Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on April 3, 1969 · Page 47
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 47

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Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Thursday, April 3, 1969
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Page 47
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L'JC New York Times Service SCHENECTADY — Ralph S. Mosher, a lanky, white- haired engineer who for nearly 15 years has been devising sets of electro-hydraulic "muscles" that would make supermen of ordinary workers, showed off a principal result of his labors yesterday. The device, a 3,000-pound, 11-foot-high walking machine that lumbers along on four legs at 5 miles an hour, lifts 500-pound loads with ease and kicks aside 175 pound wooden beams as if they were matchsticks, in effect multiplies the strength of a man's arms and legs. In function, it is possibly the nearest thing to a classic science-fiction robot yet devised, except that its metal limbs are coupled directly to the brain and senses of a man sitting inside, rather than to a computerized brain and artificial senses. The machine automatically mimics the movements of the man's arms and legs and the man "feels" the machine's movements just as if he himself were walking. The first public demonstration of the machine took place at the Schenectady plant of the General Electric plant of the General Electric Co. which developed the device under a $1 million contract it entered into with the Army three years ago. Mosher, who is a GE em- ploye, climbed into a seat inside the walking machine, which distantly resembles a mechanical elephant. His feet were fastened to pedals that would activate the machine's hind legs, while he would move two levers to manipulate the front legs. "I guess we can fire it up," Mosher said, and hydraulic oil began flowing into the machine's limbs from a nearby tank, building up quickly to a pressure of 3,000 pounds per square inch. The clanking, squeaking Mosher-machine combination then walked across the floor; balanced on two legs; partially climbed a pile of 175-pound timbers and posed, like a circus elephant, with one forefoot in the air; dismantled the pile of timbers with a few flicks of its foot; playfully kicked some grains of a reddish sand that covered the floor at a photographer; and floor at a photographer; and balanced with its front feet on a timber. Although yesterday's demonstration did not show it, GE officials said that during tests Powerful robot multiplies strength of human operator 26 The Arizona Republic Phoenix, Thors., April 3,1969 the walking machine lifted a small military vehicle out of a mudhole, hoisted a 500- pound load onto a truck with one foot, and skidded a 1,000-pound load across the ground. "Three years ago there was a question as to whether a man could balance the machine," Mosher told newsmen, adding that some studies had concluded flatly that it couldn't be done. "Our purpose was to show feasibility," he said. "We've done that." The walking device is one form of what Mosher calls the "cybernetic Anthropomorphous Machine," or CAM for short. Their potential uses, officials of both the Army and General Electric said, include the handling of heavy materials in industry; under- water and space exploration; and cross-country transportation. Other forms of CAMs include an "exoskeleton," or framework of mechanical muscles that an upright man "wears." Mosher said that the development of a prototype is about three-quarters complete. The Army is interested in the walking machine as a means of speeding up the flow of heavy materials and supplies across irregular terrain, said Ronald A. Loston, chief of land locomotion studies for the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command in Warren, Mich. Liston and Mosher are working together on the machine. As described by Mosher, the walking machine works this way: The man's feet are connected to the rear legs, and his hands to the front legs, by mechnical-hydraulic means. When, for example, he moves his own leg, the flow of hydraulic oil in the mechnical leg is altered. The change in quantity and pressure of the oil makes the machine's lag move, and the flow of oil is channeled so that the mechanical leg moves in whatever direction the man's leg is moved. The crucial feature of the system is a phenomenon known as "forced feedback." When the machine's foot strikes the ground or hits some obstacle, the man instantly feels it and he can re- spond in the same manner as he would if he were walking himself. The forced sensation is fed back to the man through an arrangement of electrical sensing circuits and motors. About 15 hours of training are required before the average man can operate the machine without thinking about it, Mosher said, adding that it is no more difficult than learning how to ride a bicycle. The walking machine has not yet been tested outdoors, and Mosher said this is the next step. Hydraulic oil is now supplied to the machine through a tube from external tanks, but in the future the machine is to carry its own oil tanks and hydraulic pump. A towering novel of teve and conflict Try a Republic want ad SEW FABRICS FROM SINGER AND SAVE! Now $Q44 M Now Fancy Fling Coordinates. Lightweight and self-lined In interesting combinations for Easter. 92% textured acetate, 8% nylon with 100% acetate tricot backing. 54" wide. Reg. $3.98 yd. Singer* Twist Coordinates. Wool look checks and solids to coordinate. Various fiber contents. 54" wide. Reg. $2.98 yd. Sport Set Gabardine. Now Smart diagonal weave for casual $*f 44 clothes. 50% Kodel polyester, 50% 17 AVRIL rayon. 45" wide. 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Top: sleeveless pin dot with ruffled flounce at hem; navy and white, brown and white. Sizes 8-16. Center: two-tone dots in brown or navy on white, showing big, big crystal pleated sleeves. Sizes 8-18. Bottom: ruffles cascade round the collar, down the bodice, and flatter the cuff line. Black, grey, melon. Sizes 8-16. Each 19.95 in Budget Dresses. TAKE A FASHION BREAK. Informal noon luncheon fashion showings in our restaurants. Monday, Wednesday, Friday at Park Central. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at Thomas Mall. SHOP DIAMOND'S PARK CENTRAL -.THOMAS MALI MON. THURS. FRI. 9^30/TUES. WED. SAT. '9:30-6. GREEN STAMPS, TOO!

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