RB5X Robot "The Intelligent Robot." This personal robot in 1984 had a list price of $2295.
Specifications: 13" in diameter, 23" high. 24 lbs, motor speed is 4" per second, sensory inputs: 8 bumper panels around perimeter, 1 photodiode under carriage, 1 sonar transducer Some additional information from a brochure included in the reference manual: "In Sept. 1982, RB Robot Corporation began marketing RB5X, the world's first mass-produced, popularly priced, working robot for home use and personal experimentation. The significance of this pioneering event is that it translated a formerly esoteric and expensive technology into a legitimate multipurpose robot that is now within the reach of millions.
Today RB5X and its options and accessories are available from a growing network of dealers throughout North American and around the world. One consequence of the introduction of personal robots has been an unprecedented demand for information on the subject. Many would like to learn more about these marvelous machines before investing in one. In response, RB Robot Corporation is offering a compendium of information on personal robots that we call our Robot Appreciation Kit.
This kit is designed to tell you more about home robots in general and the RB5X in particular, and to allow you to begin exploring the creative possibilities of adding a robot to you family. Personal robots have been in our imaginations for a long time. Now they have become a reality.
The RB5X Intelligent Robot is a sophisticated engineering effort whose microelectronics and machinery can be compared to the complex make-up of humans. Like a person, RB5X consists of a collection of subsystem "organs" that work together to make the robot function and become more than the sum of its parts, except that the comparatively crude organs consist of electronic and mechanical devices. Brain: RB5X brain is an on-board microprocessor, the INS8073 that works in conjunction with the robot's software to permit the RB5X to learn from its sensory experiences. Using this self learning software, the RB5X progresses from simple, random responses to eventual prediction of future events in its environment, based on analysis of past prediction of future events in its environment, based on analysis of past experience.
RB5X comes with 8K of memory standard, which can be upgraded with a 16K memory option.
Eyes: RB5X machine counterpart to eyes is a Polaroid Rangefinder sonar system that enables the robot to recognize and navigate around obstacles in its path.
Voice: RB5X can be equipped with an optional voice/sound synthesis system, permitting programmed speech, music, and a variety of sounds. Standard equipment includes a horn that can be programmed as an audio signal device.
Ears: For RB5X owners who communicate with their robots using an Apple II Plus Computer, there is a voice recognition option available that allows the robot to respond to your spoken commands.
Arm: An optional robotic arm/hand has five-way movement capability and is able to pick up, carry and release objects weighing 16 ounces or less. In its resting position, the arm stores completely inside RB5X's body.
Legs: RB5X's legs consist of two indepenently driven wheels and a castor support system that enables the robot to move freely about on relatively smooth surfaces and to turn on its own radius.
Touch: The RB5X relies on eight tactile sensors to signal contact with other objects. These bumpers can also be pressed to actuate specific programs that you feed into the robot.
Muscle: RB5X's energy system consists of high quality rechargeable batteries, a charger nest, and a special circuitry that permits the robot to sense when its batteries are low, to seek out its nest, and to recharge. A battery level indicator and battery protection circuit are standard. An optional Power Pack is also available, providing up to twice the operating time of RB5X's standard batteries.
Language: RB5X speaks Tiny BASIC that owners can communicate with the robot in simple English, using Robot Control Language with Savy, an optional software package.
How does RB5X work? Any or all of the individual capabilities can be programmed in specific combinations and sequences of action using any home computer with an RS-232 communications interface. Your home computer becomes the master brain that tells the robot's eyes, ears, voice, legs, or arm what to do and when to do it. You plug RB5X into the computer for instruction and then unleash it to exceute your instruction. Your imagination, translated through your home computer, is the medium by which the robot's many singular capabilities are crafted into specific applications. It is your own ingenuity that makes the robot become more than the sum of its parts. With an RB5X, the results of computer programming are not limited to a screen or a print-out, they can be seen and heard in the actions of a mobile, animated mechanism, an appealing way to sharpen programming skills and get more out of your home computer.
You can also use EPROM cartridges to give RB5X instant life. These pre-programmed chips serve the same function as a game cartridge: you plug them in, switch on the RB5X, and off it goes. An introductory EPROM is standard with each robot, and more are available from your dealer or RB Robot Corporation. What does a personal robot do? Within the limits of its individual component capabilities. RB5X can do just about anything you program it to do. It has been engineered to individualized applications. It can do everything from crack jokes and be the life of your next party, to cleaning rugs with its vacuuming option while you're away. Coupled with your programming ingenuity and hardware enhancements, RB5X has the potential to provide a mobile, home security function, entertain the kids and pets, come into the bedroom and wake you up, and serve as the perfect android butler. The possibilities are almost limitless. RB5X becomes a walking, talking mirror of your imagination."