Robotic Workshop
item # MB230 by Capsela / Access Software

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As of September 19th 2010, I am the proud owner of a Capsela Robotics Workshop set! Kevin P. contacted me with an intact kit that he had contemplated using as organ donor for his own robotic endeavours. Luckily for the poor Robotic Workshop, I was able to persuade Kevin to allow the RW set to continue it's life here with me. I need to clean a little corrosion off the interface board (nothing major) and the box was more than a little torn (I was able to glue most of that back together using some Elmo's Glue), but other than that, this is a beautiful specimen. Now I have a reason to pull one of my many C64s back out and find all of my errant Capsela kits!

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.

I was surprised to receive an email from a Brent Erickson, one of the original developers of the Robotic Workshop! That sort of honor is the reason that I keep working on this web site. I really do appreciate when my hard work is noticed, especially by someone of such renown. I have posted a copy of that email here if you'd like to read it:

Year Released: 1986
Original Price: $150

Technical Specifications:
Power Supply: 4 x AA batteries

Click Here to Download the Robotic Workshop Owner's Manual
Click Here for a Copy of the Color Disc and
Click Here for a Copy of the Benham's (Black and White) Disc
You Can See the Advertisement in Run Magazine Here
You Can See a Review Write Up in Compute Magazine Here
(Courtesy of Craig Ernster)