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Man Builds Real Life ‘Short Circuit’ Robot And Takes Him To The Pub

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strongRyan Howard spent thousands recreating the robot from the cult 1986 film in the garage. RYAN HOWARD/SWNSZ/strong



By Ed Chatterton

A film-fanatic has spent six years building a fully-functioning replica of movie robot Johnny 5 from Short Circuit – which he even takes down the pub.


Ryan Howard, 34, has forked out over $25,000 (over £20,000) recreating the android from the cult 1986 film in his garage at his home in Annesley, Notts.

He reckons his 200kg (31 stone) creation is “99 percent true” to the original robot and is one of only two fully-working Johnny 5’s in the world.

Ryan even moved into a house with an annex for Johnny after the project got too big for the family home, which needed patio doors removed to get him outdoors.

His hobby has involved 14-hour days and missing family holidays as he dedicated his time to building the robot out of more than 10,000 parts.

The incredible replica, made mainly from aluminum, now stands at 6ft tall and can be programmed to talk, sing, dance or do “pretty much anything” Ryan wants him to.

Dad-of-two Ryan and his family have toured conventions across the country and will be taking Johnny 5 to Texas, USA, in three weeks time.

The Open University engineering student says some people even burst into tears when they see their “childhoods brought to life.”

He said: “The reactions are crazy. We’ve had people crying and tearing up as they walk by him.

“I’ve never done anything like it before and I’m very proud of him as it was an incredibly difficult thing to achieve.

“He lives with us and is part of the family now. I even talk to him. The kids love it and my wife’s done very well to put up with me, to be honest

“We had no intention of him being able to do all these amazing things. He was just going to be a model in the corner of my room.

“But now I can program him to do pretty much anything. It’s full-sized working replica with motors and everything and I can control it using my phone and laptop.

“Even when I was building him and he was standing in front of me for the first time and I was like ‘oh my god, it’s Johnny 5’.

“It brought the inner child out in me.”

Ryan was inspired to build Johnny 5 as a life-long fan of the sci-fi comedy, which sees a military robot gain human-like intelligence after being struck by lightning.

Workmen have a pint with Johnny 5. Ryan Howard, 34, has forked out over $25,000 (over £20,000) recreating the android from the cult 1986 film in his garage at his home in Annesley, Notts. TOM MADDICK/SWNS

He added: “I was always a massive fan of the movie as a child. I had it on VHS which I think I watched until the tape no longer worked.

“During school, I didn’t do too well but I knew I had a brain in there. I went on to be a mechanic and then a forklift engineer and I just began teaching myself engineering in more depth.

“I decided I’d have a go at building a replica model of Johnny 5’s head in 2018 when I got a 3D printer.

“It was mainly out of plastic and he was struggling to support himself due to the weight, so I wanted to take it to the next level.

“I just thought ‘I can’t stop here, I’ve got to do the whole thing’.

“So I went the whole shebang, bought all the equipment and I’ve made every piece myself out of metal.

“It became a bit of an obsession. I wanted to build the original Johnny 5 from the film and have him fully-functioning.

“The pandemic hit and that gave me time to escape to my garage and really get stuck it into it.

“I replaced the plastic with aluminum and steel. During lockdown, I would sometimes spend 12 hours in the garage.

“The kids would even help me and I was able to teach them about engineering. I stopped counting when I’d spent £20,000. It’s cost a fair bit.

“I would just lose myself in there because what else could you do? My wife was a respiratory nurse at that time. It helped me escape the madness of the world.

“When I finished him and was able to drive him around, it was like seeing my childhood come to life.

“Johnny has given me opportunities I never thought I could have. He’s allowed me to study at university, which I’ve never been able to afford to do before.

“We’ve met so many amazing people including Tim Blaney, who voiced Johnny 5. He gave me some tips on how to do the voice when I program him to talk.

“The looks on people’s faces is priceless. Sometimes people break down in tears when they see him. the reaction is phenomenal.

“And when we get him to sing happy birthday to a child if we’re hired for birthdays – their face just lights up.”

Johnny 5 cost Ryan thousands to build in real life. Ryan Howard, 34, has forked out over $25,000 (over £20,000) recreating the android from the cult 1986 film in his garage at his home in Annesley, Notts. TOM MADDICK/SWNS

Ryan, teaching assistant wife Stacey, 39, and sons Ewan, ten, and Ben, seven, now take him to events in a modified people carrier.

Ryan added: “We’ve done weddings, conventions, charity events, festivals and school talks to encourage children into engineering and other STEM subjects.

“We’re just really normal people but Johnny has opened up an extraordinary life for us.

“We’re due to fly to Texas in three weeks time for an event there – we thought it was a prank at first when they got in touch.

“Me and my dad always said we’d take him down the pub. We thought it would be funny and put a smile on customers faces.

“Our local was really excited about having us. Everybody just seems to love him.”

Ryan’s creation has seen him earn 35,000 followers on social media in the past year gaining Johnny worldwide interest.

He added: “Last year we had about 4,000 followers so it’s really taken off. It’s been absolutely crazy.

“I believe there’s only one other in the world which matches up to this. So what I’ve done it pretty unique.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker