[RR Auction] Cool 1960s NASA Space Suit Test Robot on Auction

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This exceptionally cool hydraulically powered robot designed to test space suits for NASA in 1965, is up for RR Auction’s Remarkable Rarities auction in Boston on September 25.

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“An extraordinary hydraulically powered robot dummy designed for NASA to use in testing space suits, circa 1963–1965, produced by the IIT Research Institute. The life-size dummy could simulate 35 basic human motions and was equipped with torque sensors at each joint to gather data on forces imposed on the human body by a pressurized suit. While a person could qualitatively describe the comfort and restrictions of a certain suit, the articulated dummy could provide direct quantitative information for a more scientific method of refining the design.”

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“Only two of these robot dummies were produced, and the other is owned by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum; this one was purchased as surplus from the University of Maryland. The ‘Power Driven Articulated Dummy’ project was under Contract No. NAS 9-1370 and ran from May 22, 1963 through July 31, 1965, and is described at length in an official report dated December 14, 1965. The report covers, in great detail, the specifications of the dummy, its various systems, and technical hurdles encountered while creating it.”

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“Although the development team succeeded in creating this impressive android—it could swivel its hips, raise and lower its arms and legs, shrug its shoulders, clench its fists, and even shake hands—the robot was never deployed as intended. The hydraulic system could not handle the pressure needed to move the robot’s extremities without leaking, and despite some creative test solutions—including outfitting it with a scuba wetsuit—the problem was never solved. NASA ultimately dropped the project in order to direct its funding elsewhere. Nevertheless, this remarkable robot stands as a testament to the innovative creativity NASA inspired in its quest skyward. Oversized.”

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Estimate at $80,000+, the price is quite on the high side, but it’d be interesting to have one of this early working robot prototype that one of the only two ever made, the other one being permanently housed in Smithsonian.

It’d be able to show whole lot more actions than those simple Automata;
Finally, Genuinely Medieval Ljubljana Castle with Automata, via Funicular Railway

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