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10 Evil Robots Bent on Destroying Humanity

        Science | Robotics

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The Voc Robots
The Voc robots are not to be messed with. Photo by Bug Eye
The Voc robots are not to be messed with. Photo by Bug Eye

These nasty machines appeared in a cycle of classic episodes of BBC's sci-fi drama "Dr. Who" in the late 1970s, entitled "The Robots of Death." The Voc Robots don't have an explicit plan to kill the entire human race, but they probably wouldn't mind having one, since they enthusiastically exterminate every human they encounter in various grisly ways.

The story begins when the TARDIS, Dr. Who's spacecraft/time capsule, materializes aboard a mining ship that's combing an alien world for precious minerals. The "miner" is run by a small human crew, with the assistance of a robot workforce equipped with strange, Greek statue-like metallic faces and red eyes. Dr. Who (portrayed by Tom Baker) discovers that the crew is a bit freaked out, because they're being picked off, one by one, by an unseen killer. The latter turns out to be the evil human scientist Taren Capel, who as a child who was raised by robots, in a curious reworking of the "Tarzan of the Apes" narrative. Even though he has a meat body -- undoubtedly, to his chagrin -- Capel is a robot supremacist, and he busily reprograms all of the mining ship's robots, the Vocs, to kill the remaining members of the human crew.

Unfortunately for Capel, Dr. Who tricks him into inhaling helium, which alters his voice, which causes the killer robots not to recognize him as their co-conspirator, so that they kill him. In the end, Dr. Who himself narrowly avoids being choked out by a Voc who apparently has been practicing a robotic jujitsu, and escapes to continue his adventures [source: BBC].


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