Retrofuturist Flashback: Rise of the Mobot


Mobot Mark II... attacks? Bettmann/Contributor

In today's edition of Retrofuturist Flashback, we consider the might of 1960's Mobot Mark II, a remote controlled mobile robot built by Hughes Aircraft company with the aim of carrying out delicate jobs in "areas too dangerous for man, including 'hot' radiation labs."

So, naturally, we see the six-foot, multi-jointed arms of the mechanical mangler threatening the flesh of a human model -- as well as ogling her with its TV camera 'eyes.' Even the machines of the 1960s were sexist monsters! Or, as the original caption describes it, the mobot merely "demonstrates its almost-human actions."

Meanwhile, in the image below, we see the Mobot Mark II as it demonstrates the pouring of a liquid from one flash to another -- via the expertise of a human operator. Are we to assume he was also at the controls in the first photo? My good man, let's find less stereotypical '6os ways to test a soulless automaton rather than probably booze swilling and female objectification.

Mobot Mark II pours one out...
Bettmann/Contributor

Robert Lamb is a senior writer and host at HowStuffWorks, where he co-hosts Stuff to Blow Your Mind. An avid science enthusiast, he boasts a deep love for monsters, a hankering for electronic music and an endless fascination for the intersection of myth, history and the natural world. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and son.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.