Sassy disco bots of the 80s

Surely, this is a glimpse into the future. No? Ok, its a glimpse into 1983. A small chinese fast-food restaurant in California put two 4.5 foot tall, 180 pound robots to work delivering food. Tanbo R-1 and Tanbo R-2 were their names and delivering food was their game. At least, when there wasn’t radio interference or their batteries were running low.  They were built to deliver food to the tables and be polite to the customers. They also had some interesting quirky behavior, like responding “that’s not my problem” and dancing off to some disco music if they didn’t understand you.  Do yourself a favor and go read some of the stories. We wish we could have seen them in action, they sound fantastically absurd.


  1. soopergooman says:

    My friends father had one of these, back in the 80’s. he used it to entertain us at one of his Bday parties, I was 11 at the time. fun stuff and really coo. thanks fr the memories.

  2. a says:


  3. Conner says:

    Is that Jackie Chan behind the counter?

  4. soopergooman says:

    seriously guys, do ya gotta troll?

  5. Jeff L. Richtman says:

    I remember seeing these on some show about how robots would eventually replace workers. I imagine these robots are no longer running. Good times, I am still waiting for my hover car promised in the 50, 60, 70, etc.

  6. barryronaldo says:

    “Why oh why was I programmed to feel pain?”

    Very interesting read :) Thanks HaD :)

  7. Az says:

    I’d love to see one of these modernized with fresh sensory input and modern navigational code.
    Assuming the platform of the robots themselves aren’t too terrible, the mentioned shortcomings could be remedied by modern microcontrollers pretty readily

  8. NewCommentor1283 says:

    bak in da 80s we were in tha future man!


    still waiting on mine lol

  9. Hitek146 says:

    My Google-fu must be suffering… I cannot find any detailed information about these machines. Anyone have a link to more info?

  10. Alex says:

    In elementary school, we had a book about robots like this. All old clunky 80s technology, but very neat stuff nonetheless. I checked it out of the library just about every week.

  11. Jed says:

    YES!! I grew up in Pasadena and got to go here a couple of times as a little little kid. I was crushed when they went out of business.

  12. Erik says:

    They look like a big version of the RB5X. I’m sure they’re not, but purely from an atheistic view.

  13. kaluce says:

    Thinking about it, if they were upgraded with today’s technology, they might’ve done better. I’m impressed that they were able to do what they did with what they had then though. Today’s technology would provide them with much better voice recognition, better disco dancing, and less freakouts if a person moved in front of it.

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