Arkonide Multi-Purpose Robot

The Arkonide multi-purpose robot is an autonomous robot from the Perry Rhodan (PR) universe. It has been described in the very first issue of the PR magazine. Variations and enhancements of the model appear regularly in the novels.

Even in the first volume, where some of these machines rush to the aid of an Arkonide spaceship commander, the robots are described as "not the chunky, clumsy machines known on Earth", but as "agile humanoid figures that moved so fast that they seemed to appear out of nowhere". Of course, the novels being written during the Cold War, the machines would carry heavy guns and even have some internal weapon systems.

The model I built (say hi to the guy in the picture!) is a multi-purpose model without any internal weapons, although being 2.40m tall (7ft 9) and much faster and stronger than a human being, it may not even need any tools to cause serious trouble.

You can see lots of construction pictures here

The Arkonide robot and its successor, the Terran robot, have been described and depicted in many Perry Rhodan novels. They mostly appear as fighting machines, but also as construction machines, explorers of foreign worlds, labor for hazardous environments, and servants who run all kinds of errands around Arkonide and Terran domiciles.

The Terran fighting machine inspired my model a lot (title picture from the magazine, here is another one, and a cutaway drawing [de]). The Gladiator R1 was the standard Terran fighting machine in the early novels. It even appeared as a paper model [de] in magazine issues 2557 through 2559.

My model is loosely based upon the R1 but, as usual, takes many liberties.

The biggest difference is obviously that my interpretation of the model makes a serene impression, while the machines in the novels are described as looming, emotionless creatures made of cold, blue Arkonide steel.

I originally intended to give the model a steel blue finish, but when I saw the unfinished white plastic model, I decided otherwise.

In most of the PR universe, the robots are described as machines that just do what you tell them, while in other stories they take initiative and interpret commands rather liberally. When reading the novels many years ago, I always wondered how an autonomous being can be a dull follower of commands. As soon as it interacts with the world, it must certainly become sentient and develop its own ways (or quirks or personality).

Some technical data. The Arkonide robot is described as 2.50m tall (8ft 2), but this includes the antennas. The model I build (in 1/6 scale)

The weight of the Arkonide robot is given as two metric tons, but the multi-purpose (non-fighting) machines could probably be build from much more lightweight materials, so this one would probably be in the range of a few 100kg.

The 1/6 model is 40cm tall (15.7 inches) and weighs about 230gr. It is articulated at 14 points and has 25 joints in total (ball joints are simulated using one hinge and two pivot joints).

Guess what is the first thing that Arkonides (and Terrans, i.e. people living on Earth) will tell an autonomous human-shaped machine to do. Right. They will delegate all the boring, repetitive, hazardous, or otherwise undesirable work to them. Fortunately, the Arkonide multi-purpose robot does not seem to mind.

They will happily carry boxes, build a city from drywall sheets, examine the inside of an atomic reactor, and serve your breakfast. Maybe not in that order. They have programs for all kinds of tasks and, I suspect, will learn a lot more than that when nobody is looking.

One popular program is combat or personal protection. The Arkonide woman in the picture does not need to wear any protective gear or weapons as long as that guy is around. Note that Arkonides are rather tall, 1.90m (almost 6ft 3) is not unusual for a woman. They have white, usually long, hair and red irises. I was lucky to find an action figure that comes close.

Little is known about the things that Arkonide multi-purpose robots do when left to their own devices. Maybe they stand in some box and power down, maybe they just sit somewhere and wait for better times or reflect on the adventures they have been through.

Maybe they do some Yoga when nobody is around. Trying to find out where they come from, who or what they are, what the meaning of life is, and so on. The same things that keep all intelligent beings busy to some degree.

Finally, who says that they cannot have some fun...

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