According to a piece in Variety, Warner Brothers has optioned the film rights for the Make: Books title 21st Century Robot by Brian David Johnson. Johnson is Intel’s futurist and has created a unique development strategy for robotics built around Jimmy, the robot who’s the star of his book.
It will be interesting to see what Warner Brothers does with the book. Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Forrest Gump) and Roy Lee (Oldboy, Bates Motel) are already involved in the project. It’s the kind of strange proposition for a film that could either be truly innovative or… well, remember Spiderman the Musical?
The idea behind the book was to use a science fiction story to inspire people to imagine the robot they want to build and then to go out there and build it, using the collaborative, open-source powers of today’s Maker Movement. Now imagine a movie that does the same thing. Imagine it’s effective in capturing people’s imaginations and then there’s an online community of Jimmy robot builders waiting to help you build your movie-inspired dreambot.
Years ago, robot-maker I-Wei Huang told Make: about his approach to building robots: Make them personable, make them cute, and the world will forgive many technical sins. Jimmy is an amazing example of that principle. He started out life as a 3D printed doll that just looked like a robot (albeit a VERY personable robot), then he became a real robot (as you can see in the above video). Who knows where a movie, driven by such a vision (assuming the movie will be) could take the world of small, affordable robotics?