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12/26/2005

Sparko, the lost grandfather of all robot dogs

Here a funny story with a Japanese twist via Steve at Robots.net: Help Find Sparko, the Lost Robot Dog.
The Mansfield Memorial Museum in Ohio has been displaying the newly-resored, “Elektro the Moto Man” a 300 pound robot created by Westinghouse for the 1939 World’s Fair. Elektro is the mega-funky grandfather to Asimo by Honda. The restoration of Electro is complete except that his robot dog named Sparko is missing. As Steve at Robots.net says, “If you’ve seen Sparko or have any information about the robot dog’s current location, please contact Jack Weeks (Elektro’s and Sparko’s Westinghouse engineer).” I can see the lost dog notices posted on telephone poles in Ohio now: Lost: Seventy-pound Scottish Terrier. Gunmetal gray. Answers to “Sparko.”

Elektro's and Sparko's WestinghouseROBOT DREAMS : The strange tale of a man’s quest to rebuild his mechanical childhood friend
The Cleveland Free Times:…Since [Mansfield museum director] Schaut’s exhibit opened earlier this year, visitors have come from all over the world to see this reconstructed marvel. Though he’s happy his friend is getting the attention he deserves, Weeks is wary of the intentions of some. A Japanese television station wanted so many shots that Weeks worried they planned to reverse-engineer Elektro. So he and Schaut now limit photography. Weeks keeps the only remaining blueprints in locked storage. The only people allowed to see them are some professors from North Central Tech Community College. …more…

According to the Cleveland Free Times article, Elektro only had eight “electric relays” and main function was to smoke cigarettes to entertain the folks at the the 1939 World’s Fair—-which sounds as equally useless as Asimo and his “work” at the this year’s Expo in Aichi Japan. However, Elektro with an 8-bit “brain” is hardly a robot that needs reverse-engineering, hee, hee.
Asimo

Posted by Taro in Science/Technology | 1 Comment »


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One Response to “Sparko, the lost grandfather of all robot dogs”

  1. Taro Says:

    Yikes! I am sparked since I now hit WFMU’s Beware of the Blog again!

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