I love robots, they’re my friends. At least, they are until the batteries run out, or they go on a laser death rampage. Thankfully, the former usually happens before the latter. Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so it’s time to round up the best robots available to buy on eBay. And this week, I’m upping the number to ten of the tinny fellas, because there’s just too many good ones: Sega’s freaky cat-bot, Coca Cola’s rare Japanese waiter-bot, and Tom Baker’s nemesis from Doctor Who and more…
1. Change Man Robot
You want rare robo-fun? Apparently only 12 of these Change Man robots were ever made back in 1968, which explains why this one’s currently going for $8,100. It’s battery-powered, and was made by Japanese firm Marumiya. It sounds a bit freaky though – check its functions. ‘Walking Forward’, ‘Stop and Go’, and ‘Space Sound’ are fair enough. But ‘Monster Head Splits as Boy’s Face Emerges’? Yoich!
2. Sega’s Scary ‘Near Me’ cat-bot
Here’s a paradox. Sony’s AIBO robo-dogs were cute, despite being metallic and hairless. Yet Sega’s ‘Near Me’ robo-cat, which has fur, will send children and adults alike screaming from the room in terror. Well, maybe that’s a bit unkind… Anyway, it seems realistic in other ways, given that it doesn’t walk around, but just mews and wiggles its ears. And it won’t wake you up at 3am proudly clutching a mouse in its jaws. Buy It Now price is $199.
3. Coca Cola ‘Happy Can Can’ robot
No, I didn’t know Coca Cola made robots either. But this is a special one, apparently manufactured specifically for the drinks company’s executives in Japan (where else?). It’s 8.5 inches tall, and is remote-controlled – I think the idea is that it whizzes around the room carrying your cans of
Pepsi Coke when you have a dinner party. Something like that, anyway. Scandalously, it doesn’t appear to have the facility to actually dance the Can Can, thus scuppering any plans I had to bid $350 for it.
4. Brown-shoed Frankenstein
This Franken-bot is apparently ultra rare because of its brown shoes – I’m assuming black-shoed versions are ten-a-penny. Anyway, he’s remote controlled with what looks like a prototype PlayStation joypad, and is able to walk, bend over, raise and lower his arms, and reach out to grab someone in jerky Frankenstein style. He’s had nine bids so far, sending the price to $300 with just under a couple of days to go.
5. Johnny Sokko Giant Robot
Not too much information in this bot’s eBay listing, but I think he looks like a blue Egyptian Inspector Gadget. I can’t believe he was discontinued! Anyway, he’s 22 inches high with 10 moving joints, is made of vinyl, and comes in his box as new. Nobody’s yet bitten on the $99.99 starting price, but it’s surely only a matter of time.
6. Robo-Pong 2040
The name’s nothing to do with its smell – although I can’t vouch for its fragrance seeing as eBay have been unaccountably slow to introduce eSmell technology for auctions. Instead, this is a robotic table-tennis trainer, firing balls at you while catching your returns and slinging them back at you. I bet it can’t deal with my crafty back-hand top-spin lobs mind. Starting price is $635.99.
7. Horikawa Video Robot
One day, we won’t have plasma televisions: we’ll just have great big robots that follow us round the house, showing Midsomer Murders on their chest-mounted LCD displays. Maybe. Of course, Japanese toy-makers had the idea decades ago, as shown by this vintage 9.5-inch bot who can walk forward while showing a trippy space slide-show on his chest screen. Mark my words, this is the future. Er, except hopefully a bit bigger. Starting price is $199.
8. Vintage Doctor Who robot
Back in the 1970s, they knew how to merchandise popular timelord-based sci-fi programmes. Forget yer DVDs, they made licensed robots like this one. It was made by Denys Fisher and Mego, and is based on a baddie from the 1974 episode ‘Robot’ – co-incidentally Tom Baker’s first appearance as the Doctor. He’s in perfect working condition apart from "a little dust in some of the nooks and crannies". And the same is true of the robot! Ho ho. Current bid is £89.99.
9. 1950s rocket robot
Another vintage Japanese tin robot, this time an SY Rocket 7 which was made in the 1950s. It’s a cheeky-faced bot sitting in a rocket, with arms that swing freely in the breeze – the robotic equivalent of dogs who hang their tongues out of car windows. Yes, you do get the box, and the little fella’s already got five bids, taking his price to $102.50 with five days to go.
10. Masadaya Robby Robot
I know very little about this bot other than that he’s two feet tall, and can talk and blink. But more importantly, he looks bloody scary, eh? Worth paying $95 for just to give your nightmares a fresh injection of robo-fear.