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Old 4th Apr 2021, 8:19 pm   #1
dryjoint
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Default The Robots are coming!

Hi Y'all,
I found this within the pages of a 1953 Eagle Annual (number 2 for those interested in such things) in a piece called Robots on the March. I realise that it was in a boys' annual from the 1950s and might just be a bit far-fetched, but does anyone know anything about what is described as a "tradiitional form of robot"? Did it really exist? Was it some advertising gimmick or was it all nonsense intended to fire-up the imagination of post-war schoolboys (and me)? I suspect the latter somehow, but I am intrigued just a little bit by it!
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Old 4th Apr 2021, 8:31 pm   #2
Electronpusher0
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

I think that a "traditional form of robot" means humanoid as opposed to task oriented robots as used in assembly plants.

Of course how much like a human does it have to be to qualify? Compare Robby from Lost in Space to ASIMO.

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Old 4th Apr 2021, 8:35 pm   #3
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Anything like this?
https://historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=3129
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Old 4th Apr 2021, 8:48 pm   #4
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Hi Nuvistor,
I think I'm more impressed with Elektro the robot's role as "Thinko" in the film in which he appeared than the robot itself. His dog companion could have been an early inspiration for K9 in Doctor Who.
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Old 4th Apr 2021, 9:19 pm   #5
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

The humanoid robot ("Maschinenmensch" in German) goes back at least as far as Fritz Lang's 1927 film Metropolis. The word "robot" derives from the Czech word for "worker" as in Karel Capek's 1921 play "Rossum's Universal Robots" but the robots in it were made from flesh and blood rather than metal.
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Old 4th Apr 2021, 10:36 pm   #6
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

It seems that the drawing from the Eagle depicts one built by Bassett-Lowke. The accompanying photo of it is from the book "The Bassett-Lowke Story" by Roland Fuller, in an album section of photos from the BL archives. Unfortunately the only information in the book about the robot is what is in the caption, which just says "Bassett-Lowke's famous pre-war exhibition robot". The only thing in the photo that might give an idea of its size are the ropes attached to the post next to the robot's right foot.
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 7:18 am   #7
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

I think Mullard used a robot called "Alpha" in some of its publicity.

http://cyberneticzoo.com/robots/1932...y-may-english/

Peter

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Old 5th Apr 2021, 7:52 am   #8
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Was Elektro the one that could 'understand' speech and give a suitable reply? There was a documentary about this kind of thing on TV a few years ago and it was fascinating. One of the surviving developers of Elektro explained that of course the robot didn't understand speech at all, but there was no human intervention in the process.
Apparently Elektro contained a basic sound detector which could count the syllables in a question and select a pre-recorded response. This meant that the questioners had to read out the supplied question exactly as written in a clear and deliberate fashion. It seemed to work.
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 8:22 am   #9
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

just in topic, 1920's bus ticket machines were known as 'robot conductors'
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 9:44 am   #10
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Quote:
The humanoid robot ("Maschinenmensch" in German) goes back at least as far as Fritz Lang's 1927
I would say a little futher...

The modern meaning of the word "robot" (from a Czech word for forced labourer) seems to start around 1920, to describe humanoid automata.

So that takes us back to maybe humanoid automata of the 16th century (which were amazing)?

Or even back a couple of thousand years to the earliest attempts at automata?
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 10:15 am   #11
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

The first common robot must surely be the ATM.
There were a few that had no CRT in them. The display was instructions printed on a belt behind a clear panel.
I tried to find a photo on line and found photos of broken walls and abandoned back-hoe machines instead.
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 12:13 pm   #12
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

In South Africa traffic lights are called robots. I don't know how far back that goes though.
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 12:46 pm   #13
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

A robot is normally termed as resembling a human being and able to replicate some human movements , however Robot as a term is used for machines doing auto insertion/specific jobs ie. manufacturing ,
The first Robots to be used in an industrial setting first appeared in about 1961.
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 1:00 pm   #14
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Station X View Post
In South Africa traffic lights are called robots. I don't know how far back that goes though.
They were certainly called Robots when I first went to Port Elizabeth in 1987 to put in their Urban Traffic Control system.

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Old 5th Apr 2021, 1:02 pm   #15
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Interesting that no mention is made in the articles found in the links to Bassett-Lowke's involvement. While better known for their model railways, BL were precision engineers that had a considerable business in making fully working museum-quality scale models of things like industrial plant and would have had the skill and expertise to construct the complex electrical and mechanical apparatus that the robot required.
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 1:17 pm   #16
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

It is strange. Bassett-Lowke has an advert in Practical Mechanics but the article about the robot doesn't mention him although I think the inventor photo is him.

Peter

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Old 5th Apr 2021, 3:10 pm   #17
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

The Basset-Lowke robot in the photo of post number 6 looks to have a microphone in its right hand (and its body language suggests it could start singing any moment). Ah, one in each hand... stereo?

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Old 5th Apr 2021, 3:19 pm   #18
peter_scott
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Is the photo in post #6 not the same scene as of "Alpha" the Mullard robot holding a valve in each hand?

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Old 5th Apr 2021, 5:47 pm   #19
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Quote:
Originally Posted by electronicskip View Post
A robot is normally termed as resembling a human being and able to replicate some human movements...
Isn't that the definition of an android rather than a robot?
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Old 5th Apr 2021, 6:46 pm   #20
dryjoint
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Default Re: The Robots are coming!

Hi emeritus, The Bassett-Lowke robot must be the same one as the one in the Eagle book. I'm quite surprised that it existed really. If it really weighed 3 tons as the Eagle says it must have been quite a monster!
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