item #7-254 by Tiger

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This is the second incarnation of Dr. Michael Freeman's robot 2-XL. The first was produced by Mego and used 8-track tapes instead of the more modern (at least for it's time) cassette tapes. Also, this 2-XL can run on batteries, whereas the original was AC only! An AC powered child's toy would never be allowed in todays politically correct climate. And yet, here we still are...

Anyway, like Mego's 2-XL before him, and Kasey the Kinderbot after him, this is designed to make education fun. You'd purchase 'programs' and games on cassette, which would come with a booklet and possibly game pieces to add to the interactive appeal.

Of course I don't have any cassettes or booklets. I happened to find a 2-XL at the Thrift Store that actually had the original cassette in it! All I can say is that my girlfriend and I died laughing for over half an hour playing with this thing. He is totally amazing and a lot of fun! My request still stands, though - if you have any cassettes and/or booklets that you would like to contribute to this growing collection, you know the drill... email me!

   How It Works
Let's start with an explanation of how standard stereo cassettes work. The highway metaphor I used in describing the 8-track system on the original 2-XL won't work here, so we'll have to use something else. Draw four lines on a piece of paper, so that each line is under the previous one. Now number those lines one, two, three and four starting at the top. OK, on a cassette tape, those four lines are how the audio is recorded, with lines (or tracks) 1 and 3 representing the left and right channels of Side A and tracks 2 and 4 representing the left and right channels of Side B. The head (an electro-magnetic pickup) on a cassette player only has two pickup coils that read the audio off the tape. When you insert a cassette tape in the player with Side A facing you, those coils will line up with tracks 1 and 3 on the tape. If you turn the tape over and insert Side B facing you, then the coils in the head will line up with tracks 2 and 4.

Now on 2-XL, the cassette head has four pickup coils. That means that it can read any on the tracks without you having to turn the tape over by simply switching from one coil to another. When you play a 2-XL program tape, he will introduce himself, tell a joke or two and ask you a question. Then you are asked to press a button corresponding to your answer - either A, B, C or D. If you press A, then the coil on the head that lines up with track one is switched on and the audio there is played. If you press B, then the coil lined up with track 2 is selected. C switches to the coil for track 3 and D switches to the coil for track 4. A different response to your answer, either wrong or right, is recorded on each track at that position, so regardless of which track you select, 2-XL seems to understand and react to your response. With careful planning, the tapes creators were able to achieve what appeared to be intelligence. I know how it works and it still amazes me!

It should be obvious that I am not a teacher. If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact me. Hopefully, though, this is now as clear to you as it is in my mind...

Year Released: 1992
Original Price: $ ???

Technical Specifications:
Power Supply: 4 x D batteries

Dimensions: 10½" tall x 9" wide
Weight: 2 lbs

Click Here To Download the 2-XL Owner's Manual