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).
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.