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Awesome Automatons, Part 1: The Saddest Robots Ever

The Terminator. Wall-E. These idiots. Movies have brought us countless memorable robot characters who, through superior programming, human friendship, or the magic of Disney, learn to love. But the bad always comes with the good. Most of you are probably familiar with Marvin the Paranoid Android…and if you’re not, go read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Now. No, seriously, get out of here.

Are they gone? Good. N00bz.

Okay, now ALL of you are familiar with Marvin, who was quite possibly the first clinically depressed robot. What could cause depression in a cold, heartless computer? Well, being overqualified for your job is one possibility, but here are a couple more of the saddest robots I’ve ever seen (and these ones are real).

MABEL, a bipedal robot created by engineers over at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!), was designed to walk rough and changing terrains. These sadistic engineers decided that the best way to test MABEL’s limits would be to push it until its leg broke clean off. It’s a sad sight to see, a defeated robot slumped over but still dragging around in a circle.

But a robot doesn’t have to break to feel defeated. This robotic chess set (built from LEGO and LEGO-like products) is a pretty awesome machine, playing through a full chess game run by a laptop, fully automated. If you watch the video below, you can see at 1:00 that the chess pieces even politely leave the board when they’ve been captured. But, the sad, dejected way they do so had me in stitches. I know, I’m cruel, but watch from 1:56 to 2:17 as the knight makes the long trek around the board and shows up again in the background and tell me that’s not hilarious. It’s like the kid who gets knocked out first in dodgeball and has to go sit on his own until the next game starts.

via Engadget and geeky-gadgets

Got a favorite robot? Put it in the comments and maybe I’ll steal it and use it in another post and pretend I’ve never heard of you.

Image: Steve Hassenplug

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  1. @sewdotcoe says:

    Not a robot, but definitely automated, the animatronic face-ripping Lou Reed puppet from “No Money Down” as seen here, scaring millions of people for years to come (it gets really terrifying at 1:35):

    … that’s one SAD robot, man.

  2. I really liked when the king at the chess game clenched his fist, but I always waited for that “Short Circuit” moment where a pawn rebuilds itself as a queen – hey, it’s LEGO after all!

  3. @Sarah that’s absolutely terrifying!

    @DeadRobot good ones, I haven’t seen Saturn 3 but I’ll check it out.

    @Brandon agreed, I think anytime Alan Rickman is chosen for a role it’s a stroke of genius, but that was pure brilliance. And Sam Rockwell basing his Zaphod on George W. Bush? Absolutely perfect. I promise one of these days I’ll do a pure HHGTG post for ya.

  4. DeadRobot says:

    Oh hell!

    Asimo the fall-downey robot at a expo a year or two ago. That was so sad! They brought out a curtain (in pure Japanese style) to cover up the embarrassing fall.

    Seen the movie Saturn 3? What was sadder than Kirk Douglas’ 70yr old manboobs? The robot Hector exploding into a million pieces.

    And just all ’round sad? Slim Pickens doing the voice of B.O.B. from Disney’s The Black Hole.

  5. Brandon says:

    I humbly apologize if this seems disrespectful, i mean no harm, but with an intro like that I was really wanting this to only be about Marvin… and choosing the voice of Alan Rickman was pure genius in the movie. Oh I wish I wish the first one didn’t bomb in theaters so the rest of the series could be made.

  6. Sarah Clark says:

    Awesome post!
    And I almost hesitate to show you this because it kind of scarred me for life. But…you need to see it – The Terrifying Robot Child