R2-KT's Top Twenty Robots of All Time

These are some of my favorite robots. Some of them are cute, some have attitude, and some are just plain funny. Sorry all you robots who didn't make the cut. Maybe next operating cycle! :)

1. ASIMO, the helpful real-life robot. Built by Honda Motor Company, ASIMO is a robot that took 10 years to build, stands just over 4 feet tall, and is built to help humans who have mobility problems. His name stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility. Of course, it's hard not to notice the name is close to that of Isaac ASIMOv, the science fiction author who wrote the famous robot book, I Robot. If you have never read any of his classics you can pick them up at any used book stores. ASIMO has over 34 degrees of freedom to its movement, can bend at the waist, and can even run!

2. Bender the bending robot, from the television animated series Futurama. Chug! Chug! Chug! That guy is rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. But quick with a snappy come-back and good in a card game. I wouldn't trust him with my extra batteries, but he'd be cool to hang with.

3. Twiki from the television sci-fi series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981). Okay, okay - make your jokes. He was short, tended to make sounds like a broken fan, and carried a clock around his neck that made Flavor-Flav's look puny. But he did have the famous cartoon voice Mel Blanc providing his speech and made for some laughs on the show.

4. Dot Matrix from the movie Spaceballs (1987). Girl Power!!! Rarely do robots get the feminine touch, but this gender-bending version of another certain gold droid was all attitude. Tasked to serve (and protect the virtue of) Princess Vespa, Dot was slow on speed but fast with the acerbic wise-cracks. Armed with her virgin alarm, she had limited uses but somehow managed to hold a wedding dress train and roller skate like no other robot I've seen. I like her better than that stiff, C-3PO! My kinda gal!

Power Droid aka 'Gonk' Droid from Star Wars (1977). He was boxy, slow, and knew only one word. But you can't help but love the turtle of robot-kind. I can't wait to see my gonk best friend up and running!

H.A.L. 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Not so much a robot as a huge, massively-intelligent computer that controls every aspect of the space ship Discovery, HAL is still the epitome of creepy cybernetic assistants-gone-amok. His calm voice and even tone belied a simmering threat you knew was cooking long before something went wrong. And never mind his garish red eyes staring at you from consoles all over the Discovery - he was always watching you! So as potential room-mates go, HAL would be the bottom of the list. But for cold, quick efficiency and pin-point precision, HAL scores big.

Marvin the robot from the movie The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). What a downer! He's a short, slow little fellow with stylish modular body parts and an enormous head (reminds me of me!). He has large glowing eyes turned up in a perennial look of dismay, which matches his gloomy voice (reminds me of C-3PO). But he's got a good sense of humor (even if it is a bit dry...). I wish he'd cheer up once in a while. Maybe I'll buy him a huge pillow - his head is big enough!!!

The NS-5 robot from the movie I, Robot (2004). We can forgive the fact that the movie was a travesty to the classic book of the same name. NS-5 was at least an efficient illustration of what mass-produced, people-friendly upright robots would look like. Not much imagination to the design, though. Man, I want thumbs, too! Unfair! Kinda weird how they all look alike, though. I'm not sure which one is which!

Maximillian from the Disney movie The Black Hole (1979). The ultimate bad-boy of the robots in film, Maximillian is all but unheard of today. He was tall, dark-red, said nothing but hummed ominously, and glowed menacingly from his single eye-slit. Add to that he could float anywhere he wanted and sported two whirling blades of death for hands. GEEZ, this guy was scary! Little known fact, on a trip to Disney World we spotted the remains of one of this robot's models on the ceiling of the MGM Studio's Back-Lot Tour building. Pretty sad ending for one of the tough guys of robot movie history.

Robocop from the Robocop movies (1987, 1990, 1993). Peter Weller starred in the first two of these movies as the taciturn cyborg created from the body of mortally wounded police officer Murphy. Patrolling the streets of Old New Detroit, Robocop was big, heavy, and packed a lot of fire-power. His booming voice always carried authority and his advanced optics helped him to size up situations in a nano-second. I could watch this guy bust bad guys all day, he was so cool.

I would hate to fold up whenever hit ME on the nose! And that squeaking is funny-sounding. But they seem pretty cute. And handy if something breaks down.

Terminator, the cyborg killing machine from the Terminator movies (1984, 1991, 2003). Arnold Schwarzenegger starred as the unstoppable assassin from the future, the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101. The hard-to-destroy endoskeleton was concealed by a flesh-and-blood outer layer of human skin, hair, and other regular human organs to avoid detection. Too bad the voice processor resulted in a heavy Austrian accent. Still, he was bad to the metal bone and knew how to wear sunglasses.

V.I.N.CENT. the robot from Disney's Black Hole (1979). V.I.N.CENT's name was an acronym for Vital Information Necessary, CENTralized. He served aboard the Palomino and assisted the human crew by dispensing folksy wisdom. But as cute as he was, he was handy in a clutch situation - able to float, attach magnetically to ship hulls, retract into a hard-to-damage ball, and fire lasers from his hands. He even had a telepathic link to one of the crew members! Handier than a Swiss army knife and packed with wickipedia-like information, V.I.N.CENT was probably the ultimate robot companion (other than an astromech droid, of course!).

While all these robots are famous for a variety of special talents, a robot with house and office cleaning skills would be more practical. There are several robots on the market which can perform household chores, but even they would not be able to compete with the skills of the best NY cleaning services.


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