R.O.B., or the Robotic Operating Buddy, was a robot that was designed to play the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with you. I bought my R.O.B from a neighbor who was frustrated with it since it only played a single game that he owned. I enjoyed playing the game with the robot, but after some time I too got a little bored of this one-trick pony. I was at a stage in my life where I was just starting to take things apart and modify them to see what else they could do. In the case of R.O.B., I wanted to make him mobile. I removed the two motors in R.O.B.’s arms. Then I took apart an old RC car, stripped the wires on both systems, and merged the two platforms. Once you turned on R.O.B., he would start driving around a bit while the robot performed what used to be it’s calibration routine. Then, if I sat the robot in front of a TV running the Nintendo game that accompanied the robot, I could get R.O.B. to move forward, backwards, and turn. The downside was that once it turned, it couldn’t see the TV anymore. This was a minor drawback to a fun weekend project. I later went on to write a letter to Nintendo Power describing my robot, which they published in July of 1996 (issue 86).
At some point, I took the robot outside and figured out I could wave my hand in front of the robot’s eyes to get it to move. Different waves of my hand would simulate the different screen flash patterns that the Nintendo game used to control the robot.