The 1961 Mobot Mark II Had All the Moves

IEEE Spectrum Robotics 

In the late 1950s, Sandia Laboratory was looking for a way to handle radioactive materials without putting humans in danger. The answer was the Mobot--short for either "remote robot" or "mobile robot"--a remotely operated system designed by Hughes Aircraft Co. in 1959 that offered a unique and effective combination of strength and dexterity. A Sandia press release announcing the robot called it a "Replacement for Man," but in fact the robot had no autonomy; it was teleoperated by a human sitting in front of a massive control console connected to the robot by a 60-meter cable. The Mark I version of the Mobot had a pair of meter-long hydraulically actuated arms capable of lifting up to 68 kilograms (150 pounds), along with adjustable-strength grippers. The entire system was mounted on a forklift.