Fast-paced, fun and informative, Modern Marvels is The History Channel's signature series focusing on historical technology. The series has focused (among other things) on wonders of ... See full summary »

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Lloyd Sherr ...
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Fast-paced, fun and informative, Modern Marvels is The History Channel's signature series focusing on historical technology. The series has focused (among other things) on wonders of construction (Erie Canal, the Pentagon, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, the Big Dig), the machinery of war (nuclear submarines, tanks) as well as technology linked to the everyday (power tools, home tech, garbage). Written by Anonymous

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technology | educational | See All (2) »

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If it changes your life, chances are it's a Modern Marvel!


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TV-PG | See all certifications »

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1 January 1995 (USA)  »

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Maravilhas Modernas  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the opening title sequence, an adjustable crescent wrench is seen turning a nut yet the sound of a ratchet wrench is heard. See more »

Connections

Featured in House M.D.: Airborne (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A review of the Robots episode
4 December 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Modern Marvels' episode takes a look at the history of mobile robots in the United States. The show begins with the original Shaky and Stanford Cart, all the way up to the massive field robots developed by Red Whittaker at Carnegie Mellon to deal with nuclear accidents. It's particularly interesting because there really weren't any machines (robots or otherwise) capable of dealing with these sorts of disasters before Whittaker and his team began developing them.

While some have criticized Japan for failing to build practical robots capable of dealing with situations like the Fukushima plant, the United States was in the same position when the meltdown occurred at the Three Mile Island reactor. Whittaker jokes that the start-up he founded was the robotics equivalent of an ambulance chaser, making bank on the backs of disasters as they happened. It then goes into some of the early legged robots and autonomous vehicles.

Though it does touch very lightly on humanoids, it almost goes out of its way to tiptoe around Japan's dominance in that area (perhaps not to upset WW2 buffs, the History Channel's target demographic). Instead of Japanese humanoids (of which only familiar clips of Honda's P2 are shown despite the episode airing in 2004!), it focuses on the comparably simplistic animatronics for entertainment and Nolan Bushnell's failed household robotics venture Androbot. Even though our beloved humanoids are not the focus of the episode, it's still a history lesson worth taking, though its American bias is slightly annoying.

Modern Marvels also did a couple of episodes with robotic tangents ("Super Human" has a short segment on Raytheon SARCOS's exoskeleton).


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