By: Woj Kwasi on 28-02-2012 in Fun

Robots have evolved a lot over time & some have even come to life after their fictitious origins. These robots (a.k.a mechanoids, automatons etc) were generally constructed for practical purposes and for completing automated/repetitive tasks that would save us humans (fleshbags) a lot of time – so their visual aesthetics weren’t really a drawcard or for that matter a thing of concern. Robots usually come in a variety of forms ranging from very realistic looking humans (such as this scary looking Actroid-F) to humanoids (part human part robot) and to all machine (full metal monstrosities). Some are ugly and some, well, are just plain cute.

I wanted to find out who the cutest robot character of all time was and, when I started researching, I found many contradictory claims around the place. So I decided to put it to the public and get some real data. I achieved this by creating a simple Facebook survey where people could vote from an initial list of robots & add their own (I also used Mechanical Turk to get some data & the correlation between the data sets was very similar).

Now, without further ado, “The Cutest Robot of All Time” goes to: Wall-E, who annihilated the competition with nearly half of the votes (see him on the podium below, accepting his illustrious award).

Top 3 Cute Robots on Podium
Artwork created by Graphikslava.

Short Circuit’s Johnny 5 (with his bewildered “how the *beep* did this happen look”) came a distant second and my personal favourite, Invader Zim’s Gir (who is carefully sampling his medallion to check its authenticity), came third – not sure how that happened – I thought he was a shoe in. R2D2, who I’d include in my top 3, wasn’t too far behind but Astroboy didn’t even make the cut!

Introducing the Top 10 Cutest Robots

It was a large field with over 40 runners but Wall-E dominated early and held his position from the word “go”. The other robots, introduced in greater detail below, battled hard and were mostly deserving of their positions.

1 – WALL-E

Wall-E - First Cutest RobotPopularity: 44.46%

Cuteness Rating: 5 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

In 2008, Pixar Animation Studios introduced the world to WALL-E, a lonely Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class. With his large eyes and spindly appendages, WALL-E looks like a robotic E.T. from the old Steven Spielberg film. He doesn’t talk much, really not at all, but WALL-E expresses his delight or dismay through a series of whistles, grunts and high-pitched squeals. In 2085, WALL-E has toiled for 700 years as a trash compactor on a waste-laden Earth. Yet, despite his isolation, he still displays compassion, cringing after nearly killing a bug which he adopts as a pet, and he delights in finding a small tree, a symbol of hope.


2 – Johnny 5

Johnny 5 - Second Cutest RobotPopularity: 13.20%

Cuteness Rating: 4 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

Johnny 5 appears in “Short Circuit“, a 1986 film starring Steve Gutenberg. When his chrome metal frame is folded, it appears as though Johnny 5 is rolling around on his knees. When his mid-section raises, his height increases by several feet. Created as a military Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport (SAINT), Number 5 becomes sentient after receiving an electric shock. He renames himself Johnny 5 after a radio song and hits the road in search of what it means to be human. Johnny 5’s fish-out-of-water antics and constant need for “more input” endear him to all but his military pursuers.


3 – Gir

Gir - Third Cutest RobotPopularity: 8.85%

Cuteness Rating: 5 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

GIR, an animated character from the Nickelodeon series “Invader Zim” is a bit of a spitfire. He is a broken Standard-issue Information Retrieval, or SIR, officially assigned to the series’ main character Zim. GIR has red eyes and cyan-coloured skin that sometimes glows red. In the presence of humans, he wears a green dog suit. GIR’s natural exuberance and inability to discern friend from foe often proves too much for Zim, who is generally angry with his companion. In one episode, GIR spends six months singing the same three musical notes, driving Zim to catatonia. Gir loves animals, earth food and doing his happy dance.


4 – R2D2

R2D2 - Fourth Cutest RobotPopularity: 6.83%

Cuteness Rating: 5 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

Only four characters appear in all six “Star Wars” films and R2-D2 is one of them. The fan favourite first graced the screen in the original “Star Wars” film as the robotic companion to Luke Skywalker. R2-D2 frequently demonstrates courage, cunningness and a healthy dose of shameless audacity as he travels the galaxy with Luke and C-3PO, another droid companion. R2-D2’s heroism contrasts with C-3PO’s cowardice (and boorish behaviour). With a ready store of gadgets and tools, R2-D2 can MacGyver just about anything. He doesn’t speak, but communicates nonetheless with a series of beeps and flashing lights that are usually translated by C-3PO.


5 – Marvin The Paranoid Android

Marvin The Paranoid Android - Fifth Cutest RobotPopularity: 6.37%

Cuteness Rating: 4 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

Fans of popular book series “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy“, know Marvin the Paranoid Android as the robot assigned to the Heart of Gold star ship. Marvin, who looks like a metal exoskeleton applied over a Gumby frame, has a “brain the size of a planet.” Alas, he doesn’t have the opportunity to use it too often, hence his depression and boredom. Marvin’s mood only worsens after his crew abandons him at an intergalactic restaurant for over 500 million years. “The first ten million years were the worst, and the second ten million years, they were the worst too,” Marvin laments.


6 – Bender

Bender - Sixth Cutest RobotPopularity: 4.45%

Cuteness Rating: 3 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

Bender, the wise-cracking robot from the animated series “Futurama“, smokes, drinks and enjoys fast cars and even faster women. His frail appearance belies super human strength and his gravelly voice sounds as though he has just come off, well, a bender. Bender’s mid-section opens and inside he stores alcohol, cash or other ill-gotten goods. In Bender’s universe, Asimov’s three laws of robotics are broken frequently and with zeal. Bender would rather be gambling than working and he spends a good amount of time planning his next scam. When annoyed by the humans in his life, Bender quips, “Bite my shiny metal ass.”


7 – K-9

K-9 - Seventh Cutest RobotPopularity: 4.45%

Cuteness Rating: 2 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

Doctor Who fans may remember K-9, the robotic canine who first belonged to the fourth doctor and later to Sarah Jane Smith, the Doctor’s human companion. K-9 resembles a small Boston terrier, but with castors instead of legs, an antenna for a tail and tiny satellite dishes for ears. Like many dogs, K-9 exhibits extraordinary intelligence, bravery and loyalty. Unlike many dogs, he has hidden lasers under his nose. Several versions of K-9 exist in the Doctor Who Universe. New iterations of the robotic canine received a power upgrade and new tools to help the Doctor battle evil throughout the universe.


8 – Buzz Lightyear

Buzz Lightyear - Eighth Cutest RobotPopularity: 3.47%

Cuteness Rating: 4 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

One of the main characters of the “Toy Story” film series, Buzz Lightyear is a space ranger who longs to travel “to infinity…and beyond.” Unfortunately, most of his travels center in the room of Andy, the boy who owns Buzz and all of the other toys featured in the film. Buzz takes pride in his white flight suit, jet pack and retractable space helmet. In the first film, as the new toy in the toy box, Buzz is gifted with the newest features and gadgets. Buzz is brave, boisterous and co-leader of the toys, along with Woody, the cowboy.


9 – Megatron

Megatron - Ninth Cutest RobotPopularity: 2.12%

Cuteness Rating: 1 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

Megatron is the leader of the Decepticons, the evil faction of robots in the “Transformers” films. Like all transformers, a race of alien robots, Megatron can appear as a robot or transform into a common device. In the film he transforms into a jet. In the animated series, he transforms into a laser-shooting gun. In robot form, Megatron stands several stories tall and appears menacing. Unlike the Autobots who want to save humanity, Megatron and the rest of the Decepticons want to destroy humans and take over the earth as their new homeland.


10 – Kryten

Kryten - Tenth Cutest RobotPopularity: 2.02%

Cuteness Rating: 1 Puss-in-Boots Cuteness Rating

In the British television series “Red Dwarf,” Kryten is a humanoid robotic servant. Standing about 6-feet tall, Kryten wears a silver space suit and appears human except for the cubist aspect of his plastic face. Neurotic and paranoid, at one point in the series Kryten has the opportunity to become human. Not satisfied with his limited human abilities, e.g. the failure to pick up FM signals with his nipples, he decides to return to his android form.


Raw Robot Data

In this section I get all transparent and show you some insights and some numbers (except for the actual numbers – the robots would kill me!). Here is the full list of the top ten cutest robots accompanied by a pretty pie chart courtesy of Google Gadgets:

# Name % Robot Results - Pie Chart
1 WALL-E 44.46%
2 Johnny 5 13.20%
3 Gir 8.85%
4 R2D2 6.83%
5 Marvin the Paranoid Android 6.37%
6 Bender 4.45%
7 K9 (Dr Who) 4.45%
8 Buzz Lightyear 3.47%
9 Megatron 2.12%
10 Kryten (Red Dwarf) 2.02%

Geographical Location
Here are some of the other demographics from Facebook Insights. To give you some idea, the majority of respondents were from the UK, followed by the US and then Australia (this is where it the poll originated).
Robot Results - Geographical Locations
I’m quite surprised that there weren’t as many people from the US and Australia.

Age & Gender
The most popular gender was females in the 18-24 year old age group. Females dominated the survey 55% to males with 45% and in both cases the 18-24 age group was most popular.
Robot Results - Gender Information
The next most popular was the 25-34 group. Is it safe to make the assumption that a lot of women aged 18-34 like cute robots?

Random Survey Facts

  • Other robots that nearly made the cut included Metal Mickey, Bumblebee & C-3PO.
  • 2 people believe that Buzz Lightyear is not a robot – I think this can go either way?
  • Daft Punk received a handful of votes – they are musicians, people!
  • 1 person had no idea about robots – fair enough, we won’t judge you.
  • The Terminator was voted for which means 10 people consider him… cute?

Opinions from Today’s Cute Robots

It wouldn’t be fair to post this as it was without any actual celebrity robot endorsements or opinions so I thought it would be best to get some professional quotes from some modern day cute robots about the results of the survey. Here are the quotes:

Roger MozBot

Roger MozBot: SEOmoz
“Woot! I’m excited to see some of my long-time idols on the list. These guys paved the path for the rest of us. beep!”


Romo

Romo: Romomotive
“I just want a family to adopt me!”


Appboy

Appboy: Appboy
“Bender in 6th Place! I had my money on him in the Top 3.”


DARwIn-OP

DARwIn-OP: Robotis
“We will prevail! Real robots will one day beat character robots!”


Chief Robot

Chief Robot: Robot Living
“Wall-E is certainly cute, but where is Eve and the rest of the female robots?”


GoogleBot

Googlebot: Google
“no comment”


New Robot Nominations

Nominations are now open for more cute robots (especially if you feel that one of the robots in the top ten is unjust) – please enter the details in the form below:

Your Name (required)

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Your cute robot nomination

Please enter these numbers: captcha below to verify that you're a humanoid:


So there you have it folks… Wall-E has been crowned “The Cutest Robot of All Time”. I will check the survey from time to time to see if there are more votes and update accordingly. I wonder if Wall-E will ever be overthrown. Will there ever be another robot created that matches his supremacy? Please add your thoughts below…