R2D2 and CP30 Starwars Robots

The man who played the Android R2D2 in Starswars, i.e.,
who resided within the shell of R2D2 is Kenny Baker who is 3 foot 8 inches tall.

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*R2D2 and CP30 are characterized as droids in constrast to robots called drones. The definition of an android or droid is: An advanced human-like robot with artificial intelligence (AI) such that it can think for itself and operate altogether autonomously. Usually an android or droid looks like a person as is the case with CP30 but not so much with R2D2.

A simple definition of a drone is: A robot or machine that cannot work alone, i.e., a person must tell it what to do. Yet, there is still another type of robot which differs from androids and drones in that it is part machine and part person. This is known as a "cyborg" robot. A cyborg is actually a person with whose body parts actuate assisting members which enhance strength or dexterity. For example, might wear a "cyborg" called an exoskeleton. This cyborg could outfit the person's arm giving great strength to these extremities. Likewise, a person whose arm or leg had been amputated might use a cyborg arm attached to the nerves such that signals from the brain operate it like an actual arm. The best known example of a cyborg is the character in the television series The Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin played by actor Lee Majors.

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One of the earliest Hollywood droids was the Tin Woodsman in the classic make believe movie The Wizard of Oz. Like R2D2 in Starwars, the Tin Man was actually a person named Jack Haley. He very much resembled the droid CP30.

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*R2-D2 was named when a technician from "American Graffiti"
asked Lucas for Reel number 2, Dialogue track number 2.

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R2-D2 and C-3PO characters are inspired from the,
famous comics duo of Laurel and Hardy.

R2-D2 wind-up action figure made by Takara in Japan, was one of George Lucas's
favorite toys. Lucasfilm itself ordered thousands of them for company employees.

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Kenny Baker Answers Questions About Playing R2D2.

How hot is it in R2D2?

On location it gets quite hot especially in Tunisia,
when we are in the studio it is not too bad inside.
Once on location someone fried an egg on R2D2's shell.
The hottest it eever got to while I was inside was 127 Fahrenheit.

How long do you stay inside R2D2?

It depends on the scene, as long as the scene takes
really, sometimes it is only 5 minutes, but it
can last up to 30 minutes. I am lucky I am not
C3PO who has to spend all day in his costume
as it takes him so long to get in and out.

How do you get into and out of R2D2?

The head is lifted off, and I am lowered in by
two people, there is a seat inside which i can sit on.

What do you do inside R2D2?

I sit inside and listen to instructions, it can be
very noisy in there at times, so you have to be
alert. I have two levers to enable movement from side
to side, but the I can only move 3 inches at a time.

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Last modified: Friday, 25-Mar-11 10:07:00 PM CDT

Web Editor: Jerry Woodfill / NASA, Mail Code ER7, NASA JSC, Houston, TX 77058

A service of the Software, Robotics and Simulation Division, Rob Ambrose, Chief.