I haven't had a chance to fool around with him much, but he seems capable of everything that was promised in his ads. He walks (or rather rolls), he talks... I look forward to many great adventures with my new friend :)
Ok... Ok... things like that just do not happen to me very often! About a week ago, I got an email from a guy who said that he had a Hubot that he was looking to get rid of. 'Hmm... A Hubot, you say?' Well that had my attention. After several more emails, I found out that the guy I was corresponding with was a Mr. Don Skinner - who had been with Hubotics throughout the entire Hubot endeavour. Talking to the people responsible for bringing robotics into our homes is one of the reason I run this web site. I never tire of robotic-lore - especially when it comes first hand.
Anyway, a few more emails and a phone call or two, and Mr. Skinner offers me his personal Hubot... for free. Just pay shipping. I mean, what kind of a fool would I be to turn down an offer like that. Just in case anyone else is looking to ship a Hubot, let me tell you - it is not cheap. But with only about 75 or 80 ever shipped from the factory, finding a working example in as good condition is this one is was worth it to me. He even came with his own personalized cordura fabric cover!
When he arrived (the UPS guy is used to delivering robots to the shop by now, so nothing surprises him anymore - "Another robot, huh?"), luckily I was caught up on work, because nothing else even got looked at that day! The original battery was still in him, but it was of course dead. And I do mean dead - not even half a volt! I cleaned the oxidation off the connector to the interface board and, using a lawnmower battery that I had in stock, pressed the Power button and... Voila! His screen lit up and he informed me, in a cool retro-robotic voice, that "the disk [was] not ready". So here I sit at an impasse...
Hubot was marketed as the ultimate servant, teacher, entertainer and mobile computer. We're talking about a full-featured CP/M computer with speech synthesis, 12" black-and-white television, Atari video game system and an AM/FM stereo cassette deck on wheels! Now if that isn't awesome, I don't know what is...
The body is a single mold of polyethylene plastic, which the company claimed was "... nearly indestructible." Supposedly, you couldn't scratch or break the body even with a hammer. Yeah, right. I deal with broken plastic everyday trying to restore these robots. You could even purchase an optional cordura fabric protective cover to keep your servant dust-free. OMG!
Unfortunately, Mr. Skinner verified that none of the 'Planned Options' were ever realized. Selling fewer robots that they had originally hoped (the plan was to sell over 2000 units), further development on the Hubot project was cancelled. However, the vacuum cleaner attachment was being designed and tested, but it was never released to the public.
Year Released: 1984
Dimensions: 22" diameter x 45" high
Some information and specifications listed here are taken from TAB Books' "The
Personal Robot Book" by Texe Marrs - ISBN # 0-8306-1896-1