I am nutty about robots. As a kid I have always wanted one and as an adult I have kept a close eye on the robot world looking for a bot that will finally be the electronic best friend I have always wanted. Over the years some robots have caused more of an infatuation than others. In the mid eighties, one of those robots was RB5X by the RB Robot Corporation. I would like to say I wanted him because I thought his capabilities were impressive, and they were for the time period.
No, I wanted RB5X because he kind of looked like one of the coolest robots to ever grace the big screen, R2-D2. Yes, it was just that simple. I wanted to live the Star Wars lifestyle and most of the commercial bots I saw did not resemble Artoo or Threepio, but RB5X with his domed head and cylinder body fit the bill perfectly. Plus it didn’t hurt that this particular piece of tech was featured on the arcade game show, “Starcade“.
Here we see a report about RB5X from 1984, when the promise of a robotic future still seemed likely.
Nowadays RB5X is still being manufactured and the capabilities have improved. This fabulous bot has infrared sensing, ultrasound sonar, 8 sensors/bumpers, voice synthesizer, and an optional 5 axis armature that can lift a full pound. It can also play interactive games with up to 8 people and programs can be written and downloaded from any computer including Macintosh, DOS, Windows and Linux/Unix. Plus it still looks awesome.