The 40 Best Robots of All Time (Fictional and Real)

Tech Lists Robots
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20. Astro Boy

Created: 1952
Creator: Osamu Tezuka
Creator (fictional): Doctor Tenma

The hero of early Japanese Manga became an animated TV show in 1963. Living in a future world where robots and humans coexist, Astro Boy was the robot replacement for Dr. Tenma’s dead son—rejected when Tenma realized he wouldn’t be the same. And yes, A.I. pretty much copied that plot.

19. The Iron Giant

Created: 1968 (novel)
Creator: Ted Hughes
Director: Brad Bird
Voice: Vin Diesel

Before he was creating masterpieces for Pixar, Brad Bird was directing this 1999 animated film for Warner Bros with a story as compelling as his work to follow. After losing its memory upon crash-landing on earth, The Iron Giant must learn the ways of Earth from a small boy named Hogarth. Despite their difference in size, Hogarth teaches The Iron Giant about the value of friendship and selflessness of sacrifice.—Wyndham Wyeth

18. Optimus Prime (Transformers)

Created: 1984
Creatosr: Hasbro and Takara Tomy

We mean Optimus Prime the toy, followed by the animated TV show and only then the Michael Bay films.

17. Roomba

Created: 2002
Creator: iRobot

Sure, there are robots on this list who can shoot lasers and fight aliens, but the Roomba will do your vacuuming. Okay, so Rosie will do that too, but Roomba is real—over 2.5 million have been sold.

16. DJ Roomba (Parks and Recreation)

Created: 2010
Creator: Greg Daniels and Michael Schur
Creator (fictional): Tom Haverford

What beats a Roomba? A DJ Roomba. The unofficial mascot of the Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Recreation department, DJ Roomba is repurposed by the one and only Tom Haverford to be a robot DJ. “What’s hot, DJ Roomba?” After being accidentally stepped on by the bumbling Jerry, he returned as a ghost to play Black-Eyed Peas on a nonstop looooop.—Kirk Hamilton

15. Cindi Mayweather (Metropolis, The ArchAndroid albums)

Created: 2007
Creator: Janelle Monáe

In the year 2719, Platinum 9000 android Cindi Mayweather is mass-produced for the wealthy citizens of Metropolis. Bestowed with a soul, Cindi joins the cyber soul rebellion and falls in love with billionaire Sir Anthony Greendown—a major breaking of the rules. When she’s sentenced to disassembly, she escapes to the wondergound, where her true destiny as the ArchAndroid is revealed. She’s sent back in time to put an end to The Great Divide, a covert operation which suppresses freedom and love.

14. Rosie (The Jetsons)

Created: 1962
Creator: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Voice: Jean Vander Pyl

Rescued from the scrapheap, Rosie kept the Jetson house in order, dispensing wisdom with a Jersey accent.

13. Crow T. Robot/Tom Servo (Mystery Science Theater 3000)

Created: 1988
Creator: Joel Hodgson
Creator (fictional): Joel Robinson
Crow Voices: Trace Beaulieu, Bill Corbett, Paul Chaplin
Tom Voices: Josh Weinstein, Kevin Murphy James Moore, Frank Conniff

Crow and Tom aim is to help their creator Joel (who’s trapped on a spaceship called the Satellite of Love) withstand the torture of watching terrible B-movies by making fun of everything and everything associated with the film, including the credits.—Nathan Spicer

12. K-9 (Doctor Who)

Created: 1977
Creator: Bob Baker
Voice: John Leeson, David Brierley

The Daleks were flesh and blood on the inside, and the Cyber-Men were, well, part men. But we’d have picked the good Doctor’s robotic dogs anyway, even though we had no idea Mark III got his own spin-off in 1981 (K-9 and Company!).

11. The Terminator

Created: 1984
Creator: James Cameron
Actor: Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Governator was completely in his element during the first two great incarnations of The Terminator, giving us action film at its’ best. We know he’ll “be back”—even if its just his CG likeness.—Sean Doyle