Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"We follow the scientists around and look over their shoulders."
- Larry Niven

Mechanical Men  
  Remote controlled robots used to perform dangerous work.  

Very early description of this idea; the user viewed the work through the "electric eyes" of the robot.

One day I was running a test on the polonium that flowed into the repulsion tubes to determine its quality. Ron, a classmate, approached me. “William will you take my place for a while at the ‘auto’ controls. I have to see Professor Luch personally for a few moments.”

“All right, Ron.”

“Thanks, a lot.” I went to the control room where the three other men were manipulating their mechanical men, doing various duties that could not be done very efficiently by automatic levers and relays. I sat before the mirror that represented the electric eye of the robot, and by various levers moved “No. 7” to take a look at the temperature of the electric furnace for repulsion tube No. 3. Everything was functioning perfectly. I continued to do routine work relative to the operation of the repulsion tube...

As my robot straightened up from depositing some huge balance weights on the floor, I saw with horror that a polonium tube leading to the great discharger had snapped, pouring the precious Martian metal on the floor. Immediately, the dial on the wall above me showed that the great disk had already taken on a list, and was beginning to descend slightly. “Increase your voltage and polonium flow, men, I’m shutting my discharger off. Polonium tube snapped !”

Knowing full well that the other repulsors could not stand the added strain indefinitely, I set No. 7 to work swiftly to close off the voltage and metal flow, and replace the broken tube. Conversation ceased; the others turning grim faces to their work, and working rapidly and surely. The list was corrected but still the disk continued to descend. With my heart pounding in my ears, it seemed an eternity to cut out the tube. Yet, it was delicate work and had to be done with extreme care. Even in this crucial moment I marveled at the delicacy with which the automaton handled the tube under my control. I watched metal hands carefully place the tube in its section. As soon as it was safe, the polonium began to flow again, and the discharger was turned on. Slowly, the instruments indicated that the descent of the disk was checked, and that it began to assume a normal elevation again after having fallen a thousand feet.

From The Ancient Brain, by A.G. Stangland.
Published by Science Wonder Stories in 1929
Additional resources -

Compare to the waldo from Waldo (1940) by Robert Heinlein. It is of particular interest to note that Heinlein's idea was the impetus for the development of similar devices used in the nuclear power industry - they were even called "waldoes".

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Ancient Brain
  More Ideas and Technology by A.G. Stangland
  Tech news articles related to The Ancient Brain
  Tech news articles related to works by A.G. Stangland

Articles related to Robotics
M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
Digit V2 Bipedal Robot From Agility Robotics
Hail SmartCan! Your Trash Bin Takes Itself Out
Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Chinese Steal American Seeds From Our Fields
'The Iszic maintain a jealously guarded monopoly...'

Rise Of Skywalker Could Trigger Epileptic Seizures
'... then the screen started to flicker. I stared at it for a while.'

Singing Ringing Tree Wind-Powered Sculpture
'It was like no music Dirk had ever heard, It was eerie and wild...'

Extremophile Microbe Loves Space Rocks
'... designed for rooting in the metal make-up of the asteroids for vital elements.'

Magic Mushroom Nose Spray From Silo Wellness
'I don't need help... that's not my diagnosis!'

CAV-X Supercavitating Ammo Deadly Underwater
'...in the midst of this fluid, which is very dense compared with the atmosphere, shots could not go far.'

Space Domes Over-rated? Science Fiction Authors Have Answers
'This was to be roofed over, sealed, and an atmosphere provided...'

Injectable Magnetic Fluid Slows Bleeding, Aids Magneto
'There's something different about you.'

Autonomous Wheelchairs Improve Airport Mobility
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles...'

HVSD, Kitty Hawk's Electric Plane
Very quiet commuter plane offers VTOL service.

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.