Elder Robots

It’s always nice to show our appreciation for our elders. Today’s young robots may be whippier, snappier, and go-gettier than their forbears but you have to admit that few of them have the moxie to dust themselves off after 45 years and have a walk around town (although it still wouldn’t qualify for a senior’s discount). George, a British humanoid robot made out of a WWII bomber, was resurrected by his inventor after decades in the garage–and all it took was a little bit of oil and some new batteries. Respect.

George is very impressive, but he’s not the oldest robot by any means. Ever-popular Buddha inspired a Japanese robot some 80 years ago that has recently been updated (pics here)–do robots meditate in solid state?

In a similar aesthetic vein to George, Chinese farmer Wu Yulu made a robotic rickshaw driver, one of his many eccentric projects since the 80s.

Here on hackaday we see a lot of modern robotics, but what about a return to the old school? Next time you have a scrap airplane on hand why not weld together a classic robot, and while you’re at it give your regards to old George.


  1. mjrippe says:

    “George was pictured carrying the shopping, hovering and even mowing the lawn.”

    Um, shouldn’t that be “hoovering” (vacuuming)? I don’t think George had anti-gravity capabilities!

  2. Ben Ryves says:

    There’s a video of George on the BBC website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11766846

  3. I love it. Here is a person who was ahead of the time, technology just wasnt there to do what he wanted, but he tried, and in my opnion, succeded.

  4. yibble says:

    Anyone else notice that this is Tony Sale, who led the project to rebuild the Colossus MkII at the Museum of National Computing / Bletchley Park?

  5. yibble says:

    Ah, just watched the BBC video, slap me.

  6. Olivier says:

    @Ben Ryves: thanks! It’s exactly what was missing in this post: a video of the robot. Looks great.

  7. VV says:

    If you can get up to Bletchley park do go and see. I went with my college and Tony Sale did part of the tour. Its a fantastic museum there. If you live in the UK make the effort to go, they are always in need of donations to keep the place running.

  8. ftorama says:

    well, don’t forget Vaucanson, his duck and other creatures:


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