Number 5 is (still) alive

Short Circuit came out 30 years ago today, you guys.

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Anyone of a certain age likely remembers the first time they saw [Short Circuit](, the – at the time – technologically advanced children's movie about Johnny Five, a military robot who gains sentience and free will, escapes from his home base and goes on a whimsical rampage of worldly knowledge intake, warming hearts along the way. While the movie itself is certainly not without fault, for many people at SparkFun, this was one of our first experiences with the idea of advanced, intelligent robots integrating into everyday life (certainly R2D2 and C-3PO are beloved predecessors, but their universe is decidedly unfamiliar).

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In the THIRTY YEARS since the release of Short Circuit, both movies and robotics have come a long way, and society has become less and less surprised (though occasionally terrified) by the idea of sharing our familiar world with intelligent robots (see: Chappie; Transformers; Blade Runner; I, Robot; WALL-E; Terminator; etc.). We're still fascinated by the possibilities offered by the industry's development, range and capabilities, and the thrill of experimenting with robotics is something many of us (and you!) share.

So happy birthday Johnny Five, and thanks for being one of our first robot friends. What about you – what other pop culture robots fascinated you as a kid (or a non-kid, ahem BB-8)?

And if this roll down memory lane has left you wanting to build your own robot friend, here's some helpful inspiration, courtesy of SparkFun.

For more robotics concepts and ideas, check out our Robotics 101 video playlist.

Comments 12 comments

  • Valen / about 8 years ago / 1

    Input! Input! Not enough input!!!

  • I watched both Short Circuit movies this week. I recommend you do so as well.

  • Member #506941 / about 8 years ago / 1

    Who can forget the Vencent robot in the 1979 movie Black hole. If you search for "vencent black hole" and scroll down a few results you will find as it says the best robot death scene ever.

  • REDACTED-GDPR / about 8 years ago / 1

    For me, nothing beats the robot in Treasure Planet. What an awesome quirky personality.

  • Crawdad / about 8 years ago / 1

    I give props to Huey, Dewey, and Louie of "Silent Running". <nit> And there were no robots in Blade Runner. They were replicants - genetically engineered people... Just Sayin...</nit>

  • l0gikG8 / about 8 years ago / 1

    The robot with the most personality was Twiki. twiki

    • scharkalvin / about 8 years ago / 1

      BdBdBdBdBD....I'm freezing my ball bearings off!

  • Member #260321 / about 8 years ago / 1

    Don't forget Marvin, the depressed robot from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

  • onebeartoe / about 8 years ago / 1

    I love the little robots from "*batteries not included".

  • scharkalvin / about 8 years ago / 1

    Robbie the robot from "Forbidden Planet" (he appeared in a ton of other places including the Addams Family), Huey, Dewey, and Louie from "silent running", Hymie the robot from 'Get Smart', Bender from 'Futurama' and of course the one that sticks the most in my psyche is the one depicted in my avatar, Astro Boy aka Tetsuwan Atomu.

  • boba / about 8 years ago / 1

    The Lost In Space robot, hands-down, no competition. Great sense of humor, heroic and faithful, the best friend a kid could have (once he stopped trying to kill you - but that was just a hacking challenge).

  • ME heat o nator / about 8 years ago / 1

    A couple of kid's book series I have read to my kids are "House of Robots" series and "The Frank Einstein" series. Great for the 10 year old target audience.

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