Well, I am completely blown away. A package just arrived from a friend in England. Inside was a retro toy from the 1950s (I'm sure the one I have is a modern reproduction).
This used to be so cool. I had one when I was a little boy. You could use it to ask questions on all sorts of trivia, including nature, history, sports... you name it. And then the robot would tell you the correct answer.
The robot itself was a piece of plastic a few inches tall. It stood on a weighted base and it had a pointer sticking out of one hand. The idea is that there was a circle of questions on the left-hand side of the board. The base of the robot had a protrusion at the back that slotted into a notch on the board.
First, you turned the robot so that its pointer was indicating the question of interest. Then you moved the robot over to a mirrored surface on the other side of the board, and it spun round to point at the correct answer.
This was, of course, all done with magnets, but who knew that when you were a kid? From my perspective at the time, the way in which this toy worked truly was a mystery. Here's a video I just took showing this little beauty in action:
Of course, those were more innocent times. This little toy is laughably simple when you compare it to the technology we have today, with smartphones and tablets and hexacopters and robots with incredibly sophisticated sensors and controllers.
All I can say is that it really was magical in its time. Did you have one of these little beauties as a kid? Or do you remember another toy that was -- perhaps -- the height of technology in its day, but that has been eclipsed by ongoing developments?