Rediscovering "The Modern Robot"

In doing some research, Ryan ran across several images that included a robot that he thought must have been constructed in the 1940's or earlier, but couldn't locate any background information. So, he turned to the comp.robotics.misc group on the internet for help. Within 24 hours several group members responded with helpful information and pointers. A few days later there were more details, and in less than a week the story behind the robot was confirmed.

The robot turned out to be "Alpha", a 6 foot 4 inch steel giant that tipped the scales at around 1 ton, yet was able to respond to spoken questions using primitive voice recognition. During demonstrations that took place in 1934, it would answer questions, "read" a newspaper, and even fire a pistol. Unfortunately Alpha had never heard of Asimov's Three Laws, because according to a November 1934 Time Magazine article the robot managed to blast the skin off it's inventor's arm, and on another occasion put an assistant in the hospital.


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