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.

radio shack armatron robotic arm

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.


Updated: 29 October 2021

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Armatron value and price guide

What's your Armatron worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
rare armatron working complete boxed Rare Armatron Working Complete Boxed 11/2021 £89.00
radio shack armatron robot arm toy see description Radio Shack Armatron Robot Arm Toy See Description 11/2021 £29.99
armatron echovision rear obstacle detection system Armatron Echovision Rear Obstacle Detection System 11/2021 £74.21
armatron tandy robot arm toy 1980s spares repair Armatron Tandy Robot Arm Toy 1980s Spares Repair 11/2021 £27.82
radio shack super armatron in original box nice tested Radio Shack Super Armatron In Original Box Nice Tested 11/2021 £29.69
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices12/2021£-.--

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