Category: robotics

Regular

“PLANS TO DISPENSE WITH ARTILLERY OF THE PRESENT TYPE.”

by Nikola Tesla

Referring to my latest invention [the telautomaton], I wish to bring out a point which has been overlooked. I arrived, as has been stated, at the idea through entirely abstract speculations on the human organism, which I conceived to be a self-propelling machine, the motions of which are governed by impressions received through the eye. Endeavoring to construct a mechanical model resembling in its essential, material features the human body, I was led to combine a controlling device, or organ sensitive to certain waves, with a body provided with propelling and directing mechanism, and the rest naturally followed. Originally the idea interested me only from the scientific point of view, but soon I saw that I had made a departure which sooner or later must produce a profound change in things and conditions presently existing. I hope this change will be for the good only, for, if it were otherwise, I wish that I had never made the invention. The future may or may not bear out my present convictions, but I can not refrain from saying that it is difficult for me to see at present how, with such a principle brought to great perfection, as it undoubtedly will be in the course of time, guns can maintain themselves as weapons. We shall be able, by availing ourselves of this advance, to send a projectile at much greater distance, it will not be limited in any way by weight or amount of explosive charge, we shall be able to submerge it at command, to arrest it in its flight, and call it back, and send it out again and explode it at will, and, more than this, it will never make a miss, since all chance in this regard, if hitting the object of attack were at all required, is eliminated. But the chief feature of such a weapon is still to be told; namely, it may be made to respond only to a certain note or tune, it may be endowed with selective power. Directly such an arm is produced, it becomes almost impossible to meet it with a corresponding development. It is this feature, perhaps more than in its power of destruction, that its tendency to arrest the development of arms and to stop warfare will reside.”

“With renewed thanks, I remain,

Very truly yours,

N. Tesla.

"New York, November 19, 1898.

(The Sun, New York, November 21, 1898.)

Regular

“PLANS TO DISPENSE WITH ARTILLERY OF THE PRESENT TYPE.”

by Nikola Tesla

… Referring to my latest invention [the telautomaton], I wish to bring out a point which has been overlooked. I arrived, as has been stated, at the idea through entirely abstract speculations on the human organism, which I conceived to be a self-propelling machine, the motions of which are governed by impressions received through the eye. Endeavoring to construct a mechanical model resembling in its essential, material features the human body, I was led to combine a controlling device, or organ sensitive to certain waves, with a body provided with propelling and directing mechanism, and the rest naturally followed. Originally the idea interested me only from the scientific point of view, but soon I saw that I had made a departure which sooner or later must produce a profound change in things and conditions presently existing. I hope this change will be for the good only, for, if it were otherwise, I wish that I had never made the invention. The future may or may not bear out my present convictions, but I can not refrain from saying that it is difficult for me to see at present how, with such a principle brought to great perfection, as it undoubtedly will be in the course of time, guns can maintain themselves as weapons. We shall be able, by availing ourselves of this advance, to send a projectile at much greater distance, it will not be limited in any way by weight or amount of explosive charge, we shall be able to submerge it at command, to arrest it in its flight, and call it back, and send it out again and explode it at will, and, more than this, it will never make a miss, since all chance in this regard, if hitting the object of attack were at all required, is eliminated. But the chief feature of such a weapon is still to be told; namely, it may be made to respond only to a certain note or tune, it may be endowed with selective power. Directly such an arm is produced, it becomes almost impossible to meet it with a corresponding development. It is this feature, perhaps more than in its power of destruction, that its tendency to arrest the development of arms and to stop warfare will reside.”

“With renewed thanks, I remain,

Very truly yours,

N. Tesla.”

New York, November 19, 1898.

(The Sun, New York, November 21, 1898.)

*False Google… Nikola Tesla is the true father of robotics…

*False Google… Nikola Tesla is the true father of robotics inventing the first “robot” in 1898. Fifty-six years ahead of Geoge Devol.*

“So this invention was evolved, and so a new art came into existence, for which the name “telautomatics” has been suggested, which means the art of controlling the movements and operations of distant automatons. This principle evidently was applicable to any kind of machine that moves on land or in the water or in the air.  In applying it practically for the first time, I selected a boat [see Pic. 1 & 2]. A storage battery placed within it furnished the motive power. The propeller, driven by a motor, represented the locomotive organs. The rudder, controlled by another motor likewise driven by the battery, took the place of the directive organs. As to the sensitive organ, obviously the first thought was to utilize a device responsive to rays of light, like a selenium cell, to represent the human eye. But upon closer inquiry I found that, owing to experimental and other difficulties, no thoroughly satisfactory control of the automaton could be effected by light, radiant heat, hertzian radiations, or by rays in general, that is, disturbances which pass in straight lines through space. One of the reasons was that any obstacle coming between the operator and the distant automaton would place it beyond his control. Another reason was that the sensitive device representing the eye would have to be in a definite position with respect to the distant controlling apparatus, and this necessity would impose great limitations in the control. Still another and very important reason was that, in using rays, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to give to the automaton individual features or characteristics distinguishing it from other machines of this kind. Evidently the automaton should respond only to an individual call, as a person responds to a name. Such considerations led me to conclude that the sensitive device of the machine should correspond to the ear rather than the eye of a human being, for in this case its actions could be controlled irrespective of intervening obstacles, regardless of its position relative to the distant controlling apparatus, and, last, but not least, it would remain deaf and unresponsive, like a faithful servant, to all calls but that of its master. These requirements made it imperative to use, in the control of the automaton, instead of light or other rays, waves or disturbances which propagate in all directions through space, like sound, or which follow a path of least resistance, however curved. I attained the result aimed at by means of an electric circuit placed within the boat, and adjusted, or “tuned,” exactly to electrical vibrations of the proper kind transmitted to it from a distant “electrical oscillator.” This circuit, in responding, however feebly, to the transmitted vibrations, affected magnets and other contrivances, through the medium of which were controlled the movements of the propeller and rudder, and also the operations of numerous other appliances.

“By the simple means described the knowledge, experience, judgment–the mind, so to speak–of the distant operator were embodied in that machine, which was thus enabled to move and to perform all its operations with reason and intelligence. It behaved just like a blindfolded person obeying directions received through the ear.

“The automatons so far constructed had “borrowed minds,” so to speak, as each merely formed part of the distant operator who conveyed to it his intelligent orders; but this art is only in the beginning. I purpose to show that, however impossible it may now seem, an automaton may be contrived which will have its “own mind,” and by this I mean that it will be able, independent of any operator, left entirely to itself, to perform, in response to external influences affecting its sensitive organs, a great variety of acts and operations as if it had intelligence. It will be able to follow a course laid out or to obey orders given far in advance; it will be capable of distinguishing between what it ought and what it ought not to do, and of making experiences or, otherwise stated, of recording impressions which will definitely affect its subsequent actions. In fact, I have already conceived such a plan.“

–Nikola Tesla

“The Problem of Increasing Human Energy.” Century Illustrated Magazine, June, 1900.

Drop some hydrogel beads in a hot frying pan and they’ll bounce,…

Drop some hydrogel beads in a hot frying pan and they’ll bounce, hiss, and screech. Normally, if you drop a ball, it bounces to ever smaller heights until it comes to rest. In contrast, on a hot surface the hydrogel can bounce to a steady height for minutes at a time, raising a question: where does it get the energy for its incessant bounce? 

Upon close examination of the impact, researchers found the hydrogel beads are actually slapping the surface over and over on each bounce. The frequency of the slapping exactly matches that of the audible screech, so what you’re actually hearing is this bounce-slap. Now what causes the slapping?

Contact with the hot surface vaporizes some of the water inside the hydrogel. If it were a droplet, this vapor would form a thin, almost frictionless layer the droplet could glide on; that’s the classic Leidenfrost effect. Here the shell of the bead prevents that until the pressure really builds up. When the pressure gets high enough, the vapor finally escapes, opening up a gap. As the gap reaches its largest point, the bead rebounds elastically, bringing it back in contact with the surface and starting the process again. Each of these cycles acts like a tiny engine, harvesting energy that drives the larger bounce. This elastic Leidenfrost effect may be particularly helpful in soft robotics, providing robots with a new mechanism for movement. (Image and video credit: S. Waitukaitis et al.,arXiv)

American Mathematics Society | Mathematical MomentsI’m…

American Mathematics Society | Mathematical Moments

I’m substituting for a 9th- and 10th-grade math teacher, and she has a number of neat posters on her wall, ranging from the application of mathematics to robotics, to its role in black hole physics, to its cultural impact on the NBA.

Here’s the description of the poster set, which comes from the AMS:

The Mathematical Moments program promotes appreciation and understanding of the role mathematics plays in science, nature, technology, and human culture.

The AMS has many, many more online, many of which are accompanied by podcasts, shorter versions, and translations into a variety of languages. Pictured are:

Check them out and enjoy!