hubot

Hubot was the Robot Buddy I Wish I Had

I run into this guy last year when I payed a visit to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California. He was on exhibit with other robots but Hubot was the one that stuck out to me. He was advertised as “the first home robot that’s a personal companion, educator, entertainer and sentry …and he can talk!”. That sounds like something I would have loved to have this as a kid in the 80’s. Unfortunately the $3495.00 would have made that impossible.

The guts of Hubot contained a proprietary SysCon Computer with 3 Zilog Z80a processors, 128k of ram, slide out/detachable keyboard, a 5-1/4” disk drive and a built in 12” b/w monitor that would display a face that would move when it talked. There was also a Voice Synthesizer with a 1200 word vocabulary and an “Obstacle Sensing Processor” collar to detect objects that were in its way.

Here’s a quick run down of his features

  • A personal computer running CP/M 2.2 and “Hucomm Instruction Language”
  • He could entertain with AM/FM radio cassette deck.
  • The monitor could also be used to watch tv programs.
  • There is a built in Atari 2600 that you play using the monitor
  • There was a voice option that included a Microphone so he would understand voice commands.
  • Unfortunately sales of Hubot were poor, from what I read approximately 75 were sold, so developments of proposed options were never completed. These options included:

  • Obstacle Avoidance Package (as I understand it if Hubot detected an obstacle it would stop an await instructions. This package would have it figure out how to get around it by itself)
  • Burglar and Fire Alarm
  • Arm and Hand
  • Drink Tray
  • Vacuum Cleaner Attachment
  • Graphic Path planning on the Monitor
  • Battery level detector and self-recharging (Hubot would detect if it was low on power and return to its charging base)
  • Here’s a demo from youtube with Hubot in action.

    I’ll leave you with one last picture. Here’s a kid playing Atari on Hubot maybe 3D Tic-Tac-Toe or Yars Revenge and you may also notice a HERO 1 from Heathkit in the background

    6 thoughts on “Hubot was the Robot Buddy I Wish I Had

    1. Great post, Blinddog! I can admit that I’ve never heard of this particular robotic companion…boy…I wish I did have a Hubot.

      @Drahken From the Wiki: “The robot is identified by robotic engineers as “SICO” and is/was a member of the Screen Actors Guild and toured with James Brown in the 1980s.”

    2. Atari Adventure Square says:

      Hubot is something out of my wildest sci-fi dreams!

      I can hardly imagine a better robot butler.
      Of course it needs an upgrade of all TNG eps, a Jamieson tap and a hidden stash of Reese’s PBC.

      I’m placing my order today.

    3. bard says:

      Hubot = classic real eletronic robot ! :) He has real robo voice, REAL ELETRONIC (not modern tiny ****) . “brain” – working floppy , and is functional :) Only old Zilog z80a – and more features :):):):) Is very nice

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