Smart People Build Robots
smart guy is already bespectacled, a master chess player, and fluent in Latin. How else can you show how brilliant he is? Why, by having him build robots of course! May be justified (said smart guy has a formal education in an appropriate branch of engineering, is a self-taught Gadgeteer Genius, etc.) or not (said smart guy is a teenager who just happens to, among his many other skills, be able to create from scratch a fully functional robot). A lonely or isolated creator might create a robot for the sake of having a friend or a lover. This may be because all nerds are good with technology, so building robots is the next logical step. In Sci-Fi stories, expect the creation to be an Artificially Intelligent anthropomorphic Robot Buddy. Or Evil. The smart guy could uses his robot to battle the robots of other smart guys, destroy giant monsters, or do his chores. Compare and Contrast the Robot Master, who does this sort of thing for a living, rather than just as a hobby between many other non-robot related science projects.
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Anime and Manga
- The Professor in Nichijou is age eight and has built a perfectly functional, sentient robot she named Nano. Outside of this achievement however, she spends about 95% of her time on typical eight year old activities like coloring books.
- In Iron Man, Tony Stark is kidnapped while visiting Vietnam (Afghanistan in the film version) and ordered to help develop weapons for his captors. But instead of rigging a McGuiver style escape plan, he uses the equipment he's given to build a suit of Powered Armor and break out. In the film version, he also has a couple of robot arms in his workspace that he built himself, who he refers to as "Dummy" and "You". It's implied that he built Dummy back when he was a kid.
- Henry Pym and Reed Richards, two Omnidisciplinary Scientists who build robots in their spare time. Pym's are plot-relevant, Richards' just hang around as background detail.
- The Silver Age Superman could pump out a quick robot, no problem.
- Happens a few times in Contraptionology as the science-crazed ponyvillians start getting hostile, but Twilight Sparkle takes the cake. In a bid to achieve immortality, she constructs a liquid-metal robot body to transplant her brain into. To up the ante further, she decides to test the robot to ensure that her magic will still work, so she loads it with all her magic capability and a programmed personality based on Trixie, her rival who hates her. And in case that wasn't enough goading fate, she then tells Robo-Trixie that she'll wipe her personality once the tests are done.
- Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace is shown to have a preternatural talent for all things mechanical, in particular robots. Used not so much to show smartness per se, but rather cleverness and precociousness.
- In the TV movie High School USA!, the two nerds built their own robot that responded to voice commands.
- Revenge of the Nerds: the Nerds have a robot they use as an occasional butler.
- Robin Williams in Flubber has two.
- Averted with Megamind, who stops short at mere Motion Capture Mecha instead, and a Powered Armor for his assistant Minion (who depends on it, being a limbless talking fish.) He also has those flying drones that act like dogs. He ends up blowing up some of them ("Daddy's sorry") when pretending to be Bernard, but later reveals he has hundreds more.
- Averted big time in Real Steel, where practically anyone with just enough smarts can build robots from scrap.
- Dr. Morbius in Forbidden Planet. Justified since his intellect was enhanced by alien technology.
- Iron Man, as mentioned in the Comic Books section.
- In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj, and Howard, construct a robot named M.O.N.T.E. for the Southern California Robot Fighting League Round Robin Invitational, though end up battling Barty Kripke's robot "the Krippler" in a street fight. Lampshaded: There were a few jokes about them being defensive about how nerdy they were perceived by Penny, all the while doing the most geeky thing Penny could possibly imagine. Averted; Howard, who has a Master's degree in engineering, was the one who did most of the work. The other three didn't even know how to open the toolbox.
- In the Nick Verse show Zoey 101, Zoey and her friends construct a robot to battle against a group of Insufferable Geniuses' robots.
- On MythBusters, Grant, who formerly built robots for BattleBots, is lampshaded as this type of The Smart Guy by the others as a Running Gag.
- Screech in Saved by the Bell had his own robot that just hung around his bedroom.
- Wizards of Waverly Place's smart guy Justin Russo builds a working robot out of household items... so he could dance with it in a "big synchronized robot event".
- Riptide (TV Adventure series, not the novel): Gadgeteer Genius sometimes-helper Murray "Boz" Bozinsky has a robot he calls the RoBoz.
- Urkel from Family Matters built a robot or two.
- In Season 8 of Degrassi KC, Connor, Alli and Clare are part of a school team for a robotics competition modeled after FIRST.
- Some of The Smart Guys of Power Rangers have an affinity for robotics. Billy never built one himself, but occasionally did maintenance and repairs on Zordon's assistant Alpha 5. Trip has Circuit, an owl Robot Buddy that he built. Andrew Hartford built himself a Ridiculously Human Robot son. Antonio reverse-engineered his Ranger gear by studying a Robot Buddy he was given, and was often put to work by the team repairing and completing their other mecha.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Being the Smart Girl of the Scoobies, Willow apparently has enough knowledge of robotics to fiddle around with the various Ridiculously Human Robots they encounter, modifying the Buffybot for their use.
- "The Future Soon" by Jonathan Coulton has the speaker building a robot army among other random acts of genius. It ends badly.
- Invoked in Star Wars Episode I; as Anakin Skywalker, the player can obtain various rewards by building C-3PO.
- Magic: The Gathering: Tezzeret, the Seeker is one of the cleverest people in the series, and has a penchant for building automota, golems and clockwork constructs, among other things. His cards can even turn your artifacts into robots to fight for you!
- Members of the Adeptus Mechanicus sometimes build Cyber-Altered Task units, which are very simple robots used for routine tasks. They say they're a practical application of theological principles, but to outsiders they seem suspiciously like pets.
- d20 Modern has the Techie advanced class, which is most easily reached through the Smart Hero class and can eventually learn to build small assisting robots. They're remote-controlled drones with very limited capabilities, mostly to let Techies use certain skills without putting themselves in direct danger.
- In Chrono Trigger, smart girl Lucca has the skills and knowledge necessary to repair and reprogram a robot from the distant future to be her friend and party member. Good thing the future still uses C.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Tails, especially in Tails Adventure and Sonic Chronicles.
- Jennifer in Disgaea built Thursday at an early age.
- Pascal in Tales of Graces built mechanized versions of Asbel and Sophie in certain skits and can use them in her artes.
- Inverted with Ctrl+Alt+Del, where Ethan somehow manages to make his X-Box and Gamecube into sentient Robots.
- Sean 'Dark Smoke Puncher' McNinja is the family computer nerd, and fills his free time by building robot super animals. His father does not approve unless the robots hurt someone.
- In Girl Genius, the title character has a particular aptitude for steampunk robots. As do many other Sparks in their world, though some prefer biology.
- Kat in Gunnerkrigg Court. Annie also does it at first, but she just pieced together parts of a disassembled robot.
- Subverted in Homestuck: Equius is the resident robotics expert yet he doesn't seem to be particularly bright.
- Played straight, however, with Dirk.
- In O Human Star, this shows up a lot, seeing as every character so far is a robot, a roboticist, or both.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! resident supergenius Molly likes to build robots. The only one who became sentient was made out of a milking machine. The robot lion was given the brain of a Colecovision. Another two were steam-powered and made of snow (they melted).
- Kimiko of Dresden Codak; why wait for someone to come along and say We Can Rebuild Her, when you could just do it yourself?
- In Nukees Plasma Physics major Danny built a giant, robotic, nuclear-powered ant for the government, though Gav tends to borrow it for rampages against Greenies. Gav on the other hand is more inclined towards software, such as Teri the Turing-grade calculator pet that escaped into the internet and infected most of the world.
- In Kim Possible, all the smart guys build robots and battle them at a place called "the Robot Rumble".
- Toby, WordGirl's most intelligent Arch-Enemy (not that there's a lot of competition for the title), builds giant robots to carry out his Evil Plans.
- The Simpsons:
- Inverted in one episode. Homer & Bart try to build a robot for the Show Within a Show "Robot Rumble". But they can't get it to work, so Homer makes a "robot" that's just him in a metal suit. They make it to the finals, where they're matched up against five-time returning champs Professor Frink and son. Bart & Homer, being dumb, can't build a functioning robot.
- Played straight with the Frinks, who built a kickass fighting robot.
- Homer once did throw out a half-finished robot he built. It could talk and had brooms for arms. The robot looked very sad.
- Lisa built a robot called Linguo for her school science fair. He was designed to correct grammar.
- In one episode depicting the future, Martin Prince built himself a robot who went to a prom with him. When Martin got too friendly, the robot felt Driven to Suicide and auto-destructed himself.
- Dexter of Dexter's Laboratory does a lot of advanced robotics.
- The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius covered this trope a couple times.
- High schoolers Roland, Martin, and Elise in the infamous Transformers episode "B.O.T."
- In Rick and Morty, Rick Sanchez builds a small robot for the sake of passing him the butter on the dinner table. The robot is also smart enough to have an existential crisis upon realizing that its only purpose is to pass butter for Rick.
- The Brain from Arthur has been shown to occasionally built robots.
- Buckwheat in The Little Rascals often builds robots using Bamboo Technology. One was designed to clean Waldo's yacht, and another was Buckwheat's project for the school science fair.
- In The Powerpuff Girls the Professor builds the Dynamic Nanotronic Monobot for the girls to battle a giant fish. Despite the fact that the resulting damage is no worse than any other time the girls save the city, the Mayor tells him to never use it again. The only other appearance of the Dynamo is when the Mayor himself accidentally pilots it and destroys the city.