MY Hines

A Byte of roboworld

Posted on: December 5, 2009

Yesterday I was fortunate to be granted release from the office to join other nonprofit tech workers at the Carnegie Science Center to specifically explore roboworld. The exhibit has been open for months and I’ve been meaning to go for a long time. Now that I’ve been there and got to explore – along with the other exhibits at the Carnegie Science Center, I have to admit that I have some robots that are my favorites. I wanted to share my favorite robots with everyone – some may have been in the Robot Hall of Fame, but others might be lesser knowns (or forgottens!)

Mr. Machine – I am to young to have had an original Mr. Machine, but I would say that Mr. Machine was one of the few robots that I owned. I don’t remember the toy itself, but I remember the stories from my parents as they have told it many times. Mr. Machine was noisy and one of my uncles bought it simply because it was noisy. However, another toy – which no one can remember what it was called – was bought by one of my well meaning aunts becuase it was loud and noisy. Both played about the same song, but at different rates and one would start out quick and then slow down. Of course, I was a child, so I did what was natural – played with both loud, noisy toys at the same time for hours a day.

Johnny 5 – I loved the movies Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2. Johnny 5 was the best robot out there.  There was a joke about Pittsburgh, tons of stars, and a robot that was cute! I can remember the quotes from Johnny 5 specifically – “Number 5 is alive”, “Hey Laserlips. Your mama was a snowblower”, and “No disassemble Number Five!” just a few of the great lines from a robot. To see that there may be a reboot of Short Circuit looming, (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118004494.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&nid=2562), makes me worried that they will mess with what made Johnny 5 special – and that he was a funny robot. We need more of those so don’t mess with Johnny 5.

Tik-Tok  I have lots of mixed feelings about the movie Return to Oz. As a Wizard of Oz freak, it almost destroyed what I thought about the original. I could go on about that – but Tik-Tok was pretty much one of the things I did like in the movie. It did not go unnoticed by me that in the movie Tik-Tok had three keys:  Thinking, Speech, and Walking & Action. Those three things kind of sound like the three things that make up a robot – sensing, thinking and acting. L. Frank Baum was onto something when he first wrote about Tik-Tok back in 1907.

T-800 – A robot that looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Yeah… I think I’ve said enough.

Max –  Another one of my favorite movies that I still like to watch if it’s a snowy day and I’ve been released from work is Flight of the Navigator.  That spaceship was probably one of the cooler spaceships I’ve seen in a movie.

S.A.M., Super Automated Machine – I have heard stories of this robot scaring children as it appeared on Sesame Street. How? Maybe it was the bow-tie that was so scary – but to me, S.A.M was cool and he should have been on the show more often.

Maybe there is a trend here. The robots I would list as my favorites were for the most part cute, funny, and not dangerous (you will have to take the T-800 out of the list for being non-dangerous). But most were in the 80’s and 90’s. There are tons of robots on television and movies now, but most are now so scary and dangerous. Why? Why are they so scary and dangerous now? Why is it that everyone is portraying them as evil? Has the Matrix movies scared us all that much? I would love to have a robot buddy like Johnny 5!

It was a great trip and I wish I could have gone with even some more friends!

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2 Responses to "A Byte of roboworld"

I have favorite robots as well, but completely different ones from your list:

1) HAL 9000 – from 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010. I loved how gentle and intelligent HAL seemed – I cried when Dr. Chandra finally had to shut him down forever. Sigh.

2) Data – from Star Trek TNG. Data is someone you’d want for a friend. Plus he’s a fellow cat lover.

3) Gigolo Joe – from A.I. Jude Law as a sex robot. Yeah…what woman wouldn’t want one of those in a closet at home?

4) Buffybot – from Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. A fake Buffy that was so obviously NOT Buffy that it was funny.

5) R2-D2 – from Star Wars. Everyone else liked C3P0, but he was way too neurotic to suit me. R2 got things done. I also liked the battle droids from the newer films…”Roger, Roger.”

What a great list – I know some of these – but not the Buffybot. I was never into Buffy.

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