Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Reck and the first designs

This is the story of my first innocent steps throughout the robotics world. All started with the TV cartoons Japanese series "Mazinguer Z", a kind of Manga cartoons about a powerful huge robot fighting with the bad guys for the worlds peace. By then (1977) I was 12 years old and I was fascinated with the robots of the cartoons. Just in that moments was when it born a passion inside me that would continue up to nowadays, not in a continues way, but always latent.

Due to the influence of that cartoons I decided to develop a robot for the end of course exam of "Manual Skills" at the school. Then Reck born. Unfortunately I only keep good memories of  it in my mind that has allowed me to rebuild his image with CAD programs.

Reck was a "robot" (to say something) very simple, it had a rear-wheel drive allowing only back and forward movements, a set of blinking lights at the eyes and sound electronic devices located at the mouth, capable of generating terrible sounds. The system was governed from a remote control box via cable, with switches and potentiometers. The structure was composed of a wood base platform where the wheels, motor and batteries where. Over that platform there was the metal body, a 5 litters can of olive oil and over it there was the head, a soluble cocoa tin can, where the sound and blinking lights electronics were located

Some years before I started my first steps in the electronics world  with some educational games that I could apply in the simple pure analog design of Reck.

Reck made possible the first first-class school mark of my life.

In the following years after Reck I was obsessed with the design of like human being arms and hands, as it could be seen in the following one where it could be seen a hand from the side of the thumb (the finger of the bottom of the picture) of a 5 fingers hand (1980).

Robot hand (1980)
In 1981 It followed the design of  "Oto", robot equipped with a micro-missile launching system. By then I was really interested in the functionality of the rockets and I did some tests with small rockets I developed. The most powerful flew 10 metros, but it was the size of a rifle bullet. This was the reason I wanted to design a robot with a missile launch system.

Oto Robot (1981)

micro-missile launching system (1981)

During 1983 I was dedicated to the design of arm and hands. It seems to be a repeating obsession. What a pity that Internet was not available then. The books about robotics where almost inexistent at Spain.

Robot hand (1983)

After a pause, in 1986-87 I came back to my loved robotic stronger than before. Again another robot to design and develop. This time without name, but with quite a galaxy aspect.

I didn't know by then neither what was a servo neither what was a differential drive, so although this robot seems to have it because of the position of the three wheels, in fact he had an electromagnet based system for the steering.

 electromagnet based system for the steering (1987)
I never finished this robot, although I built some parts, like the drive system and the head.

Robot head (1987)

Drive system (1987)

In 1989 again came the obsession for arms and hands. I started with the design of an arm with a clamp as a hand with a similar side to a human being ones.

Robot arm (1989)
I built the forearm and clamp in transparent plastic. It had a sensor system based in bumpers, springs and diodes that allowed controlling the pressure of the clamp over the objects taken.

Robot arm (1989)
Since 1989 till 2001 I didn't do anything related to robotics, dedicating all my efforts to my job in the computer science area. It was in 2001, with the born of Monty-Tuning when that slept passion revived after 12 years, but this time raised much stronger that ever before.