Heinlein's Giant Waldo Comes To Life

In his 1942 classic Waldo, Robert Heinlein describes telefactoring devices for the first time:

Waldo put his arms into the primary pair before him; all three pairs, including the secondary pair before the machine, came to life. Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the two pairs of waldoes in the screen followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.

This invention, also called the Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating Pantograph, was immediately put into use in the nascent nuclear power industry.

In the story, Heinlein plays around with the idea. He considers waldoes that are so small, they look like "tiny pixy hands, an inch across." He also describes some very large waldoes:

There were waldoes rigged near the spherical wall, too, including a pair so huge that Stevens could not conceive a use for it..

Extended, each hand spread quite six feet from little finger to thumb tip.


(Giant robotic hand from Robodock 2007)

It turns out that clever engineers have brought Heinlein's giant waldo to life. At the Robodock 2007 junkyard technology festival, a team from Robochrist Industries worked two weeks to create an enormous robotic hand.

This huge hydraulic appendage is controlled using a custom-built armature that fits around the operator's arm; in other words, as the operator moves his hand and arm, the giant hand mimics his actions. As you can see in the picture above, the giant robotic hand can crush a car.

Waldo F. Jones would have liked it.

Via Wired.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/9/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'- David Keller, 1928.

Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'- Blade Runner.

Toshiba's Lifelike Communication Android
Philip K. Dick offered a glimpse into this future in 1968.

Most Advanced Robotic Hand?
'Hands I could order from the atomics-engineering equipment companies...'- Robert Heinlein, 1956.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Why Not Nurse Grandma With A Robot?
'She's made of a combination of springs, levers, acoustic instruments...'

Flock Of Minisats Will Image The Earth
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'

Should Robots Have Civil Rights?
'I've seen things... you people wouldn't believe...'

Robert Heinlein, Your Self-Driving Car Is Almost Ready!
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'

The Manned Maneuvering Unit Story
'Little spurts of red-orange flame from the reaction pistol marked his companion's trail...'

Scheherazade, An Open Story Generator
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'

Sample The In Vitro Meat Cookbook
'I grabbed two Syntho-Steaks out of the freezer...'

Erased Memories In A Flash Of Light
'Someone, probably at a government military-sciences lab, erased his conscious memories...'

'Diamond Nanothreads' Now, Someday Space Elevators?
'It is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal'

'Artificial Spleen' Cleans The Blood
'The workability of wholly mechanical organs... '

Raffia, The Google Streetview Camel
The old and the new, together.

It's Boonta Eve! You Can Podrace With Drones
Thank the Hutts.

Leia Display System - Our Only Hope?
'Lilo and Vaffa moved through a maze of floating advertisements of ghostsmoke and holomist...'

A Bloody Rare Vegan Burger
For that real punched in the face feeling.

Bigelow's Inflatable BEAM Module Ready For ISS In 2015
'The bubble had inflatable seats and an inflatable table...'

Toshiba's Lifelike Communication Android
'How would you like to own an owl?'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.