Droid (robot)

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SWCA - From Droid Builder's Club Room

A droid is a fictional robot possessing some degree of artificial intelligence in the Star Wars science fiction franchise. Coined by special effects artist John Stears, the term is a clipped form of "android",[1] a word originally reserved for robots designed to look and act like a human.[2] The word "droid" has been a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd since 1977.[3][4][5][6]

Star Wars[edit]

The franchise, which began with the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, features a variety of droids designed to perform specific functions.

Protocol droid[edit]

A "protocol" droid specializes in translation, etiquette and cultural customs, and is typically humanoid in appearance.[7] The most notable example is C-3PO, introduced in Star Wars and featured in all sequels and prequels.[8] 4-LOM is a protocol droid turned bounty hunter who responds to Darth Vader's call to capture the Millennium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back (1980).[9][10] TC-14 is a droid with feminine programming that appears in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999),[11] and ME-8D9 is an "ancient protocol droid of unknown manufacture" that resides and works as a translator at Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).[12]

Astromech droid[edit]

Droid replicas of R5-D4 (left foreground) and R2-D2 (right), from the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California (April 2015)

An "astromech droid" is one of a series of "versatile utility robots generally used for the maintenance and repair of starships and related technology".[13] These small droids usually possess "a variety of tool-tipped appendages that are stowed in recessed compartments".[13] R2-D2 is an astromech droid introduced in 1977's Star Wars and featured in all subsequent films.[14] The malfunctioning droid R5-D4 also makes a brief appearance in Star Wars.[15] U9-C4 is a timid droid sent on a mission with D-Squad, an all-droid special unit in Star Wars: The Clone Wars,[16] and BB-8 is the astromech droid of X-wing fighter pilot Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens.[17]

Battle droid[edit]

A battle droid is a class of military robot in the Star Wars prequel trilogy of films (1999–2005) and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV series (2008–14), used as an easily controlled alternative to human soldiers.[18] The tall, thin B1 model resembles the Geonosian race, who designed the droids, and are known to "suffer programming glitches that manifest as personality quirks".[18] The droideka is a three-legged heavy infantry unit with twin blasters and the ability to generate a force shield and transform into a disk shape.[19] Multiple other types of specialized battle droids have been featured in the films and the TV series.[20]

HK-47 is a humanoid soldier robot, designed as a violent killer, which first appeared in the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.[21]

Other droids[edit]

Star Wars: The Clone Wars has featured WAC-47, a "pit droid" programmed as a pilot and sent on a mission with the all-droid special unit D-Squad,[22] and AZI-3, a medical droid serving the cloners of Kamino who helps uncover the secret of Order 66.[23] The 2015 young adult novel Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry introduces the droid PZ-4CO, to whom Leia Organa dictates her memoirs.[24][25] PZ-4CO also appears in The Force Awakens (2015).[26]

First usage[edit]

The term "Droid" was first used in the science fiction story "Robots of the World! Arise!" by Mari Wolf, published in If: Worlds of Science Fiction in July 1952.

Jack shook his head. "It's crazy. They're swarming all over Carron City. They're stopping robots in the streets--household Robs, commercial Droids, all of them."[27]

— Mari Wolf, "Robots of the World! Arise!"

Lucasfilm registered "droid" as a trademark in 1977.[3][4][6]

Trademark use[edit]

The term "Droid" has been used by Verizon Wireless under licence from Lucasfilm, for their line of smartphones based on the Android operating system. Motorola's late-2009 Google Android-based cell phone is called the Droid. This line of phone has been expanded to include other Android-based phones released under Verizon, including the HTC Droid Eris, the HTC Droid Incredible, Motorola Droid X, Motorola Droid 2, and Motorola Droid Pro.[28] The term was also used for the Lucasfilm projects EditDroid, a non-linear editing system, and SoundDroid, an early digital audio workstation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ droid, The Word Guy. (November 9, 2009)
  2. ^ Prucher, Jeff (May 7, 2007). Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction. Oxford University Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-19-530567-8. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "DROID (Original registration)". United States Patent and Trademark Office. September 22, 1977. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "DROID (Current registration)". United States Patent and Trademark Office. September 26, 2008. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Droid". The Free Encyclopedia. 1981. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Hachman, Mark (July 6, 2010). "TweetUp Buys, Renames Twidroid Twitter App.". PC Magazine. Retrieved July 13, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Databank: Protocol Droids". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Databank: C-3PO". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Databank: 4-LOM". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Databank: 4-LOM (Archived)". StarWars.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Databank: TC-14". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Databank: ME-8D9". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Databank: Astromech Droids". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Databank: R2-D2". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Databank: R5-D4". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Databank: U9-C4". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Databank: BB-8". StarWars.com. Retrieved December 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b "Databank: Battle Droid". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Databank: Droideka". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Battle Droids (Various)". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  21. ^ Boulding, Aaron (November 21, 2003). "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Review". IGN. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  22. ^ "Databank: WAC-47". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Databank: AZI-3". StarWars.com. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  24. ^ Sherer, Jay (November 6, 2015). "Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry". SF Signal. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  25. ^ Stevenson, Freeman (December 9, 2015). "The new canon books to read before you see Star Wars: The Force Awakens". Deseret News. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  26. ^ Breznican, Anthony (December 18, 2015). "Star Wars: The Force Awakens: A collection of cameos and Easter eggs: Friend of the General". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  27. ^ Wolf, Mari (July 1952). "Robots of the World! Arise!". If: Worlds of Science Fiction. 
  28. ^ "Droid 2 Gets a Surprise Hand-On". AndroidGuys. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 

External links[edit]