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Remote manipulator

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Title: Remote manipulator  
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Subject: SpaceChem, Open-loop controller, Robot-assisted surgery, Armatron, Waldo (short story)
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Remote manipulator

Manipulator arms inside the Hot Bay of the Engine Maintenance Assembly & Disassembly Facility, in Area 25 of the Nevada Test Site.

A remote manipulator, also known as a telefactor, telemanipulator, or waldo (after the short story "Waldo" by Robert A. Heinlein which features a man who invents and uses such devices),[1] is a device which, through electronic, hydraulic, or mechanical linkages, allows a hand-like mechanism to be controlled by a human operator. The purpose of such a device is usually to move or manipulate hazardous materials for reasons of safety.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


In 1945, the company Central Research Laboratories[2] was given the contract to develop a remote manipulator for the Argonne National Laboratory. The intent was to replace devices which manipulated highly radioactive materials from above a sealed chamber or hot cell, with a mechanism which operated through the side wall of the chamber, allowing a researcher to stand normally while working.

The result was the Master-Slave Manipulator Mk. 8, or MSM-8, which became the iconic remote manipulator[3] seen in newsreels and movies, such as the Andromeda Strain or THX 1138.

Robert A. Heinlein claimed a much earlier origin for remote manipulators.[4] He wrote that he got the idea for "waldos" after reading a 1918 article in Popular Mechanics about "a poor fellow afflicted with myasthenia gravis ... [who] devised complicated lever arrangements to enable him to use what little strength he had."

See also


  1. ^ Technovelgy telemanipulator page
  2. ^ CRL history
  3. ^ Telemanipulator page
  4. ^  

External links

  • Central Research Laboratories web site
  • A video of a Remote Manipulator being used to make an origami crane [3]
  • Master-slave manipulator at Argonne National Laboratory [4]
  • Zeleny, Milan (2005). Human systems management: Integrating Knowledge, Management. World Scientific. p. 142. isbn=981-02-4913-6. 
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