Last year, at the final launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, I got a chance to meet the earthbound counterpart to NASA and GM’s Robonaut that was blasting off to the International Space Station. The Robonaut I met didn’t say much. He shook your hand if you offered it to him and did his best impression of a low-rider on his newly attached rover body, but beyond that it looked like there wasn’t much going on behind his optic sensors. In the short film Robbie, director Neil Harvey shows us Robonaut’s sensitive side as he reflects on his life before shutting down for the last time.
Made entirely out of stock footage and animations, the short was created by Harvey as an anniversary present for his girlfriend. Although, the short film could probably be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the most depressing anniversary gift ever, it does tell a genuinely touching story. After getting an AI upgrade in 2032, the robot finds religion, makes friends and eventually gets his chance to go into space. Robbie is left all alone to maintain the space station by itself until something happens to the human race and the Robonaut is left to his own devices for the next 6,000 years.
No, the ISS would not remain in orbit for that long, and yes Robbie would have to have one hell of a battery to keep him in operation all that time anyway, but if you can get past all of that (and the cameo of Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson) the short may just make you tear up a bit.