10 YEARS AGO — 2002
Brush motors go deep: The Hugin 3000 AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) dives 10,000 ft below the ocean’s surface with help from motors and gearboxes from maxon precision motors. The unmanned sub cruises the ocean bottom gathering topographical information for the oil, mining, and telecommunications industries.
Powering the AUV is an aluminum oxygen fuel cell with NiCd backup batteries. The vehicle travels up to 4 knots for about 50 hr, while running a host of sophisticated surveying equipment. C&C Technologies, Lafayette, La., and Norway-based Kongsberg Simrad, teamed up for the vehicle’s hardware and software. Maxon RE 25, 25-mm precious metal-brushed motors, power both rudder and dive-plane assemblies. Maxon’s GP 26 planetary gearheads provide speed reduction of 33:1, allowing for smooth underwater motion.
30 YEARS AGO — 1982
Educational ant experiment readied for space shuttle: Two Camden, N.J. high-school students prepare an experiment that tests the ability of a canister and its cargo to survive vibrations of a space launch. Both cargo (carpenter ants and cameras for observing the ants) and canister survived the test. The ant experiment, scheduled to go into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle, is the focal point of an education program sponsored by RCA and designed to interest students in science and engineering. The test was conducted at RCA’s Astro-Electronics plant in Princeton.
50 YEARS AGO — 1962
Robot for handling rockets which are powered by nuclear engines can lift a ton, yet is coordinated enough to thread a nut onto a bolt. An 85-ton prototype, called Beetle, has been created to do this type of work. Beetle’s movements are controlled by a man encased in a 50-ton cab with footthick walls made of lead and leaded-glass windows, each 2-ft thick and providing radiation resistance equal to the lead. Besides the windows, the operator has television cameras for looking to the rear and around corners. General Electric Co., working with the Air Force, built the Beetle.