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Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Search this
Massie, Thomas  Search this
McLurkin, James  Search this
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  Search this
SensAble Technologies (formerly SensAble Devices, Inc.)  Search this
Judd, Michael  Search this
1 Cubic foot (3 boxes, 5 hours)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Oral history
1995; 1997.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of approximately 5 hours of original, master and reference video footage and photographs, documenting Thomas H. Massie and James McLurkin in 1995 and 1997. Massie invented the Phantom Haptic Interface, an electronic device giving existing computer technology the ability to simulate the sense of touch. James McLurkin invented a community of microrobotic ants that detect food, pass messages, and pick up small objects. Both inventors discuss their inventions and potential applications, as well as their backgrounds and experience as student inventors.
The collection is divided into four series. Series 1: Orginal Videos Series 2: Master Videos Series 3: Reference Videos Series 4: Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
Thomas Massie was born in West Virginia in 1969 and grew up in Vanceburg, Kentucky. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1993 with a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and a masters in Mechanical Engineering in 1995. AT MIT's Artificial Intelligence (AI) Laboratory Massie developed, with his adviser J. Kenneth Salisbury, a principal research scientist at the AI Lab, and later built, a prototype system that provides users with surprisingly vivid tactile impressions of nonexistent virtual objects. Massie's invention is called the Phantom Haptic Interface. In August of 1993, Massie and Salisbury established SensAble Devices Inc., in Cambridge, MA to manufacture the arm. Massie later changed the name of the company to SensAble Technologies. James McLurkin was raised in Baldwin, New York and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1995 with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. McLurkin built upon the earlier work of robot communities. Each robot is essentially identical to Cleo, a micro-robot he designed that was once considered as a basis for a remote-controlled colon surgery device. Each robot ant has a pair of tiny treads powered by a battery and two motors taken from vibrating beepers. The robots are guided away from the objects they hit and toward illumination sources by antennae and light sensors, and they also have mandibles powered by a third motor to pick up bits of food--quarter inch balls of crumpled brass.
This collection was created by the Innovative Lives Program of The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation on October 27, 1995. The Innovative Lives series brings young people and American inventors together to discuss inventions and the creative process and to experiment and play with hands-on activities related to each inventor's product.
Collection is open for research but the original videos are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions. Signed releases on file, but releases not available for Western School students.
Electronic engineers -- 20th century  Search this
Artificial intelligence -- 20th century  Search this
Computer science  Search this
Inventions -- 20th century  Search this
Electronics -- 20th century  Search this
Microrobotics  Search this
Inventors -- 20th century  Search this
Remote-control -- 20th century  Search this
Robotics -- 20th century  Search this
Slides (Photography)  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Videotapes -- 1990-2000
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Oral history -- 1990-2000
Massie/McLurkin Innovative Lives Presentation and Interviews, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Massie/McLurkin Innovative Lives Presentation and Interviews
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History