Tomy Omnibot 2000 - Your Very Own Household Assistant
By James Grahame
Nothing says "Welcome home, Master" quite like your own robot butler offering up a half-gallon glass of cheap whiskey at the end of a long day. That, apparently, is what Tomy's marketing department had in mind for this stylish remote-controlled toy. Unfortunately, it requires a human slave to type the appropriate command sequences on the remote control.
The Omnibot 2000 features a wickedly cool pop-out cassette unit that can record and play back sequences of commands (it can also play music cassettes, if you happen to have any 1980s mix tapes lying around). A digital timer lets you schedule music playback or the start of a command sequence, so your Omnibot can function as a really annoying mobile alarm clock, too.
It goes without saying that many people saw the true potential of this little guy and it became possible to link the Omnibot to full-fledged personal computers like the Apple II. These days, you're more likely to come across one with a Parallax Basic Stamp hacked inside as an improved programmable brain.
Omnibot 2000s show up quite frequently on eBay in the $50 to $200 range, whiskey not included. By the way, this photo is from the Product Design Data Base, which features dozens of funky high-rez images of Japanese consumer products from the 1970s through the 1990s.