Sartorial Robotics by Adam Whiton

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Figure 2-2. Cartoon of the Televox from New York Times. October 23, 1927.

It was this illustration that Roy James Wensley, the inventor of the Televox, cited as inspiration to give the Televox a humanoid form[Sch07]. He used only painted wallboard with a head, a torso where the Televox electronics were installed, two arms and two legs. Just one arm was articulated and could be controlled via the Televox system. This crude creation lacked specific details of the human aesthetic, but represented the basic body forms and parts. Though primitive, it was an electromechanical humanoid robot. This mechanical man received worldwide publicity and press, exciting the public and priming them with the promise of consumer robots. There were previous mechanical men created by individual inventors, some of which proved to be fakes, but Westinghouse was a well-established company in the emergent electronic appliance industry and manufactured a large array of consumer appliances. The Westinghouse Electric Corporation went on to develop a series of robots which grounded the idea of humanoid robots in both the public’s imagination and the imagination of consumer product companies.

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