Verbot: Tomy's Voice Controlled Robot
If we're talking robots, we need to talk Tomy. In the 1980's, Tomy had a really impressive lineup of robots that ranged from small windup toys, up to a trashcan sized robot that you could program to serve and hand out drinks. In between were several models of sophisticated toy robots, and Verbot was among the most interesting.
Though it may look like any other remote control toy, Verbot had an important difference - it was voice controlled (oh, and he's one of the few toy robots that can pick stuff up and cart it around). Before operating Verbot, you'd record eight commands for his eight functions into the robot itself. The remote was merely a microphone to transmit your eight spoken desires into his alkaline powered brain.
How well did it work? I was going to test this one out, but didn't have the staggering number of batteries that it seemed to need. I do remember my neighbor having one when they were new, and the voice control was a little sketchy. We were a bit disappointed, but now I'm actually quite impressed.
I remember many 80's era catalogs featuring many models of household robots on the promise that every robot would soon have a robo servant of some kind. Most were impractical, unaffordable, or vaporware. Tomy is one of the few companies to actually deliver a varied line of workable robots that kept both kids and adults fascinated.