Man’s ideal friend has actually been pushing back the the danger of a robot replacement for decades, not simply on television




Astro and the robot dog ‘Lectronimo v George Jetson (screenshot native “The coming of Astro”)

This is the fourth in a24-part serieslooking in ~ every episode of “The Jetsons” TV display from the original 1962-63 season.

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The fourth episode of “The Jetsons” initially aired top top October 14, 1962 and was title “The resulting Astro.”

After Elroy brings house a dog and also convinces his mommy Jane to let him keep it, the family makes their instance for obtaining a dog come George over the videophone. George isn’t also keen on obtaining a dog, yet wants to store the tranquility within his family.

George consults the agency computer to number out what he need to do about his family’s desire because that a dog. The computer says an electronic dog, i beg your pardon George sees together a wonderful solution because it has actually benefits like, “no feeding, no bathing, no fleas.” George makes his way to the local pet shop and also buys a dog named ‘Lectronimo, a nuclear-powered pet v a penchant for biting thieves.Upon getting here home with his pushy pooch, George discovers the the family already has a dog named Astro — the flesh and blood puppy that Elroy brought home. George pits Astro versus the robot dog in various doggie aptitude tests to determine which dog the Jetson family will keep.In the end, the Jetsons the course select to store Astro and donate your nuclear-powered electronic dog to the police force.

Naturally, the robot dog predates The Jetsons’ depiction of the mechanical mutt by plenty of decades. The earliest “electric dog” the I’ve to be able to discover in my archive comes from the September 1923 concern of helpful Electrics magazine, a hobbyist newspaper of the 1920s. The cover mirrors a male leading one “electric dog” through a cane if a woman and also boy look on.

An electrical dog from the September 1923 issue of helpful Electrics magazine

The accompanying article explained just how to make her own electrical dog. The magnetic cane directs movement, yet the electric dog is in reality self-propelled, together you deserve to see native the illustration below.

Sectional check out of the electrical dog from the September 1923 worry of helpful Electrics magazine

Just a few years ~ the Practical Electrics cover, a short item indigenous the linked Press said of a robot dog in Paris that might follow the direction of that is inventor by method of light. Indigenous the November 24, 1929 Florence Morning News in Florence, south Carolina:

A robot dog that walks and barks is funny Paris. Selenium cells in the eye actuate electric motors that turn tiny wheels in the paws and a horn provides the bark.

A flashlight directed at the eye controls the miscellaneous mechanisms. Organized to one side, so one eye gets more light 보다 the other, the paw-wheels top top the opposite next move, leading to the dog to follow the light. If both eyes are illuminated equally the dog developments straight forward.

An rise in the light causes barking.

In contrast, ‘Lectronimo’s barking appears to be resulted in by a “robber’s mask” i beg your pardon naturally, every robber that the future wears.


Screenshot the ‘Lectronimo the nuclear-powered dog the the future

There’s no denying the ‘Lectronimo was clearly inspired through a robotic dog called Sparko, developed by Westinghouse designers in 1940.

Sparko and also Elektro at the 1940 NY World’s fair (image source: Dawn of a new Day through The majesties Museum, 1980)

Sparko was developed after the substantial success of another Westinghouse robot namedElektro, which take it the 1939 new York World’s same by storm. At 65 pounds and about two feet tall, Sparko was built as Elektro’s finest friend. And like Elektro, there were plenty of variations of him (three by part counts) offered by Westinghouse in the 1940s and ’50s for various promotional purposes. ~ his appearance at the 1940 brand-new York World’s same it’s most likely Sparko took a rest from promotional tasks on account that WWII. Yet Sparko came ago with a vengeance after the war, help Elektro and Westinghouse eagle as countless washers, dryers and also refrigerators as possible.


Sparko, the world’s very first electrical dog, together he looked on come at the engineer’s club, brand-new York City, top top his means to the World’s fair, whereby he to be be one attraction at the Westinghouse Building. Credit: (c) Bettman/Corbis

When Sparko came out of semi-retirement ~ WWII that was provided to promote appliances in ~ home and garden shows and retail outlets all across the U.S. The photo below comes indigenous the might 26, 1951 version of the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison, Wisconsin.

Photo of Sparko the robot dog in the might 26, 1951 Wisconsin State journal (Madison, WI)

Ads would run in miscellaneous newspapers, explaining the imminent arrival of Elektro and also Sparko. The advertisement below comes from the July 25, 1956 Port Angeles evening Times in harbor Angeles, Washington and claims the if you correctly guess the number of feet of wire in Elektro and also Sparko you’ll win a cost-free Westinghouse dryer.

Elektro and also Sparko in an advertisement from the July 25, 1956 harbor Angeles evening News (Port Angeles, WA)

The robot dog so many Americans had involved know in Sparko is presented to exist in the Jetsons world, yet is at some point rejected. In an initiative to do the present relatable — to allow the people of 1962 to task themselves right into the future together with the Jetson family — us spend many of the collection not with robo-dogs yet with Astro, a goofy and also lovable dog that’s far more sympathetic than a cold metal canine. Prefer so many of the implicit promises of the Jetsons universe, this was an assurance come viewers of the 1960s that some wonderful technological changes would certainly take location a hundred years hence, yet your favourite cuddly points (like the family dog) will still be intact.

If Astro’s voice sounds acquainted to an additional famous cartoon dog, that’s probably due to the fact that Astro was voiced through Don Messick that would later on do the voice that Scooby-Doo.


Astro and also the Jetson family members in a screenshot native the fourth episode the The Jetsons in 1962

Today, there space a variety of different people studying the way in i m sorry we interact with robotic pets. A 2004 study in Australia looked at the means that children and adults communicated with Sony’s robot dog Aibo. They uncovered that kids saw the robot dog as a pets first, and a device second; whereas adults observed the inverse — a an equipment that happens to it is in a pet.

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DARPA’s breakthrough of “pack mules” (which years back they supplied to speak to “dogs) may allude to the sort of dexterity that future robot pets might exhibit. But for now, robotic pets aren’t yet a truth for many families. Possibly that’s due to the fact that the modern technology isn’t rather yet progressed or “lifelike” enough. Or perhaps that’s since the Jetsons promised us Astro, no ‘Lectronimo.