What are your favorite robots / androids / humanoids?
Starting off with "ELEKTRO" the robot from the 1930's.
Elektro is the nickname of a robot built by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in its Mansfield, Ohio facility between 1937 and 1939. Seven feet tall, weighing 265 pounds, humanoid in appearance, he could walk by voice command, speak about 700 words (using a 78-rpm record player), smoke cigarettes, blow up balloons, and move his head and arms. Elektro's body consisted of a steel gear, cam and motor skeleton covered by an aluminum skin. His photoelectric "eyes" could distinguish red and green light. He was on exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair and reappeared at that fair in 1940, with "Sparko", a robot dog that could bark, sit, and beg.
Elektro toured North America in 1950 in promotional appearances for Westinghouse, and was displayed at Pacific Ocean Park in Venice, California in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He also appeared as "Thinko", in Sex Kittens Go to College (1960), which starred Mamie Van Doren and Tuesday Weld. In the 1960s, his head was given to a retiring Westinghouse engineer.
In 1992, the dance band Meat Beat Manifesto produced the song "Original Control (Version 2)" which prominently featured snippets of Elektro's monologues, quoting lines such as "I am Elektro" and "My brain is bigger than yours".
Elektro survived the scrap pile and is currently the property of the Mansfield Memorial Museum.
Elektro, the Westinghouse Motoman. This gigantic golden mechanical man performed daily before packed houses at the Westinghouse pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Mention the word "robot" to anyone before 1950 and odds are he'd be thinking of Elektro, which is interesting when you think about how quickly he slipped out of popular culture. By the '60s, it was difficult to even find photographs of the old tin. Bad agent, I guess.
Standing on a platform high above the crowds, Elektro would go through his paces under voice control of his operator, who spoke his commands into a telephone handset as a light flashed in a hole in Elektro's midriff. Elektro needed his operator to enunciate every word in a slow, stilted voice. This seemed strange, since it appeared as if Elektro could apparently understand colloquial English, but what he was really reacting to was the pattern of sounds that the operator spoke rather than the words.
With a loud electrical whine, Elektro would walk about the stage in a slow slide that betrayed the rollers on his feet. Despite his bulk, he was pretty much a hollow tin, as his operator could turn Elektro with a light push of one hand. Other exciting things that Elektro could do was move his head and arms, count on his fingers, recognise colours, smoke cigarettes, and talk. Is that Vegas I hear calling? Elektro was basically a live answering service that actually performed the duties spoken to him by his operator. Even at this time, Elektro was answering to services and duties usually done by humans. Elektro was, among many things, a robot, a child recognizing colors and counting, a live answering service, a clown blowing up balloons, a man of the time, smoking like it had no repercussions and more. What other duties would Elektro have dabbled in had he been around longer?
William Jennings Bryant, Elektro was not. His pro-nounce-each-syl-la-ble-like-this delivery was at odds with his tendency to call people "Toots" and make bad jokes. Well, you can't really blame him, seeing as he had a brain of only "forty eight electrical relays."