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Naiad water-hydraulic robot arm A water-powered, 'electrohydraulic' robot arm

This was the tenth arm designed by the prolific Richard (Dick) Becker, according to an article in an eighties copy of Wireless World. I guess before Naiad there would have been Micro Grasp, Genesis P100, M101, P101 and P102, Neptune, Mentor, Serpent and one other that escapes me.

He had just established his new company, Cybernetic Applications, and after launching Neptune, Mentor and Serpent earlier in the year, Naiad arrived in the autumn of 1985 offering 5 degrees of freedom plus gripper.

Mechanically, Naiad was a cross between a Mentor and a baby Neptune. It borrowed Neptune's scale, a chunk of its electronics, potentiometer positional feedback system and one servo-motor drive, then incorporated Neptune's unique water/hydraulic power system for the rest of its movements.
Its see-through cylinders and domed accumulator chamber were designed so that users could see just what was happening every time they sent the arm a command. And each axis had a different cylinder type or control mechanism, so that students had a variety of examples to study and write software for.

Commands could be delivered via a BBC micro's 1MHz bus port, an Apple IIe, a Commodore C64 or an 'IBM PC'. Two board connectors were provided via edge tracks (one for an Apple/Commodore/PC cable and one for a BBC micro), plus a switch to select which edge connector was active. The arm assumed direct access to a controlling computer's bus for memory mapping purposes. This facility was available in varying forms on an Apple, Commodore or BBC micro, but a proprietary interface card was required for successful operation with a PC.

I'm currently looking for spares to help me repair my own Naiad arm, so if you have any parts, or even a complete machine, I'd like to hear from you.


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