Piko toy computer car 70s

Maybe some heard of the Piko dat or Logikus educational computers. I now found on ebay this battery operated moon vehicle with programming stones. Kybernet from Piko (guarantee card reads “Computerauto” Computer car). East Germany, I think early 70s or late 60s.

Luckily, I also found parts of the manual
I think the start (position 1) is at the car here the upper yellow stone. Yellow means turn left (90 degrees), blue stone means go straight, no stone means turn right. The blue stones sits on inner holes, the yellow on the outer holes. If there are no stones at all set, it drives a circle clockwise.

Although this is probably pure mechanical I think this is a nice design (of both car and programming). Maybe to adopt to computerized robots.

Unfortunately it’s more than 1 bit as there’s not just left/right but also straight.

I wonder if this really was an own East German invention. And I wonder if there were similar toys.


There was Big Trak which had a keypad and presumably a microcontroller

But there was also a model car which took a cardboard strip. One cut variable depth notches on the two long sides. I suppose one side was steering and the other speed.


Vintage Hasbro Amaze-A-Matics Programmable Toy Car, “The Fantastic Car With A Brain”, Chevrolet Astrovette, Model 5850, Copyright 1969


Unsurprisingly, another TMS 1000, like so many electronic toys of the time.

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In the UK, there was a version of this called Computacar. On that one, one side of the strip controlled the steering, the other side selected forward, reverse, or neutral. The speed couldn’t be controlled. I had one late 60s / early 70s that was white and looked a bit like a Ford GT40. It came in the box with a few pre-cut demo cards, and a few that you could cut the notches for yourself, to try to make the car run over a course you set out, There were a few little cones in the box that you could use to define a course.
You needed a fairly big room or outside area with a flat smooth surface.
I think it only had one motor to run the whole thing off a couple of AA batteries. The motor was highly geared down to slowly suck the program card through the car, between a pair of pinch rollers, and a cam operating on one side of the card engaged a gearwheel to the same gear train to select forward, reverse, or neither. Meanwhile, the other side of the card acted as a cam to operate the steering. It took quite a long time for the whole program card to make its way through the car - maybe thirty seconds to a minute, depending on the state of the batteries.
Years later, I got the car down from the loft, and fitted it with radio control - with a couple of servos operating the controls in place of the cardboard ‘cam’ card.


Wasn’t Piko, besides other things, a manufacturer of model railways? I think, it should have been in their capabilities, considering this background in electric toys and related control. Notwithstanding any prior art by other manufacturers, of course, as such toy ideas tend to spread…

Yes. I wasn’t aware of that. Probably mainly known for trains. And they even still exist. And probably they were able for that invention. Not that difficult. Many things (ideas or designs) were copied from West Germany though. Like the Logikus.