the first time.
Weighing more than the average car of
the day and being a room-full in size, the
Hardiman was intended to lift 250 lbs while
putting only 10 lbs of resistance onto the
individual wearing it. This contraption was
never fully operational and no one risked
their life by attempting to wear or use it.
Fueling it was also an obstacle that couldn’t
Hughes Aircraft Mobots
In 1969, Hughes Aircraft created the
Mobots or mobile robots — remote
controlled machines for tasks that fell outside the realm of reasonable expectations placed on human
beings. This included jobs in unbearable environments or
for which people were not capable of. The workload of
the Mobots included chemical testing, construction, and
interacting with nuclear reactors.
Two books from Safford are presented
here for your location and edification. The
Complete Handbook of Robotics, ISBN 0-
8306-9872-8 (hard copy) and 0-8306-1071-5
(paperback), published by TAB, Novembers
1978. Handbook of Advanced Robotics,
ISBN 0-8306-2521-6 (hard copy) and 0-8306-
1421-4 (paperback), also from TAB,
published in 1982.
In addition to Safford’s Complete
Handbook, The Robot Book (Robert Malone) contains three
large, clear images of the Hardiman, Mobots, and the
Walking Truck. SV
The Hardiman Suit — Tetsujin, anyone?
The Hardiman Suit
Earlier in 1965, GE built the first nearly working (though
impractical) exoskeleton. Unlike cyborgs where the robot is built
into the human being, the exoskeleton is a removable or
wearable outer robot. This robot was the Hardiman 1.
FINDING OLD ROBOTS
In addition to the links below, I have devised a plan for
finding old robots. Once you locate the name of the publisher
of old robotics books, look them up. They generally have
someone in charge of keeping track of where their authors —
past and present — are today. If you’re lucky, they’ll let you
pass messages and requests to the author, who is often also
the builder of many of these esteemed, historic robots.
Circle #26 on the Reader Service Card.
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