Idea: remote manipulator : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

Thanks to the producers for an outstanding series.

Proposal: remote manipulators. This is similar to the oft-suggested crane, but focuses on the dexterity of the machine instead of its brute strength.

A ten-foot-tall wall has a five-foot hole centered. The team must build an arm that can reach through and recover 20-pound weights set in a semicircle of 30 foot radius. The operators must stay in a 15-foot square set 5 feet back from the wall. There are windows in the wall for spotters who guide the operators, but who must not touch the machine.

Clearly the arm must be able to bend. For more fun, use bits of junk instead of weights -- make the teams, for example, maneuver an upright vaccum through the hole on the end of a mechanical arm.

I would make muscle power acceptable but not required, they may use other power sources if they like.

Optionally, require the arm to hold the weight for five seconds with no operator touching it, to disallow an entirely hand-held unit. Or, allow them -- just decide which in advance.

-- Sam Mize (, February 06, 2001

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