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"I wrote many novels which contained the element of the projected collective unconscious, which made them simply incomprehensible to anyone who read them, because they required the reader to accept my premise that each of us lives in a unique world."
- Philip K. Dick

Waldo  
  A telefactoring device; also known as the Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating Pantograph.  

This story has been largely forgotten (even though it still makes great reading). The notion of a waldo, however, has not. The word itself has come into common usage; the American Heritage Dictionary describes it as follows: "A mechanical agent, such as a gripper arm, controlled by a human limb." Real-life waldoes were developed for the nuclear industry during WWII; they were named after the invention described by Heinlein.

This technology is known today by the more generic term "telefactoring"; it is used in a variety of industries.

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.
From Waldo, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1942
Additional resources -

Heinlein shows his creativity by giving his character a problem (myasthenia gravis - degenerative muscle weakness) and then literally giving him the tool to solve it. You'll also enjoy his laboratory (in orbit, of course, to give Waldo maximum mobility).

A pantograph is a device with a simple physical connection between a pointer and a drawing pen on a piece of paper. Altering the linkage between the pointer and the pen alters the scale of the drawing. The pantograph dates from 1630. Thomas Jefferson liked them; he built one into Monticello.

In Oath of Fealty, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, telefactor operators who all live in the same arcology assist in a variety of tasks around the globe (and on the moon). At one point, they go on strike; a case of acting locally and globally.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Waldo
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Waldo
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Waldo-related news articles:
  - Tmsuk T52 Enryu Support Dragon Hyper Rescue Robot
  - Robonaut Performs Hubble Space Telescope Repair Tasks
  - Robonaut Centaur At NextFest 2006
  - Heinlein's Giant Waldo Comes To Life
  - Mediseus Surgical Drilling Simuator Remote Haptic Tutor
  - Be Master To Robot Slave
  - RAPUD Robotic Arm Helps Disabled Reach
  - Giant Robotic Hand Video
  - WIND Wearable Robot Controller
  - PossessedHand Borgs Your Hands To Teach You
  - Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeletonized Ditch Witch
  - Festo ExoHand Fine Motor Skill Robotic Hand
  - Calligraphy Robot Preserves An Ancient Skill
  - CAPIO Exoskeleton Controls AILA Robot
  - Smart Glove Controls 3D Printed Robotic Arm (Waldo!)

Articles related to Engineering
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MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos
Artificial Muscle Material Is Self-Healing, Super Stretchy
Arctic Cities Crumble As Permafrost Melts

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