Floating Head Robot YKTTW Discussion

Floating Head Robot
A robot character consists of a floating part, similar to a Surveillance Drone.
(permanent link) added: 2011-12-25 12:33:35 sponsor: SabresEdge (last reply: 2012-01-01 23:24:26)

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Could do with a better title. Up for Grabs. May need to be split off into two articles if the "floating body robot" variation accumulates enough examples.

One alternative to having bipedal, human-shaped robots goes the minimalist approach. If they can float via Artificial Gravity or some unknown phlebotinum, then they can dispense with the torso and the legs and all those other messy, mechanical parts. All they need is a casing for their processor and a floating thingamajigger. A visible face is optional; more common is a single glowing "eye" with Unusual Eyebrows around it.

That's the way the logic goes, anyway. Some of these are more complicated for various assorted roles: they may have weapons or tools or arms attached. Sometimes they'll be expanded to a full-blown robot torso, only with antigravity instead of legs.

The "floating head" version is usually a sidekick or a Robot Buddy if on the protagonist's side, since the small size lends itself well to comic relief. On the opposing side, expect it to be higher up; often it's the Big Bad. The lack of hands and AI nature often means that its additional role will be The Cracker.

Compare Floating Mask and Oculothorax. Surveillance Drone and Attack Drones may be subtropes if the robot in question is just a device used in a specific manner, not a character.



  • The little training remote from Star Wars may just be the Trope Codifier, along with the interrogation droid, Darth Maul's scout/probe droids, and quite a few others in the films and the Expanded Universe. There's lots of overlap with Surveillance Drone and Attack Drone here.
  • Flash Gordon. The Emperor Ming has a roughly spherical robot that floats around acting as an escort, spying on people and zapping anyone who tried to escape or kill Ming.

Live-Action Television

Tabletop Games
  • Classic Traveller supplement Book 8, Robots. Robots with artificial gravity didn't need any legs, and could be designed with all of their components inside a single chassis and without appendages.

Video Games
  • Wheatley and the rest of the cores from Portal 2 fit the decription partially. They're more cubical than round, but they do have the Cyber Cyclops part down. Wheatley doesn't float, instead running around the Aperture Science facility on ceiling-mounted rails when he's not being carried about by Chell or plugged into the mainframe, but the effect is much the same.
  • 343 Guilty Spark and the rest of the Forerunner Monitors from the Halo series. The Sentinels would fit better under Attack Drone.
  • G0-T0 and Bao-Dur's Remote are both this. Given the commonality of repulsorlift technology in the Star Wars-verse, quite a few droids follow this pattern.
  • Jet Force Gemini has Floyd, whose propeller and eyes take up the majority of his small body.
  • Mr. Zurkon from {{Ratchet & Clank}}.

  • Schlock Mercenary gives us Ennesby, who gets a full-blown disembodied head after being downloaded to his "maraca-node". Lots and lots of jokes earlier about the lack of arms, legs, and other limbs. On the other side--complete with torsos, armor, and lots of heavy weapons--are the Tarbots.
  • The Lawbots in the Buck Godot comics are floating metallic spheres with two arms and a separate weapon on a tentacle.

Web Original
  • Co-Host 3000 from Spill.

Western Animation
  • Fritz from Dinotopia: First Flight. "Hover-heads" like Fritz normally have a humanoid body with the head as a detachable module, but Fritz's body is ruined and is useful only as a charging station.
  • EVE from WALL•E consists of floating egg-shaped components, complete with head and arms.
  • From Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, members of the Computer Council are about the size of dishes. One, Dr. Theopolus, is carried around by Twiki, Buck's Robot Buddy. The others are, presumably, carried around as needed.
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