The Armatron is a toy robot which was made by TOMY in the early 1980s and distributed by Radio Shack (Tandy) in the US. The arm is almost purely mechanical and with no electronic components. The only electrical components are the DC motor, switch contacts in the countdown timer, on/off switch, and the batteries. The two joysticks selectively engage or disengage gears on a set of rotating drums to control the arm's movement. It resembles a remote manipulator, also known as a telefactor, telemanipulator, or waldo (after the 1942 short story "Waldo" by Robert A. Heinlein which features a man who invents and uses such devices). Models with alternate decals or coloring were marketed under slightly different names, including the Super Armatron and the Armatron II.
Like the Tomy pinball games, the entire toy is powered by a single motor that drives a transmission of sorts. The two joysticks manipulate the transmission to rotate shafts that use more gears to extend the length of the arm. Its shape resembles industrial robots of the 1980s, though it is strictly user-controlled, with no automation built in. The arm has six degrees of freedom: unlimited wrist rotation, vertical wrist flexing, horizontal elbow bending, unlimited shoulder horizontal rotation, shoulder elevation, and the releasing and grasping of the two-fingered end-effector.
There was also a Super Armatron and a Mobile Armatron. Super Armatron appears to be an updated marketing package that is otherwise identical to the original. Mobile Armatron appears to be an electrically actuated toy controlled by a tethered remote and really has nothing in common with the original Armatron.
The Tomy Armatron runs on two "D" cell batteries.
What's your Armatron worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.
|Radio Shack Tandy Super Armatron Works||10/2021||$38.00|
|Radio Shack Armatron Mechanical Arm Modules Canisters||10/2021||$200.00|
|1980s Armatron Radio Shack Robotic Arm Tested Works||10/2021||$41.99|
|Radioshack Armatron 60 2364 Tested Works Box||10/2021||$91.99|
|See all sold items on eBay for more prices||12/2021||$-.--|