Cute robots have been a fixture in the pop culture landscape, ever since C-3PO and R2D2 crashed on Tatooine in the original Star Wars — but there have been cute robots in pop culture for way longer. The history of cute robots is a proud and totally cuddly one, full of beeping, blooping noises.
Here's our complete history of cute robots, from 1745 right up to 2011. Note: We're not including any androids, or any robot men or women, unless they're cute and cartoony, and ideally kind of small. So for example, Twiki is on the list, but not David from A.I.
Jacques de Vaucanson's defecating, robotic duck (1745)
One of the earliest known automata, this duck could flap its wings, stretch, and eat and digest grain. And you could actually see the duck's intestines moving, from the outside. There were something like 400 moving parts in each wing, and since the duck is now missing, it remains a bit of a mystery.
Tik-Tok from Ozma of Oz (1907)
Tik-Tok is sometimes called the first robot in literature, although the Tin Man preceded him, and so did the mechanical man in The Motor Valet, a silent film from 1906. Unlike some of these other early robots, Tik-Tok is definitely cute and cuddly, complete with mechan-istic hal-ting speech. He works by clockwork and has a tendency to wind down at the worst possible moment.
Volto from Robot Wrecks (1941)
There were other mechanical men in pop culture after Tik-Tok, including the 1921 movie The Mechanical Man and Quality Comics' Bozo the Iron Man in 1940. But this 1941 Our Gang short film is especially endearing, for some reason.
Elmer and Else (1949)
A pair of real-life robotic "tortoises" who could avoid obstacles and exhibit signs of artificial intelligence, created by Dr. Grey Walter, a neuroscientist.
Astro Boy from Astro Boy (1951)
The most famous, and the greatest, of all the Pinnochio-bots. He's a robot boy who was created to replace a dead human boy, but now he fights for justice with his boot jets.
Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956)
One of the most famous movie robots on the big screen, Robby the Robot has a lumbering body and a dry wit, plus he makes some killer dresses.
Robot Commando (1961)
This popular kids' toy is a giant robot who can crush soldiers and destroy cities, but he's also remarkably cute and bouncy.
Gold, Iron, Lead, Mercury, Platinum and Tin from The Metal Men (1962)
This weird superhero team is made up of five "robots" that are grown out of elements, each of which gives the different robots a separate personality. Like, Mercury is Mercurial.
Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons (1962)
This robot maid is always working her hydraulic fingers to the metal bone, cleaning and doing whatever for the Jetsons. She's dating a male robot, named Mac.
The High Council of the Emerald Planet from Atomic Rulers of the World (1964)
They're the ones who send Starman to defeat the Mirapolians, and they're all pretty lovable.
Robot B-9 from Lost in Space (1965)
Robot B-9 is a cousin of Robby the Robot from the same designer, but he's much cuter, thanks to his whole cutesy "Danger Will Robinson" voice. You wouldn't really want anybody else to warn you of danger while saying your full name.
Frankenstein Jr. from Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles (1966)
Sort of a much cuter version of Gigantor, Frankenstein Jr. fights crime and saves the citizens of Civic City, because it's his Civic Duty.
Herbie from The Love Bug (1968)
One of only a couple robot cars on this list, Herbie is the sweet friendly Volkswagen Beetle who always saves the day, even when he's saddled with Lindsay Lohan.
Doraemon from Doraemon: Gadget Cat from the Future (1969)
Doraemon, a robot cat, is sent back in time from the future to help Nobita Nobi improve his life and circumstances, because in the original timeline Nobita's life is kind of a mess. Doraemon has an endless supply of gadgets and futuristic marvels in his "pockets."
Dewey (Drone # 1), Huey (Drone # 2), and Louie (Drone # 3) from Silent Running (1972)
In this heartbreaking movie, Bruce Dern is trapped on a forest space station with three drones, which he renames Huey, Dewey and Louie. They're his only companions as he fights to save the forests from the short-sighted Earth administrators.
Sam the Robot from Sesame Street (1972)
This somewhat scary-looking bot was a guest star for a few seasons, with his weirdly menacing theories about robot superiority: "Machines are better than people. Machines can do anything. I can be an adding machine, subtracting machine, gumball machine, soda pop dispensing machine, jukebox..."
Rags from Sleeper (1973)
After Woody Allen is rehabilitated, one of his perks is this lovely little barking robot — the first of several robot dogs on this list.
Speed Buggy from Speed Buggy (1973)
We're not including every robot car on this list — no KITT, for example — but Speed Buggy is firmly in the "cute bot" camp, with the lovable car face and catch phrases like "Roger-Dodger!" He also has one of the main criteria of a great cute robot — being voiced by Mel Blanc.
Bomb #20 from Dark Star (1974)
This supremely weird John Carpenter film includes a lot of sequences where the crew of the ship attempts to talk a sentient bomb out of detonating by discussing philosophy with it. The strategy doesn't pan out so great.
Dynomutt from Dynomutt, the Dog Wonder (1976)
Dynomutt is sort of a robotic dog sidekick to the Blue Falcon, a Batman-inspired superhero, in this Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
R2-D2 and C-3PO from Star Wars (1977)
You might notice a lot of cute robots in the late 1970s on this list — the reason is almost certainly due to the Laurel-and-Hardy-esque duo from Star Wars, who bumble through an endless variety of dangerous circumstances. There were a slew of Star Wars knockoffs and they all had to have their own cute robots.
K-9 from Doctor Who (1977)
Forget River Song — the real love of the Doctor's life is this robot dog, originally built for Professor Marius on a medical space station on an asteroid. The Doctor rebuilt K-9 a few times, and for a while any woman who traveled with the Time Lord got her own robot dog as a parting gift. K-9 defeated the equally cute robot parrot, Polyphase Avatron, in "The Pirate Planet" by Douglas Adams.
Yatter-Wan from Yatterman (1977)
He's kind of a canine robot fire truck that eventually gets destroyed and rebuilt as the Yatter-King. He can produce tiny robots from his mouth.
Andy from Quark (1977)
A servo mechanism designed and built by Adam Quark, Andy is always ready to betray his friends if it means his survival. Andy has a long-distance relationship with another servo mechanism, called Mandy.
Walter the Wobot from Judge Dredd (1977)
This "Fwiend of Dwedd" was indispensible in the eawy years of the Dwedd comics, but was later dwopped.
H.E.R.B.I.E. from The Fantastic Four Animated Series (1978)
When the Human Torch proved unavailable due to licensing issues in their animated show, the Fantastic Four got a new, adorable member, voiced by Frank Welker and designed by Jack Kirby. Short for Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics, H.E.R.B.I.E. has become a mainstay in the comics, especially Chris Eliopoulos' astounding Franklin Richards stories.
Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978)
Is Marvin cute? Only if you find abject depression and misery cute. Don't talk to Marvin about cuteness. Brain the size of a planet, and they call him cute. Gah.
Muffit II from Battlestar Galactica (1978)
A robotic replacement for the lost daggit, Muffit II is fairly sophisticated, learning how to defeat Cylons by biting them in the leg. Somehow this never made it into the Syfy remake series.
V.I.N.cent & B.O.B. from The Black Hole (1979)
The pedantic V.I.N.cent, voiced by Roddy McDowell, is always spouting bits of wisdom like, "There are three basic types, Mr. Pizer: the Wills, the Won'ts, and the Can'ts. The Wills accomplish everything, the Won'ts oppose everything, and the Can'ts won't try anything." B.O.B., meanwhile, is lovable but beat-up, and voiced by Slim Pickens.
Twiki from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979)
Bidi-bidi-bidi... this penis-headed robot stands out, even in an era when every TV show had to have a cute robot sidekick. For one thing, he has the voice of Mel Blanc in the first season, and he has to say "Bidi-Bidi-Bidi" before he says anything else. He carries around the computerized Dr. Theophilous like a medallion. In the second season, Twiki's voice is redone as a horrible, grating whine.
Haro from Gundam (1979)
This tennis-ball-shaped robot became a mainstay in the Gundam universe, with an ability to fly by flapping his arm-coverings. And he can detect brain waves, which is how he recognizes his friend Amuro.
C.H.O.M.P.S. from C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979)
A robot dog, created by a young inventor as part of a home security system — C.H.O.M.P.S. stands for "Canine Home Protection System." He looks sort of like Benji.
Rock-afire Explosion (1980)
These were the animatronic robot rock band at Showbiz Pizza, which was later rebranded as Chuck-E Cheese, at which point the rock band was replaced with Chuck-E Cheese characters. Watch this tour of the Showbiz Pizza facilities, showing just how creepy these cute robots were.
Phil from Heartbeeps (1981)
The absolute best movie starring Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as comedy robots, Heartbeeps features a cute baby robot named Phil, who's the offspring of Kaufman and Peters' characters.
Bubo from Clash of the Titans (1981)
A mechanical owl sent by Athena to help Perseus to kill the Kraken. He turns out to be ultra-resourceful and the best robot owl friend a guy ever had.
Floyd from Planetfall (1983)
A childlike robot, who's fondly remembered for dying tragically within this classic computer game.
Norby the Mixed-Up Robot by Isaac Asimov (1983)
Protagonist of the long-running children's adventure series, Norby hosts the only mini-anti-gravity device in existence, putting him at loggerheads with the nefarious Ing.
Bomberman from Bomberman (1983)
After hearing a rumor that robots become human after reaching the surface of Planet Bomber, Bomberman decides to escape his underground bomb-making factory in this classic video game series – even if he has to blow his way out.
Roboto from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1984)
He-Man's robot buddy and the winning entry of an action figure design contest, Roboto's unique feature was a transparent chest revealing his clockwork insides. He also doesn't understand the concept of birthdays.
Percy from Ice Pirates (1984)
Princess Karina's snobby robot butler, he dismisses lesser robots as "riff raff" and is often seen wearing a bow tie or chef's hat.
Bumblebee from Transformers (1984)
Mascot of the Autobots, Bumblebee constantly strives to prove himself to others, often leading to his own capture. He transforms into a Volkswagen Beetle. There are lots of other cute Transformers over the years, but we'll just list Bumblebee as a representative example.
Edgar from Electric Dreams (1984)
The sweet but sad and creepy robot suffering from unrequited love for cellist Virginia Madsen. Voiced by Bud Cort, Edgar eventully commits suicide so she can be with the not-at-all similar Lenny Von Dohlen, best remembered for his portrayal of Harold in the second season of Twin Peaks.
R.O.B. from Nintendo (1985)
A now-popular accessory from Nintendo's distant past, R.O.B. offered gamers the option of a second player in case you didn't have a friend handy. Unfortunately, he was only capable of playing Gyromite and Stack-Up – and only if you had him angled just right.
Fugitoid from the Ninja Turtles universe (1985)
After a freak accident caused Professor Honeycutt's "consciousness" to fuse with a worker robot named Sal, the police soon found the scientist's lifeless body. Believing he's guilty of his own murder, the authorities pursuit him as the fugitive android know as "Fugitoid".
Sico the Robot from Rocky IV (1985)
Paulie's cake-bearing robot that wishes him "Happy Birthday" in the third sequel of the Rocky franchise – "I wanted a sports car, not no walking trash can!"
The Berbils from Thundercats (1985)
Hailing from the planet Ro-Bear, the Berbils, (essentially robotic Ewoks), crashed on Third Earth long ago, settling Berbil Village and befriending the similarly displaced Thundercats years later.
T-Bob from M.A.S.K. (1985)
He-Man had Orko, the Thundercats had Snarf, and M.A.S.K. had T-Bob, the series' requisite cowardly comic relief.
Bee Bee from Deadly Friend (1986)
Before being uploaded into Kristy Swanson and becoming a semi-evil cyborg, Bee Bee is a friendly robot who responds to remote control but also has some autonomy. He's more than willing to help play a prank on the mean lady next door.
Johnny 5 from Short Circuit (1986)
The renegade robot is created by Steve Guttenberg and Fisher Stevens, but he gains a respect for life after meeting Ally Sheedy. As would anyone, really.
Skeets from Booster Gold #1 (1986)
Booster Gold's endearingly patient and good-natured sidekick.
Max from Flight of the Navigator (1986)
The wisecracking spaceship voiced by Paul Reubens.
Conky 2000 and Magic Screen from Pee-Wee's Playhouse (1986)
Built from spare parts and scraps of metal, Pee-Wee's trusty robot Conky 2000 would supply him with the secret word of the day, while Magic Screen provided educational shorts and rousing games of connect the dots. Magic Screen was also a cousin to Magic Johnson.
Jinx from Space Camp (1986)
"The world's only seven-million dollar handyman", Jinx is the adorable robot who decides to shoot his friend Max into space.
Too Much from Too Much (1987)
While on a business trip with her father, Susie is given a high tech Japanese robot she names Too Much due to its overwhelming aptitude for translation and video games. When she realizes she'll soon have to say goodbye to her new friend, the duo decide to make a run for it — and George Clinton provides the music.
Major Domo and Minor Domo from Captain EO (1986)
Captain EO's heavily decorated security officer and propeller-headed counterpart, who fit inside him.
Bleep from The Christmas Toy (1986)
The stammering robot from Jim Henson's eerily familiar tale of toys who come alive when their children are away. "Output your input!"
The entire cast of the Mega Man video game series (1987)
Classic video game series concerning a mad scientist who steals and reprograms cute robots for his own world-conquering purposes, and the opposing cute robot who must "fight for everlasting peace".
Flotsam, Jetsam and Wheems from *batteries not included (1987)
The cutest von Neumann probes in the galaxy, the extraterrestrial "baby" robot Fix-Its repair a New York apartment building, after it's gutted by an arson fire. Whether or not they're robots or spaceship colonies is open for debate, though.
Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy and Cambot from Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988)
Joel Hodgson's famous robot quartet, created to help stave off madness from watching too many bad movies. Ironically, they're built from the parts of his spaceship that control his intake.
L-Ron from Justice League International (1988)
This scrappy little robot was the sidekick to interplanetary maniac Manga Khan, and L-Ron's main job was to tell Manga Khan when his monologues were going out of control. But after L-Ron leaves Manga Khan's service, he goes to work for the Justice League and becomes Max Lord's right-hand robot.
Willard from R.O.T.O.R. (1989)
The sarcastic robot security guard who likes to dance from animator Cullen Blaine's sole, mysterious and awkward live-action film.
The entire cast of Rust General Island (1989)
Rusted, clockwork military robots stage a revolt against a world that has forgotten them in this kid's film from Russia.
Johnny Cab from Total Recall (1990)
A friendly, animatronic cab driver portrayed by our favorite occasional hologram/swamp monster, Robert Picardo.
Newman from And You Thought Your Parents Were Weird! (1991)
After a séance gone awry on Halloween night, the unassuming, household chore-performing Norman is imbued by the soul of Alan Thicke — the deceased father of the robot's creators.
Alpha 5 from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (1993)
Assistant to the wizard Zordon, Alpha 5 hails from the planet Edenoi where he was built by the grandfather of spinoff superhero Masked Rider. Alpha is best remembered for his catchphrase, "Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi!"
J-5 from Blankman (1994)
Damon Wayans' short-lived, bomb disposing sidekick.
Evolver from Evolver (1994)
A friendly combat robot voiced by William H. Macy that eventually goes off the deep end, with predictable results.
Preston from Wallace and Gromit in A Close Shave (1995)
A robotic bulldog who runs a wool-rustling scheme. Initially sinister, Preston is rebuilt and rehabilitated after being crushed in a grinder.
Rusty the Boy Robot (1995)
One half of Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, a Dark Horse Comics miniseries by Frank Miller and Geoff Darrow.
Robo from Chrono Trigger (1995)
A powerful but self-conscious robot reactivated in the year 2300 after the apocalypse of 1999.
Pipo from Overblood (1996)
One of a few cute robots voiced by Frank Welker, Pipo assists Raz Karcy as he tries to regain his memory after waking up in abandoned genetics lab.
790 from Lexx (1997)
A disembodied head that accidentally received the "love slave" program intended for a cluster lizard. 790 falls in love with the first person he sees each time he's reset.
Weebo from Flubber (1997)
The hovering, lovesick assistant of Professor Philip Brainard, voiced by Disney stalwart Jodi Benson. Her feelings for the Professor are resolved, along with the film's love triangle, after she's struck down with a baseball bat.
Noo-Noo from Teletubbies (1997)
A robot vacuum cleaner and housekeeper to the Teletubbies, the custard-sucking Noo-Noo actively seems to resent the cavalier ‘tubbies, but his pleas are answered with mere, mild tomfoolery.
TOM, the host of Toonami (1997)
The ever-morphing host of Cartoon Network's dearly departed anime programming block Toonami. Voiced by Steve Blum.
The Robot from Lost in Space (1998)
Lost in Space's iconic and loveable Robot, in a totally wicked 90's reimagining.
Archer & the Gorgonites from Small Soldiers (1998)
Led by the pacifistic Archer, the peaceful Gorgonites were a line of educational action figures imbued with sophisticated A.I., and voiced by the members of Spinal Tap.
The AIBO (1999)
Remember these robot dogs, that everybody used to have? They were ubiquitous for a while.
The Iron Giant from The Iron Giant (1999)
A kindly robot from outer space who was seemingly built for combat, but looks to Superman for inspiration.
Tinny Tim from Futurama (1999)
Long-suffering orphan robot Tinny Tim was programmed to beg, sell oil-aide and write cute backwards letters on signs to invoke pity. He can occasionally be seen selling the New New York Post.
Later turned into a book and possibly a movie produced by J.J. Abrams, this Victorian robot created by artist Paul Guinan became a huge internet meme when his website was launched in 2000, with many people believing the fake history was real.
DRD 1812 from Farscape (2000)
A "Diagnostic Repair Droid" taught to beep the 1812 overture, DRD becomes a faithful pet to John Crichton, keeping him company in times of loneliness and heartache. Due to Crichton's use of 1812 to store his wormhole equations and calculations, he's technically the most dangerous weapon in the universe.
Goddard from Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)
Jimmy's robot dog — complete with steam-shovel jaw, plasma orb "brain" and jet pack feet. Also sports a fully functional, acid-lined stomach chamber.
Gir from Invader ZIM (2001)
The loveable, malfunctioning "Irken SIR Unit" created from garbage, leftover SIR parts and the contents of The Almighty Tall's pockets, Gir lives with invading alien Zim on Earth where he poses as a dog who meows like a cat.
This robot, which stands for Partner-type-Personal-Robot, was developed by the Japanese NEC Corporation. Its cuteness protocols included facial recognition capability and a fair degree of interactivity. In 2006, you could download a virtual PaPeRo to your desktop.
Teddy from A.I. (2001)
The perpetually put-upon robotic teddy bear of Haley-Joel Osmont. Hasbro had high hopes for a talking Teddy doll at the time of the film's release. The "Super Toy" had a short shelf life, though, after the public deemed the film too depressing and has since become a modest collector's item on the secondary market.
Robot Jones from Whatever Happened to…Robot Jones? (2002)
In the 1980's, Robot Electro Jones attends a middle school in Delaware to study human behavior, but falls in unrequited love with a girl with an artificial leg and enormous headgear. Jones was voiced by a Macintalk Junior for the duration of the first season, but replaced with a human voice actor for the second, retroactively overdubbing the previous episodes. Cancellation soon followed.
B.E.N. from Treasure Planet (2002)
Voiced by Martin Short, Treasure Planet's long-marooned "Bio Electronic Navigator" was lobotomized by pirates, further exacerbating an instability honed by one hundred years of isolation. Bears a striking resemblance to both Futurama's similarly afflicted Roberto, and Malfunctioning Eddie.
Mr. Butlertron from Clone High (2002)
Reluctant assistant to mad Principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth, the good-natured and googly-eyed Butlertron (a parody of Mr. Belvedere) is always willing to dole out sage advice to troubled clones, though he always referred to them as "Wesley".
Clank of Ratchet & Clank (2002)
A formerly destructive robot reprogrammed for good, Clank assists mechanic Ratchet as they travel the universe, righting wrongs, and fighting the forces of evil.
H.E.L.P. eR from The Venture Bros. (2003)
Abused and underappreciated, H.E.L.P.eR eventually exited the series after being rigged with explosives, causing its head to lodge into Race Bannon-parody Brock Sampson's chest. His remains are currently fused with the "Walking Eye," a visual reference to Dr. Zin's robotic spider — also from Johnny Quest.
X-5 from Atomic Betty (2004)
Betty's outdated but reliable robot crewman. He's a bit of a know-it-all, with a fondness for turtleneck sweaters.
The entire cast of Panda-Z: The Robonimation (2004)
A whole television series concerning the ins-and-outs of robotic pandas as they battle the evil Skullpander. If that wasn't cute enough, the series eschews voice actors altogether, instead having the
characters communicate through title cards.
Chibi Robo of Chibi Robo! (2005)
Protagonist of the self-titled video game, Robo patrols a 1960's household performing menial tasks whilst collecting "happiness points" through making life easier for his humanoid (and therefore, superior!) brethren.
Toyota's Violin-Playing Robot (2007)
Honda had its Asimo robot, who was kinda cute. But Toyota fought back with a robot that can actually play "Pomp and Circumstance" on the violin.
Dor-15 from Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Dor-15, or "Doris" for short, is a robotic bowler hat and assistant to the nefarious Michael "Goob" Yagoobian, better known as (of course) "Bowler Hat Guy".
A suspiciously Mogwai-like robot developed at M.I.T., Leonardo is described by Dr. Cynthia Breazel as "the most sophisticated social robot in the world today". It would probably be a bad idea to get him wet, also.
The robotic arm from Iron Man (2008)
Tony Stark's expressive and helpful robotic arm made the scenes where Iron Man had to weld something at least 80% more enjoyable to watch. He totally upstages J.A.R.V.I.S.
Wall-E from Wall-E (2008)
Pixar's beloved Wall-E combines Johnny 5's tank treads with R.O.B.'s binocular eyes and Mr. Butlertron's lilting mechanical tones. He loves fellow robot EVE, dislikes the obese humans, and thinks we should all go outside and play in the grass, already!
Gerty 3000 from Moon (2009)
Sam Rockwell's lunar personal assistant, Gerty consoled him… with friendly emoticons and a helping, pneumatic hand.
Proto-Bot from Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2010)
Batman's hulking but child-like experimental robot Proto was deemed too clumsy to be a successful crimefighter, and so spent his time caring for Ace, the Bat-Hound. However, when Black Mask takes control
of his more-advanced successor robots, he proves himself to be more than capable of defending Gotham with the Hammers of Justice. Voiced by the great Adam West.
Robot Teddy Bear by Fujitsu (2011)
It's a real-life version of the teddy bear from A.I. — complete with a webcam in its nose. That couldn't possibly lead to embarrassment.
Wafflebot from A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D (2011)
After being emancipated from his abusive owner Neil Patrick Harris, Wafflebot (who loves waffles) becomes intensely loyal to new owner Kumar, eventually rescuing him from the Russian Mafia through scalding maple syrup. Notably, Wafflebot hates pancakes. "They make pancakes in Hell!"
80's Robot from The Muppets (2011)
"80's Robot" was the name given to Kermit the Frog's valet since the mysterious falling out of the Muppets, some time ago. He still uses dial-up.
There are over 100 robots on this list, but we're sure we still missed plenty... which of your favorite cute robots did we leave out? Name them in the comments!