Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"Science fiction is really sociological studies of the future, things that the writer believes are going to happen by putting two and two together."
- Ray Bradbury

Mechanical Men  
  Remote controlled robots used to perform dangerous work.  

Very early description of this idea; the user viewed the work through the "electric eyes" of the robot.

One day I was running a test on the polonium that flowed into the repulsion tubes to determine its quality. Ron, a classmate, approached me. “William will you take my place for a while at the ‘auto’ controls. I have to see Professor Luch personally for a few moments.”

“All right, Ron.”

“Thanks, a lot.” I went to the control room where the three other men were manipulating their mechanical men, doing various duties that could not be done very efficiently by automatic levers and relays. I sat before the mirror that represented the electric eye of the robot, and by various levers moved “No. 7” to take a look at the temperature of the electric furnace for repulsion tube No. 3. Everything was functioning perfectly. I continued to do routine work relative to the operation of the repulsion tube...

As my robot straightened up from depositing some huge balance weights on the floor, I saw with horror that a polonium tube leading to the great discharger had snapped, pouring the precious Martian metal on the floor. Immediately, the dial on the wall above me showed that the great disk had already taken on a list, and was beginning to descend slightly. “Increase your voltage and polonium flow, men, I’m shutting my discharger off. Polonium tube snapped !”

Knowing full well that the other repulsors could not stand the added strain indefinitely, I set No. 7 to work swiftly to close off the voltage and metal flow, and replace the broken tube. Conversation ceased; the others turning grim faces to their work, and working rapidly and surely. The list was corrected but still the disk continued to descend. With my heart pounding in my ears, it seemed an eternity to cut out the tube. Yet, it was delicate work and had to be done with extreme care. Even in this crucial moment I marveled at the delicacy with which the automaton handled the tube under my control. I watched metal hands carefully place the tube in its section. As soon as it was safe, the polonium began to flow again, and the discharger was turned on. Slowly, the instruments indicated that the descent of the disk was checked, and that it began to assume a normal elevation again after having fallen a thousand feet.

From The Ancient Brain, by A.G. Stangland.
Published by Science Wonder Stories in 1929
Additional resources -

Compare to the waldo from Waldo (1940) by Robert Heinlein. It is of particular interest to note that Heinlein's idea was the impetus for the development of similar devices used in the nuclear power industry - they were even called "waldoes".

See also the teleoperated lab robots from Cities in Flight by James Blish.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Ancient Brain
  More Ideas and Technology by A.G. Stangland
  Tech news articles related to The Ancient Brain
  Tech news articles related to works by A.G. Stangland

Mechanical Men-related news articles:
  - Reachy Humanoid VR Teleoperation App

Articles related to Robotics
LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
Mobot Robot Tests Smartphone Apps With Its Finger
Robotic Surgeons Outperform Human Surgeons
In Your Orchard, Do You Want Buzzing Suction Drones, OR Dick's Claw Hand Drones?

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

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 Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

LoadRunner Robot Works Alone, Or In A Group
'They marched in unison, seven of them...'

Sierra Space Inflatable LIFE Habitat Burst Pressure Test
'It was like being inside a balloon...'

Longest Immersed Tunnel Will Connect Denmark and Germany
'... iron tubes... the ends of the tubes were joined to each other...to preserve it from the action of the seawater.'

Alcohol-Sensing Cars - NTSB Catches Up With Philip K. Dick (1963)
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive....'

Solar-Powered Remote-Control Cockroaches!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'

SolarBotanic Tree For Solar Energy - Would You Need A Forest, Or Just One?
'The slender stalks of a sunshade-photocell collector...'

Metaverse Hardware - Run And Flail Like A Maniac, Or Lie Quietly?
'Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed...'

Robot Food Delivery Coming To Campus Near You
'... he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Are Craiyon Images Puddinged, ala Philip K. Dick?
'I stood in line for half an hour for this, and it's just a blob!'

Hip'Safe Airbag For Seniors, From Helite
'Other airbags go off around her torso and pelvis...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.