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V.I.N.Cent; because robo-legs are overrated anyway.
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One alternative to having bipedal, human-shaped robots is 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.

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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Heart Gear, which takes place in a world populated only by robots (save for the human protagonist Roue) after humans wiped themselves out, has "camgears" (used to record and air matches in a fighting arena), which are small, floating, mushroom-shaped robots with one eye, retractable arms and a minimalistic design. Rock is one such Gear who started developing free will after being accidentally damaged; as a result his "eyelid" tends to move and make him more expressive than his fellow camgears. After the Valhalla arc that introduces him, he becomes the cute Comic Relief partner to the protagonists, true to his design.

    Comic Books 
  • Booster Gold: Booster had his Robot Buddy, Skeets, which is a floating ellipsoid.
  • The Lawbots in the Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire comics are floating metallic spheres with two arms and a separate weapon on a tentacle.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The End: Banner/Hulk has the floating head of a Rigellian Recorder as his only companion; the story is set After the End where the only living things left on earth are him and roaches which eat him every night.

    Films — Animation 
  • DOR-15 from Meet the Robinsons is a robotic bowler hat with a single eye who normally travels by hovering. However, she also has retractable limbs and weapons, including Spider Limbs that she can walk with.
  • EVE from WALL•E consists of floating egg-shaped components, complete with head and arms.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Disney's The Black Hole, V.I.N.Cent, B.O.B. and Maximillain are floating robots. Maximillian is humanoid but with no feet, while V.I.N.Cent and B.O.B. are spherical floating torsos with retractable arms, legs, and heads.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Literature 
  • Larry Niven's short story "Cloak of Anarchy" had "copseyes", spherical robots the size of a basketball that floated around Free Parks. They had a television camera connected to police headquarters and a sonic stunner. Anyone who tried to commit violence in a Free Park was stunned unconscious.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel Friday. Police had Public Eyes that they used to perform surveillance. The Eyes had cameras that allowed an officer monitoring them to see what was going on, with a memory that could hold 12 hours of visual record. An unmonitored Public Eye floated around, following any object with the temperature of a human body.
  • Iain Banks's The Culture series features several drones as supporting characters. Drones are artificial intelligences (calling them "robots" is insulting as they are full Culture citizens rather than non-intelligent servitors) that vary from roughly human-sized to something that can fit comfortably in the palm of someone's hand. They usually have no moving parts, or any significant external features; they use a complex series of fields (forcefields, basically) to levitate and manipulate the world around them as a form of technological telekinesis. Although most drones have roughly the same intelligence and strength as a (gifted) human, some are significantly more capable.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Automan's buddy Cursor acts like this.
  • 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.
  • Hard Time on Planet Earth: the protagonist is an alien sentenced to living on Earth. His FHR is a combination helper/jailer, as it's there primarily to make sure he doesn't leave.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 has Tom Servo, who has a "hoverskirt" in place of legs. Versions of Cambot from the Mike Nelson era on are usually just flying eyeballs.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • This overlaps with Sinister Geometry in the Varakhut, a powerful Construct designed to neutralize threats to the gods. Its torso and arms are abstract metallic prisms, and it has another prism instead of legs.
    • The Shadesteel Golem is a powerful SkeleBot 9000 from the Plane of Shadow that flies with perfect manoeuvrability and near-absolute silence.
  • 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.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Servo-skulls, which look like what you would expect given the name. They're used for a variety of functions, from surveillance to simply holding a flashlight. The kicker is that the casing is sometimes a real skull.
    • T'au drones are simple robots resembling flying metal saucers with a variety of things bolted to their upper and undersides, such as civilian tools, guns, shield generators, and cameras. They're used for a variety of roles that are either too simple and tedious or too risky for a living person to perform, such as performing rote maintenance, assisting workers or soldiers, or running scouting missions.

    Video Games 
  • The ClueFinders: The team's Robot Buddy is LapTrap, a floating robotic laptop.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The Precursors' Magitek constructs are built like floating legless humanoids, allowing them to hover over harmful surfaces. Some of them also have Rocket Jump engines built into the bottom of their torsos and/or Floating Limbs for their Arm Cannons.
  • In the Fallout universe, the common Mr. Handy utility robot is a floating sphere with several arms, vaguely resembling an octopus. The sphere has three eyes on stalks to act as an expressive "face". As the series progressed, variations of the Mr. Handy were introduced, including the war-built Mr. Gutsy, the Distaff Counterpart Miss Nanny, and the farm-built Mr. Farmhand.
  • 343 Guilty Spark and the rest of the Forerunner Monitors from the Halo series. The Sentinels would fit better under Attack Drone.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: Bronya Zaychik is accompanied by Project Bunny 19c, her personal support robot that usually flies behind her. She usually hides it in Hammerspace, and she'll summon it whenever she needs to attack.
  • Jet Force Gemini has Floyd, whose propeller and eyes take up the majority of his small body.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, 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.
  • Mega Man
    • Seen after the graphic leap to 16-bits in ''Mega Man (Classic) with at least one Robot Master having a floating system instead of using legs as most of the RM of the series: Cloud Man, Astro Man and Splash Woman (she uses a mermaid tail instead of having no feet, but also floats on the stage). Also, some of Dr. Wily's giant robots from his fortresses use this system to float all over the screen to beat Mega Man.
    • In Mega Man X5, Sigma, who usually appears in full body, now just appears as a single gigantic head. He shows up as the Warmup Boss... who actually planned for the heroes to defeat him so that he can spread his Sigma Virus around when he's destroyed.
  • 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.
  • Senran Kagura: Haruka, one of Homura's companions, has a robot that has only 2 arms and floats, that she uses to fight.
  • Sewer Shark features such a robot named Catfish. He goes ahead of your ship to find the route you need to take to accomplish your objective, whether it's as simple as "find mutated sewer creatures to shoot" or as complicated as "follow another ship and give me directions." He's played by an awful wire-controlled puppet. Well, it was the mid-'90s and FMV games didn't have the best resolution...
  • Star Wars Droidworks has Holocam-E, nicknamed "Cammy", a winged hovering camera droid whom provides a live feed of the droids you build and send on missions, doubling as your HUD.
  • In the factory levels of Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster's Hidden Treasure, one of the enemies is ACME-Tron, a robot who appeared in the short, "Happy Birthday Hamton" from the TV series episode, "Playtime Toons''. When Buster jumps on ACME-Tron's head, it will detach from his body and float upwards. Buster can then ride the detached floating head to reach higher places.
  • Chortlebot from Wario Land: Shake It! is a giant floating Robot Clown head.

    Web Comics 
  • Schlock Mercenary gives us Ennesby, who gets a full-blown disembodied head after being downloaded to his "maraca-node". Lots and lots of jokes follow 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.

    Web Original 
  • Minilife TV has Master Quoker's personal assistant, Pumpkin Bot, who's basically a pumpkin in a floating robot body.

    Western Animation 
  • In the 3-2-1 Penguins! episode "The Doom Funnel Rescue", B.I.N.G. is circular in shape and has retractable mechanical arms. His main purpose in this episode is to serve as Kevin's mechanical sidekick.
  • The Disney Television cartoon series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has XR as one of Buzz's close associates. XR's head floats above his trunk but below a clear dome. Since he's an Iron Butt Monkey on the show, this head is often the only part of him left intact, and it delivers a pithy observation about his destruction. The same series also introduces XR's Evil Counterpart, XL, a beta version of XR that went rogue.
  • Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys has Orbitron, a shiny floating sphere who snarkily provides the space monkeys with information to help their missions.
  • Futurama: The new Robot 1-X is an advanced robot fueled off pollution and breathes out oxygen. It's a short torso-less robot that moves around by hovering.
  • PJ Masks has PJ Robot, the heroes' Robot Buddy, who can fly and thus has no legs or wheels (though concept art for the character shows these were originally considered).
  • Thundarr the Barbarian: In the episode "Mindok the Mind Menace", the evil wizard Mindok turns out to be one of these.
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