Tag Archives: robots


Wacky Wednesday-Weird Early Robots

Where would the world be without Wall-E, R2-D2 or Rosie from The Jetsons? We’d be without those happy, helpful, futuristic companions of the future. But before KITT could save Hasselhoff again, we had some real robotic accomplices. Here is a list of our top 5 favorite robots and AI in the real world.

5. David Silver’s (at MIT) Silver Arm-1974

silver arm

The Silver Arm was used for small-parts assembly. Instead of using its powerful crushing capabilities that could destroy the microscopic mechanics, Silver Arm sensed feedback from delicate pressure and touch sensors. The arm corresponded human finger movements.

4. Marvin Minsky developed the Tentacle Arm-1968

tentacle arm

You’ve heard of the octopus, you’ve heard of the arm, combine them together for Minsky’s Tentacle Arm. The Arm had 12 joints to give it tentacle-like movements. A hydraulic fluid-powered PDP-6 computer controlled the Arm, and if you mounted it on a wall, it could lift a person.

3. MIT’s Automatically Programmed Tools project-1959


The Automatically Program Tools project was an early form of AI; it was a language used to instruct milling machine operations how to work. In a demonstration, the program built an ashtray for every attendee, just to show off how it good it was.

2. Rancho Arm-1963

rancho arm

The Rancho Arm was designed in Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, Calif. The arm was as flexible as a human arm, thanks to its six joints. It is held as one of the first robotic arms to be controlled by a computer at Stanford.

1. Texas Instruments’ Speak & Spell-1978

speak n spel

Do you know how to speak? Do you know how to spell? If so, you probably have the Speak & Spell to thank. But besides being responsible for teaching many kids how to spell, the TI Speak & Spell was also the first electronic duplication of human voice tract on a single silicon chip. Pretty high tech for something used to spell out swear words by teenagers. f