Topo (robot)

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Developer William H.T. La[1][2]
Manufacturer Androbot Inc.[3][4][5][6][7]
Type robot
Release date 1983 (1983)[8][9]
Introductory price US$495 (equivalent to $1,216 in 2017)[9]
Discontinued TOPO I - April 1984 (1984-04)[10]
Units sold 120[9]
Units shipped 650[9]
Successor TOPO II, TOPO III, BOB, BOB/XA, FRED, ANDROMAN[11][12][13]

Topo is a robot designed in the 1980s by Androbot Inc., for the consumer and education markets. It was programmable via Apple II and there was also a user made program for the Windows 9x operating systems[citation needed]. The programming language allows the robot to perform a set of geometric movements, to move about a room and perform tasks. It was like a servant robot, although it did not truly meet the requirements of a robot, as it had no sensors to use to receive input and then make decisions accordingly.[14][15][16]

The robots were sold commercially starting in early 1983, and were intended to be inexpensive, lacking a complicated manipulating device. Units were beige molded plastic with two drive wheels as "feet" and stood about 36 inches tall. Arms on Topo 1 and 2 would fold out, but Topo 3 lacked arms altogether. Operation was based on one of two programming languages, either Apple BASIC, a modified version of the Logo language, or a version of Forth.

Communication was via a radio or infrared transmitter attached to a personal computer. Topo 2 and 3 used an infrared transmitter, and could be controlled by a four way pad on the top of their head that also served as the infrared receiver.

In its final versions, Topo abilities included a text-to-speech processor, so that users could program their robots to wander around the house and "speak" to humans. However, a fourth model was made but it never went into production (a Topo IV sheet was mailed during the final days of Androbot). It was more like the B.O.B. (Brains On Board, an unreleased robot that was produced after the Topo series) robot than a Topo.


  1. ^ TOPO II OWNER'S MANUAL, Acknowledgements: ...The original product concept and the name "TOPO" were developed by William H.T. La
  2. ^ Fetal I Robot, , Fetal I Robot - Fetal-I an omnidirectional base designed by William H T La. Fetal I is a TOPO at heart with a new wood exteriour and new wheels., The Old Robots Web Site
  3. ^ Androbot Topo and BOB Robots The Old Robot's Web Site
  4. ^ Meet the Androbots (TOPO I, TOPO II, TOPO III, BOB, BOB/XA, FRED, Androman, and the Axlon robots),
  5. ^ Will The Robot Be Father To The Industry?, Published on: Mar 1, 1983,
  6. ^ When The Magic Goes, Published on: Oct 1, 1984,
  7. ^ Merrill Lynch Bullish on Robot, By Michael Schrage, 1983-07-06, The Washington Post
  8. ^ Review: Androbot's Topo, By Michael A. Tyborski, COMPUTE! ISSUE 42 / NOVEMBER 1983 / PAGE 156
  9. ^ a b c d Robot-maker Androbot pulls stock offering, By Kathy Chin, InfoWorld, 14 Nov 1983
  10. ^ TOPO Gets new lease on life: Robot now operates with Commodore, IBM computers, By Peggy Watt, InfoWorld 14 May 1984, Page 12-13
  11. ^ A Small World: Smart Houses and the Dream of the Perfect Day, By Davin Heckman, Page 53, ...Throughout the early 1980s, Androbot Incorporated released a number of personal robots, including, TOPO I, TOPO II, TOPO III, BOB, BOB/XA, FRED, ANDROMAN...
  12. ^ BOB, PC Mag 21 Aug 1984, Page 142-143
  13. ^ People:Nolan Bushnell, By Denise Caruso, InfoWorld, 30 Apr 1984, Page 16, Nolan Bushnell desires a robot with a more shapely configuration. ... BOB/XA (Brains on Board/Expandable Androbot), the latest personal robot from Androbot
  14. ^ Topo: The world's first personal robots, from Androbot.
  15. ^ Picture, Tom Frisina, president of Androbot Inc., holds a Topos model personal robot. He sits in front of a background showing the surface of the moon, with the earth hanging in the sky above. The robot is designed to perform everyday tasks around the house., March 05, 1983, Credit: Corbis, Getty Images
  16. ^ Picture, Tom Frisina, president of Androbot Inc., holds a sensor for a Topos model personal robot. The robot is designed to perform everyday tasks around the house., March 05, 1983, Credit: Corbis, Getty Images

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