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So your resident 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 degree in engineering, 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).

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.

Bonus Points if the smart guy uses his robot to battle the robots of other smart guys.

Compare and Contrast: Robot Master

Examples of Smart People Build Robots include:

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.

Comic Books


  • Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode I 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 Mo Cap Mecha instead, and a Powered Armor for his assistant Minion (who depends on it, being a limbless talking fish.)
  • Averted big time in Real Steel, where practically anyone with just enough smarts can build robots from scrap.
  • Dr.Morbius in Forbidden Planet


  • In the CHERUB Series book People's Republic, Ethan is a geek who is into chess and building robotics, though given that he is a kid and it is not a Science Fiction series, these are relatively simple robots and do not incorporate things like human-like Artificial Intelligence and speech.

Live Action TV


  • "The Future Soon" by Jonathan Coulton has the speaker building a robot army among other random acts of genius. It ends badly.

Tabletop Games

  • 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!

Video Games

Web Comics

  • 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.
  • 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.

Web Original

  • Doctor Steel, building an army of giant robots to take over the world.

Western Animation

  • In Kim Possible, all the smart guys build robots and battle them at a place called "the Robot Rumble".
  • Toby, Word Girl'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: 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 5 time returning champs Professor Frink and son. So, played straight (the Frinks) and Inverted (Bart & Homer, being dumb, can't build a robot).
    • Though Homer did throw out a half finished robot, he built in another episode.
  • Dexter of Dexter's Laboratory does a lot of advanced robotics.
  • Jimmy Neutron covered this trope a couple times.
  • Pidge from Voltron: Legendary Defender reprograms several drones and sentries during the series, and by the finale she's built a fully functioning robot named Chip.
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