I remember being on some long bus trip with some kids from school and we were all hovering around the tiny screen as the various VHF signals came in and out as we drove on the interstate. 5 seconds of solid signal was miraculous and we all watched in awe.
I guess if I'd been a bit more prescient in my teenage years I'd have started working on YouTube right away! ;)
It was an even lower resolution than Super Mario Bros 3 as you could tell it couldn't show every pixel, so it was probably something like 120p. It seemed like half the resolution of SMB3 which is 256x224.
But it felt like the future. :)
I didn't buy it because I had no use for it, and now I can't find any references to it anywhere. I suppose its essential uselessness caught up with it, no matter how cool. I wish I'd bought one :(
The engineering is amazing.
I personally think they showed absolute mastery of the subject with the release of the Tomy Armatron.
It may not seem possible, but that 5 axis robot arm was completely mechanical. The entire drive system was powered by a single 3 volt DC motor that ran on two D-cells.
It had two joysticks for control; each had, IIRC, 4-way directional control, along with stick rotation mechanically coupled to a complex transmission system that controlled each axis (I believe the rotation of the stick controlled on one side the jaws of the gripper, while the other controlled rotation of the wrist).
It really is the most complex manual transmission control scheme you can imagine.
It was built upon years of similarly complex systems for various tabletop "games" (Atomic Pinball, for instance), as well as weird mechanical and electronic systems for their various entertainment robots they created (culminating in the Omnibot robot line).
Check it all out if you ever have the chance. Most of these robots have become collectors items (and should be treated as such for the most part), but the Armatron was mass produced and licensed all over the place, with Radio Shack being the main outlet in the day; you can find used RS-licensed Armatrons all over Ebay cheaply. In fact, there's so many RS Armatrons available, you hardly ever see an actual Tomy branded one (if you ever find one, especially NIB, and it's cheap - grab it and hold onto it).
There are more than a few articles on the internet detailing how to modify the Armatron to connect it to a computer (back in the day, the common machine to do this with was an Apple or Commodore). Many of these articles have tear-down images showing the inner workings of the Armatron.
I actually beat Mega Man on the NES... using a Game Gear with the TV Tuner as the screen.
One vehicle I would love to purchase - if it ever makes it to market - but one that I doubt I'll be able to, is the Ox Global Vehicle Trust flatpack truck:
Those trucks just look so damn useful and neat, and you get to put it together yourself!
Which means it'll never see the light of day being sold in the United States. I've kinda figured that if I ever want a vehicle like that, I'll have to design and build it from scratch myself.
Since we can't get analog TV signal anymore, I'd love to have retrofitted this with Raspberry Pi since this TV-radio has a VCR (assuming standard RCA) input and Raspberry Pi has the analog video output.
I can only imagine what 2" (at 55MPH) looks like.
But were these laws on the books back in the 80's when this item would have been newly on the market?
Since laws often occur in a reactive manner, it is very likely these laws were not yet on the books, and when it was new it would not have been illegal at that time.
Looks like NY's law against TV use in cars dates to 1974, Texas's to 1995.
Honestly, radio as a hacker hobby is still absolutely a blast. If you're into breaking out a shortwave radio receiver or HAM equipment there's all sorts of wild stuff out there just waiting to be discovered - same with satellite wildfeeds and free OTA television, honestly. It carries a bit more magic than the Internet since it's all around us just waiting to be picked out of the air.
I always figured that it was either leaking out from the cable, or maybe a TV or something wasn't shielded well enough. I'm out of my depth on that though, so I'd just be guessing.
The FCC is allowing analog TV stations on channel 6 to stay on the air to serve as an additional FM signal for the market. There's one in Chicago, and a few others around the country I've seen.
Technically, they're all supposed to be off the air, but the deadline keeps getting pushed back since they serve a useful function in an already crowded FM band.