I have found very little [edit: online] regarding this totally awesome marriage of robotics and computers. Everything that I know [edit: officially] about this comes from this one ad in a December 1986 issue of RUN magazine.
At the time the ad was released, the software was available for the Commodore 64 and 128 computers with Apple, Atari and IBM versions to be released later. I'm not sure whether or not they were ever released. Software features included an oscilloscope and a voltmeter. Programming was accomplished with BASIC-style commands that provided for precise timing, counting and switching as well as speed and direction control of up to three motors at a time.
On the hardware side, the package included over 50 Capsela components, including two motors and numerous sensors. Other parts and modules were available separately. All of the electronics were controlled by what is called and "electronic control unit" that resembles a Lego Mindstorms controller.
From: "Brent Erickson" <*********@**********.***>
I ran across your post about wanting a Multibotics Robotic Workshop and that led me to your page. Your site has lots of great stuff.
I am actually one of the original developers of the Robotic Workshop. I was the fifth employee of Access Software clear back in 1984. The Robotic Workshop was a great project. The hardware was designed by a guy named Steve Witzel. Myself and a guy named Kevin Homer wrote the C64 version of the software. I actually did do an Apple II version of the software as well but at the same time the whole project was sold to a toy company in New York someplace. After that, I don't know what happened to it.
I don't know a lot about the hardware but I can tell you a bit about the software. We basically added keywords to the built-in Basic language (this was a quite a task on the Apple!!) so that a user could write any Basic program they wanted and either send out signals or get signals back from the hardware. We wrote the underlying assembly code that would "step" the motors and handle all the timing and such. It was a very fun project.
I wish I knew what happened to all the packages we had but they are long gone. I actually have two "development" packages that, I don't think, are complete. I don't know if I want to part with them however, more for nostalgia than anything else. But I'll think about it.
But, regardless, I thought you might like some additional information on the project. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try my best to answer them (that was many, many years ago, so no guarantees J ).
Year Released: 1986
Click Here to Download the Robotic Workshop Owner's Manual