1965-71 – G.E. Hardiman I – Ralph Mosher


One of the few photographs we see of Hardiman I.  I'd have a smile like that on my face too if I had one of these.

Hardiman is a name derived somehow, from "Human Augmentation Research and Development Investigation." and Man from MANipulator.  Sometimes written as HardiMan, Hardi-Man, Hardi Man, Hardiman I.  Said to also be officially called the "Powered Exo-skeleton."

Note: some reports suggest that only one arm of Hardiman's was built.  The above photo usually accompanies that comment, but it is incorrect. A complete Hardiman was built with both arms, but the comment refers to the earlier tests  of just the single, upper manipulator. Later, even when the full machine was built,  one side was made static, and the other side was capable  moving.

The Hardiman program from 1965-1971
The Hardiman stated in November 1965. The early phases were on human factors and kinematic concepts, which were completed in 1966. The results of this required changes, where the original concept was for a single master-slave system, now to be split in two, the upper arms, and the lower legs.
By the end of 1967, the slave prototype had been built following load-bearing joint tests.
There were technological problems with the hydromechanical servos, mainly around their stability. An interim study was put together and concluded by April 1968. The solution was to go to electrohydraulic servos.
Although the plan was to build the legs first, this setback meant that the ONR directed the program to complete the arm system. By the end of 1969, the single arm tests were completed.
The leg and girdle systems were completed late 1970, but was not able to balance or walk without support.  Major kinematic problems were arising and could not be overcome within the program's timeframe. The approach was taken to fasten the master leg to the slave at the girdle. This change the operating mode from "operator walk" to "operator ride".
Within these constraints and the assistance of a supporting tether it was possible to to demonstrate a limited ambulatory capability with the leg system. A movie was made of this {RH:where is it now?].
See the May1971 report pdf here: 
See the full 1971 final report pdf here:

Above: concept drawing showing the loading of bombs into an aircraft.
The above words say it all.

See full patent here.
Patent number: 3535711

Filing date: Nov 1, 1967
Issue date: Oct 27, 1970

Early scale concept models of Hardiman.
The images  of the models started to appear in 1966.

The un-powered exoskeleton by G.E. used for kinematic studies.

The media saw a bright future for "Man Amplifiers".

pdf - Mosher - Handyman to Hardiman 1967 - A very good document covering G.E.'s Cybernetic Anthropomorphous Machine systems (CAMs).

Later additions: At the end of the Hardiman program in 1971, spin-offs utilising the CAMS approach were offered. Some of these were already on offer in the form of GE's Man-Mate.