|Twenty-five years ago, robot arms came in more shapes than Liquorice Allsorts|
Today's robot arms may have settled into safety-concious, smooth-skinned outlines with tried and tested mechanical layouts, but the early 8-bit versions varied wildly in their shapes and configurations and wore most of their works on the outside. Each arm had its own distinct personality, with its strengths and weaknesses making it best suited to a particular range of tasks. The Armdroid configuration was probably the most versatile and was certainly the most widely sold during the eighties - in its latest incarnations it's still in use in college robotics departments today. For the same reason, it's also probably the most widely found in 'preservation'.
Let me know if there are any Beeb arms I've missed out, especially if you have pictures or printed reference for them. Other arms I'm still collecting data on include the Beasty arm and it's tracked mobile base, Mentor, Gryphon, Niadd, Ivax and Ogre.
Some designs never sold much past the prototype stage and so would be very rare finds today. Nevertheless, I'd like eventally to include a section on every arm that was BBC B compatible, even if the only reference that exists is a one-paragraph news item about a 'pending' launch. Some designs were stillborn due to a lack of orders and at least one was aborted due to alleged legal action from a rival manufacturer (this was the Eric - formerly the Max 1 - from Flight Electronics, which was accused of being a rip-off of the Ogre design).