Robot Archaeology: the Big Trak #Robots #ReverseEngineering
Another robot from back in the day:
BIG TRAK is a programmable electric vehicle created by Milton Bradley in 1979, resembling a futuristic Sci-Fi tank / utility vehicle, possibly for use on the Moon or a Planetoid style environment. The original Big Trak was a six-wheeled (two-wheel drive) tank with a front-mounted blue “photon beam” headlamp, and a keypad on top. The toy could remember up to 16 commands, which it then executed in sequence.
In 2010, BIG TRAK was relaunched in the form of a slightly modified replica (cosmetically very similar to the original U.K. bigtrak), produced under licence by Zeon Ltd. There is also a small dedicated Internet community who have reverse engineered the BIG TRAK and the Texas Instruments TMS1000 microcontroller inside it. (Wikipedia)
Robotroom.com has information on how the community has opened these vehicles up to reverse engineer and tinker with these programmable marvels.
The Big Trak’s brain is a 4-bit TMS1000 microcontroller running at approximately 0.2 MHz (at 6 clock cycles per instruction that’s 0.033 MIPS). Members of that chip family were used a lot in calculators and consumer appliances. It cost less than $3 at the time, in quantity.
If you are interested in checking this ‘bots capabilities, see this article on the possibilities.
Are you a vintage robot fan? Let us know in the comments below.
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