Topo (robot)

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Topo is a robot designed in the 1980s by Androbot Inc., for the consumer and education markets. It was programmable via Apple II and there was also a user made program for the Windows 9x operating systems. The programming language allows the robot to perform a set of geometric movements, to move about a room and perform tasks. It was like a servant robot, although it did not truly meet the requirements of a robot, as it had no sensors to use to receive input and then make decisions accordingly.[1]

The robots were sold commercially starting in early 1983, and were intended to be inexpensive, lacking a complicated manipulating device. Units were beige molded plastic with two drive wheels as "feet" and stood about 36" tall. Arms on Topo 1 and 2 would fold out, but Topo 3 lacked arms all together. Operation was based on one of two programming languages, either Apple BASIC, a modified version of the Logo language, or a version of Forth.

Communication was via a radio or infrared transmitter attached to a personal computer. Topo 2 and 3 used an infrared transmitter, and could be controlled by a four way pad on the top of their head that also served as the infrared receiver.

In its final versions, Topo abilities included a text-to-speech processor, so that users could program their robots to wander around the house and "speak" to humans. However, a fourth model was made but it never went into production (a Topo IV sheet was mailed during the final days of Androbot). It was more like the B.O.B. (Brains On Board, an unreleased robot that was produced after the Topo series) robot than a Topo.

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