Free Range Technology

Update: Well I’ll Be Damned

Not Armatron! But exactly the same with different stickers!

I got curious today while I was astonishingly bored killing time working, and decided to see if I could get my hands on an Armatron, just for nostalgia’s sake. Sadly, I discovered they were remarkably difficult to find. Until, that is, I learned that they were still in production!

Also not Armatron! But also exactly the same, only in eye-searing colours!

It turns out that identical clones of the Armatron can still be purchased through some of those funky “science-toy” shops you will occasionally see in malls. Also, through some websites. Be still my heart!

There was one, produced for the Smithsonian Institution (presumably for their gift shop), called the Bio Arm. It does seem that it has gone out of production now, which is really too bad, as it may have been the best-looking version, aside from the classic 80’s blue plastic original.

Fear not, however, as the Discovery Channel has their own version, called the Spark Robotic Arm, which is apparently available on their website, although I’ll be damned if I can find it.

Just think! Soon, we can all have Armatron tournaments, where we move very small objects from one side of the table to the other!

If anyone figures out how to automate them and connect them to the internets, I want in.

  • "If anyone figures out how to automate them and connect them to the internets, I want in."

    I wouldn't be surprised if there was an app for that.

  • P161911

    We used the super duper adult version of an Armatron when I worked at a cell phone manufacturer. It was a robotic arm that could be programmed to do repetitive testing. For example, punch a key 10,000 times and see if it still works or rub a pencil eraser on the finish 5,000 times to see if it wears off.

    The coolest robotic toy I had as a kid was BigTrak.
    <img src="http://www.robotroom.com/BigTrak/BigTrak.jpg"width=500&gt;

    A toy so cool the Russians copied it!
    <img src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_W0t8uzz2jLU/R1u9TNugfEI/AAAAAAAAAVw/k1m9xRAerBI/ussr_bigtrak2.jpg"width=500&gt;

  • Mr_Biggles

    It's no Armatron, but Edmund Scientific offers up a robot arm that you can also get a USB interface and software for. I'm not so savvy on these things, but if you can hook it to a PC, you should be able to hook it to the internets, right? Make it so, and we could all take turns driving it from the Toaster.
    <img src="http://www.scientificsonline.com/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/348x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/3/0/3081288.jpg&quot; width="500">

  • chrystlubitshi

    i was never lucky enough to have an armatron… though a couple of my friends did… coolest (powered) toy i had was a tow truck that was battery powered, 4×4, with 2-wheel- high/low selection, 4 wheel high-low selection, two forward speeds, one reverse, a working tow boom, and headlights! it was all controlled by joysticks on the roof of the cab (there were 2 up there, plus a switch for the lights) i don't believe it had any way to turn… but it was a lot of fun to put it in 4-low and watch it climb up all kinds of obstacles and hills or just pulling around model cars and other toys.. i played with that thing for years… and it was actually the reason i started using rechargeable batteries (it took 4 C-cells). I wonder if it's still around my parents house… i would totally play with that again…

  • Armatron. Wrestling.

    Yeah, that sounds as awesome typed as in my brain.

  • And we could all have pancakes!

    [youtube W_gxLKSsSIE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_gxLKSsSIE youtube]

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