CyberMaster is a set (8482 and the rerelease 8483), as well as a technology for remote computer control of LEGO models. It is not actually a programmable brick per se but often gets lumped in with them since much technology is shared. There was an expansion set (8450) offered as well.
CyberMaster consists of three main components
- Computer Software - A software IDE of sorts lets you develop programs to control the remote. The IDE is integrated in with some story text, and with a constructopedia of possible models to build as a single install. Runs on Wintel only. The computer software executes the control program and operates the remote rather than (as with true programmable bricks) having the IDE download the program to the device.
- Transmitter - The Transmitter looks a lot like an RCX infrared transmitter (the serial port version), it's housed in a similar case and has an identical serial connector cable. The difference is that it has 2 radio aerials.
- Receiver - The receiver unit looks somewhat like a Manas or other IR remote drive device, it has an embedded battery compartment taking 6 1.5v AAs, motor drive output shaft connections, and an aerial. it has 2 internal motors and a number of sensor port connection points that work with Mindstorms sensors.
See the CyberMaster Peeron inventory for more details.
CyberMaster was only offered in the Australian, UK and German geographies. A few US fans have bootleg copies. It came in a self contained plastic case. The second release of the set (8483) was in a cardboard case instead for thrifting reasons.
It had a pretty good collection of parts but I am not sure it was very well received in the market.
CyberMaster vs. RCX
The CyberMaster and the RCX have many differences that make each one suitable for different tasks. In general, users choose the RCX, for reasons of availability and flexibility. In general, the memory space on the RCX allows for full-fledged control programs, whereas the memory of the CyberMaster forces users to use host PC-based control.
- Communication System: The RCX uses an infrared signal versus the CyberMaster's radio link.
- Multi-pBrick control: It's impossible to use the radio link (RF) to control more than one Cybermaster, without "hacking" the RF frequency of both the CM unit and the RF tower, for each extra Cybermaster set one would like to control simultaneously.
- Programming Limitations: The RCX supports 5 program slots and 10 concurrent tasks. The CyberMaster contains 1 program slot and supports 5 concurrent tasks.
- Motor integration: The RCX brick has no motors built-in; the CyberMaster is integrated with 2 motors, each with its own tachometer.
- Sensors: The CyberMaster is incapable of driving active sensors. It's possible to use a Light-Sensor in passive mode (i.e. it's impossible to turn on the sensor's red LED).
- Message support: RCX, Scout and Spybot support sending/receiving byte-sized IR messages. Cybermaster doesn't have this through RF, so usually, this type of status and/or flag data transmitions between a PC application and a Cybermaster program, is done by set/get of one or more global variables.