great robots & toys
from the space age



planet zero

Program-a-BOT, according to the instructions, dates from 2002 and comes from Silverlit Toys. His humanoid austronaut look seems somewhat modeled on Honda's Asimo humanoid robot. He's well-made of heavy white and black plastic and stands just under a foot high. He's shown here with a Maxi Pal (which seems like it should be called a Mini Pal) of about four inches, which interacts with Program-a-BOT. The Maxi Pal is wind-up and his head lights when you press his helmet. Pressing once, twice or three times signals Program-a-BOT to respectively go forward, turn left or turn right.

Two Program-a-BOTs can also interact if they're within two feet of each other. You can also activate him by clapping; clap in front or to one side and he moves  forward or in that direction. He's also controlled by buttons on his back pack. You can program up to 36 commands and then hit go and he'll execute them. The possible actions include forward, left, right, backward, kick and dance, in any sequence. He also has a room guard mode and an infared sensor to avoid obstacles.

His eyes light and his arms swing as he walks, and if inactive for a while he goes into sleep mode. My Program-a-BOT came with a Maxi-Pal labeled M-III. The rest of the "robot family" don't resemble him, but M III seems like a Mini- Me of Program-a-BOT. The box and instructions show other Maxi Pals, which I have not encountered.  The Maxi Pals take two button batteries for the light (which were included) and Program-a-BOT takes 4 AA batteries, two in each leg (not included).  Rather than another radio- controlled robot, Silverlit opted for a unique design which interacts with sound and light. creating a reasonably-priced, modern era robot.

Planet Zero