In the 1960s, GE engineers developed the Cybernetic Anthropmorophous Machine, or Walking Truck. In 1966, the US Army awarded GE a contract for building the experimental vehicle. However, its hand and foot controls not only fatigued operators, but were impractical for prolonged use on the battlefield, so the project was discontinued. Kevin Weir at flux machine recently reanimated the Walking Truck so the mechanical beast could gallop once more.
In 1876, Thomas Edison patented the Electric Stencil-Pen, an invention intended to help clerks reproduce documents. It featured a sharp vibrating needle that could puncture a sheet of paper 50 times per second. Users dragged it along lines of text to create tiny holes in the paper that allowed ink to sink through to papers underneath. The Electric Stencil-Pen is a relatively unknown invention, but if the process sounds familiar, that’s because it helped revolutionize the modern tattoo industry. In 1891, New York tattoo artist Samuel F. O’Reilly produced an electric tattoo needle based on the design. The speed and precision of the tool made getting inked quicker and more efficient than ever before.
Last week, we started a new series on women inventors and scientists, beginning by highlighting the work of robotics researcher Lynn DeRose at GE Global Research.
Today, our series is going back in time to spotlight the work of Barbara Askins, a NASA chemist who invented a new method to develop photographs. Her invention not only helped the space agency see more clearly, but was later applied to improve X-ray technology and the restoration of photographs.
"Monkeyshines" is believed to be the first film shot in the United States. It was filmed for Edison Labs in 1889 or 1890 by William Heise and William K. L. Dickson, who worked with Thomas Edison to develop the Kinetoscope, an early motion picture viewing device considered to be the precursor to movie projectors.
Happy birthday, Thomas Edison! To celebrate the 31st annual “Inventors’ Day” in the United States, we’re kicking off “22 Days Of Invention.” For the next 22 days, we’ll be celebrating some of the greatest minds in history, with stories of the inventions we use in our backyards to machines made for interstellar space.
Why 22 days? Edison received his first patent at age 22 for the “Electrographic Vote-Recorder,” so we thought the number was apropos for the occasion.
We’ll be taking a look at everything from Edison’s greatest hits, to the anniversary of the founding of Quirky, the design shop that makes crowdsourced inventions real.
Follow the hashtag #22DaysOfInvention on Twitter and Tumblr to learn more about the brains behind our favorite things. Happy inventing, everyone!
When GE designed this electric flying suit for the U.S. Air Corps, pressurized airplane cabins were not yet in use. At high altitudes cabins could reach sub-zero temperatures capable of freezing flesh to metal. Shown above is a test of a GE electric flying suit at 63 degrees below zero in a cold room at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey in 1941.