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You could run? I'm trying to kill you, you know.

The Robobrain is a robot appearing throughout the Fallout Series. Developed by General Atomics International with the assistance of RobCo Industries,[1] the Robobrain was designed from the ground up as a multirole platform for use by military and civilian clients. They are more flexible and powerful than robots due to the fact that their central control and processing unit is an actual brain, rather than an artificial facsimile.[2][3] Coupled with a robust, all-terrain tracked chassis and powerful armaments, the Robobrain was on the forefront of a new revolution in combat robotics.

Background

A standard Robobrain
The Robobrain, constructed by General Atomics International before the great nuclear war, is unique in that it uses an actual organic brain as its central processor.Loading screen

Developed shortly before the war by General Atomics International under the leadership of Doctor Bert Riggs,[4] with assistance from RobCo Industries,[1] Robobrains were a top secret military project, taking place in facilities secreted away from the prying eyes of the public. Some research occurred in military bases under full military control, like the Sierra Army Depot VI.[5] Others were hidden in plain sight and operated as part of a military-industrial complex, as is the case with RB-2851, constructed under Eagle Hill, East Boston. Operated jointly by General Atomics, RobCo Industries, and the United States Army's Robotics Division,[6] this facility was strictly compartmentalized and most soldiers stationed on location were not informed of the nature of the activities taking place within its confines.[7][8][9]

The secrecy was necessitated by the revolutionary marrying of biological and mechanical components: Using a living brain as a control and data storage unit, tremendously increasing performance, while blurring the line between man and machine.[2][10] Until its closure, SAD experimented with developing a new kind of cybernetic brain explicitly designed for use in Robobrains, while RB-2851 focused on manufacturing and iterating on existing solutions. Although the first brains were procured from chimpanzees.[Pub 1]

The process was not as simple as simply de-braining humans and placing their gray matter in biomedical gel. The Robobrain was supposed to be a perfectly obedient soldier, devoid of free thought or individuality. Each candidate for conversion was carefully selected to obtain a specimen that can provide the desired increase in decision-making, while eliminating the aforementioned flaws.[11] Candidates were drawn from military and civilian prisons, focusing on adults of high intelligence and sufficient constitution to survive brain removal. Low intelligence, mental disorders, or general poor brain health usually resulted in termination, while qualifying candidates were given time to gain constitution and then debrained.[12][13][14][15][16] The donor was strapped down in the machine, which then proceeded to sever all connections between the spinal cord and the rest of the body, before opening the skull and extracting the brain together with the cord, transferring it into a specially-prepared jar with biomedical gel.[17] The traumatic nature of the removal necessitated further processing. The brain's memory centers were flushed by technicians and each underwent subsequent examination by a trained psychologist to verify viability. Some brains were resistant to the CODE Conditioning Protocol[18] used to wipe them, resulting in their original personalities persisting (resulting in termination).[19] Brains could also be damaged during the extraction resulting in impromptu lobotomies (and termination).[20] Ideal results had no recollection of their previous life or were responsive enough to qualify for final insertion, assembly, and assignment to field duties.[21][22] Research into improving the process of extracting and isolating human brains was made at the St. Aubin medical facility in Point Lookout.

Robobrains never reached full production status.[23] Persistent problems with aggression and violence even in properly CODE-conditioned Robobrains caused major problems for General Atomics.[2][10] Until its closure, SAD experimented with developing a new kind of cybernetic brain explicitly designed for use in Robobrains, while RB-2851 focused on manufacturing and iterating on existing solutions. Although the first brains were procured from primates (typically chimpanzees),[Pub 1] persistent equipment failure in brain extractors that were incapable of working at an industrial capacity,[17] and flaws in the immature technology used to manufacture Robobrain chassis resulted in a limited trial run. RB-2851 alone managed to complete three batches, with a further two planned. Each batch provided superior upgrades to the robot, including increased energy efficiency, maintaining brain longevity, improved visual cortex connections to enhance motor skills and perception, and tactical combat capabilities.[24][25][26][27][28]

Units deemed combat-capable were assigned on a provisional basis to select locations across the United States, for security and janitorial duties. These included the Sierra Army Depot VI, Mariposa Military Base, and the West Tek research facility on the West Coast and other locations in the East.[29][30] Some private companies closely affiliated with the government did receive a limited number of completed Robobrains for security purposes, like the Vault-Tec Corporation.[31]

Design

The Robobrain's chassis is a large, bulky cylinder with two continuous tracks providing mobility, powered by dual 40 horsepower motors), attached via a flexible or fixed mount. The torso is heavily armored, containing the internal power plant, sensors, and storage. The central processing unit, the brain, is located in a dome mounted on top of the chassis. A pair of flexible extenders emerge from the sides of the torso, with manipulators that boast opposable claws. Together with very precise servomotors and rotator mechanisms, they enable the robot to manipulate its surroundings with extreme precision, including the operation of Human weapons (typically assault rifles or submachine guns) and devices designed for human hands. The chassis also contains robust monitoring systems.[32][33]

The dome containing the brain is filled with biomedical gel to preserve the brain, with armored glass providing plenty of protection. However, it can still be damaged, disrupting the brain/machine connection, activity within the brain, or cause depressurization and leaking of the contents, all of which are serious problems without qualified maintenance personnel.[34] If the proper seal is maintained, the brain contained within can be expected to last for centuries.[35] The main chassis is very sturdy, with armor plating installed to protect the hydraulics, relays, and other crucial instrumentation (such as the auto gyro sequencer, hydraulics, restrictor coils, relays etc.). The primary power supply was also contained within the shell, alongside reserve power systems that would engage in case of fluctuation in the main power supply.[36] More advanced Robobrains were capable of self-repairing to full condition, if given enough time.[33] The hull also contains sensors which provide the robot with high resolution imagery of their surroundings. These are quite complex and include imaging scanners, backup infrared sensors, and auto-tracking functionality. Robobrains can also lock-on targets for increased accuracy.[37]

Finally, to simplify communications with controllers, Robobrains were outfitted with audio receptors and voice modules, allowing it to receive, interpret, and mimic any normal human voice. Though the technology matured thanks to its inclusion in Mr Handy units, it still had its quirks.[38][39]

Personality

Properly processed Robobrains were supposed to be devoid of personality. The removal process prevented personality retention,[40] while subsequent conditioning with CODE and installation of neural inhibitors ensured compliance and permanent removal - at least in theory. In practice, human brains proved resilient to wipes, persistently attempting to preserve a sense of self.[39][41] A minority could develop more intricate personalities, capable of higher thought processes.[42]

However, what was a flaw in combat robotics was found useful in certain extreme life preservation experiments.[39] While Mr. House was unwilling to undergo conversion, a group of pre-War millionaires funding the construction of Vault 118 on Mount Desert Island elected to go through with the idea. Their bodies were carefully preserved, with brains installed in late model Robobrain chassis, stationed at the Vault. By programming the voice synthesizers to use their original voices, Bert Riggs, one of the Robobrain developers, attempted to allow the brains to preserve their owners' original personalities and minds. While he did succeed on the surface, the side-effects dreaded by Mr. House manifested more subtly. The usual symptoms were repetitive, delusional behavior, disconnect from reality, and distortion of perception.[43]

Software

The array of features greatly depends on the on-board software. Most onboard programs date back to the immediate pre-War era, like Sensors '76. Other software examples are Facility Maintenance v2.1, Movement v4.8b, Repair v0.8a, Pest Control v1.4, and Hearts v1.0 (installed on Robobrains deployed in the Mariposa Military Base).[44] Reliability and longevity were key concerns for programmers: For increased performance and reliability, the main robotic OS would reroute functions from damaged subsystems.[45] To organize and coordinate robots in a facility, General Atomics International typically set up a wireless local area network matrix, where robots are slaved to a master computer intelligence monitoring their activities and adjusting parameters in response to human commands or changing circumstances.[46]

Combat was handled by a separate set of routines. When a Robobrain enters combat mode, it engages a full suite of combat software focused on terminating hostiles. The Robobrain continuously calculates combat odds and battle events, including computing threat levels, scanning enemy capabilities, determining optimal attack ranges, and accounting for other critical elements of combat.[47] In general, while the Robobrain relies on pre-loaded attack patterns (like pattern Omega) and sequences in combat,[48] it will adjust its tactics, recalibrate targeting sensors and scanners on the go, and correct firing data.[49] In situations where battle analysis determines that the engagement cannot be won, the Robobrain will engage its self preservation programming and attempt to break contact and evacuate. Retreating destinations typically specified factories or military assembly points.[50]

Armaments

The Robobrain is fully capable of using weapons designed for humans, provided they are large enough. Typically, Robobrains would be provided with military-grade assault rifles, like the AK-112 or sharpshooter weapons, like the DKS-501, benefiting greatly from the computerized accuracy of a Robobrain.[51] Certain models were also outfitted with built-in laser weapons, integrated in the manipulators. Their firepower was comparable to an AEP7 laser pistol. Finally, Robobrains were also equipped with an integrated Mesmetron for subjugating enemy combatants[52] and aiding in the process of interrogating prisoners (though the technology was experimental, due to the risk for spontaneous cranial eruption).[53][54]

Variants

Image Name Game
Barnaky Bot FoT.png | Humanoid brain bot | Fallout Tactics

|

Robobrain.png | Robobrain | Fallout 3

|

FO4AUT Robobrain.png | Robobrain | Automatron
Far Harbor

|

FO76 Robobrain.png | Robobrain | Fallout 76

|

Maroboaa se.gif | Robobrain | Fallout

|

Robobrain.png | Robobrain | Fallout: New Vegas

|

Named

Notes

  • In the Fallout 4 add-on Automatron and Fallout 76, the Robobrains have a single eye inside the glass dome.
  • Robobrains are also refered as "147c Robots".[55]
  • Herbert "Daring" Dashwood is fascinated by Robobrains. He often tried to figure out how they were made, whether the voice synthesizer's voice indicates the gender of the brain, not to mention he ended up on the receiving end of its Mesmetron device. Three days' worth of a headache did nothing to eliminate his interest.[54]
  • Splicing a lobotomite and a robot at the X-8 Research Center will yield a Robobrain.

Quotes

  • "You could run? I'm trying to kill you, you know."
  • "Please believe me when I say I'm not enjoying this."
  • "I calculate your chance of success to be...well, I don't want to be morbid..."
  • "I'm not programmed to fail, just so you know..."
  • "They could have programmed me to love, to forgive; but noooooo."
  • "Please come back. I'm sorry about all that recent unpleasantness."
  • "I'm sorry, but my programming requires that I keep on trying to kill you!"
  • "Which do you like better? The psionic beam or the laser?"
  • "I hope we can still be friends when this is all over."
  • "I'll miss you."
  • "You may want to run now."
  • "Are you still there?"
  • "Why are you hiding? I will find you."
  • "Oh well. I wished you hadn't left so soon. I was having such a good time with you."
  • "I'll miss you. Please come back and see me again."
  • "I'm sorry, but you've forced me to utilize deadly force."
  • "I'm afraid I'm a very lethal killing machine."
  • "There's no point in trying to hide from me. I'm programmed to be quite relentless."
  • "Oh well. Maybe next time you'll introduce yourself."
  • "Threat detected! Kill! Kill! Kill!"

Behind the scenes

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 RobCo Sales & Service Center acts as cover for the research below.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fallout: New Vegas loading screen hints: "The Robobrain, constructed by General Atomics International before the great nuclear war, is unique in that it uses an actual organic brain as its central processor."
  3. Automatron loading screen hints: "The Robobrain, constructed by General Atomics International before the Great War, is unique in that it uses an actual organic brain as its central processor."
  4. Sole Survivor: "Tell me about your research."
    Bert Riggs: "Well, I was one of the leads on the team that created the first robobrains, the precursors to our model. Most people don't find it all that interesting, and I'd rather not bore you.. Was there something else, Detective?"
    Sole Survivor: "I'd like to hear more about your research."
    Bert Riggs: "Oh wonderful! No one else here really wants to talk about it. Functionally this model is more or less the same as the previous versions I worked on, but without the neural inhibitor and reconditioning. The voice modulator seems to have some minor issues interfacing with the neural matrix, which can add some moodiness. But that's easily solved with regular tune ups. Was there something else, Detective?"
    (Bert Riggs' dialogue)
  5. Sierra Army Depot VI robotics lab, debraining equipment, and storage.
  6. RB-2851 terminal entries: Chief Engineer's Terminal
  7. RB-2851 terminal entries; Watch Station Terminal, 0L68-CBGT044
  8. RB-2851 terminal entries; Watch Station Terminal, 0L68-CBGT052
  9. RB-2851 terminal entries; Watch Station Terminal, 0L68-CBGT057
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sole Survivor: "Here you go, Ada. The final Radar Beacon. I'll need that head back when you're done."
    Ada: "Of course. Shouldn't take but a moment. There you go... still in one piece. I'm not sure why you want the head back. All we needed was its Radar Beacon. Besides, Robobrains are notorious for being... well, a real pain in the neck."
    Sole Survivor: "What else do you know about them, Ada?"
    Ada: "Quite simply, it's the first time General Atomics produced a successful union between organic matter and robotics. The brain is used both as a control unit and a data storage unit which is far more efficient than using standard circuits. Unfortunately, there were a lot of programming issues with these robots which caused them to be a bit... shall we say, unhinged? Hopefully, this particular Robobrain will have some of the answers that we've been seeking."
    (Ada's dialogue)
  11. Sole Survivor: ""A union of organic matter and robotics?" Sounds an awful like a synth."
    Ada: "Not at all. The Robobrain was built with a very different design philosophy in mind. General Atomics intent was to use the human brain to augment the robot's functions... primarily, to accelerate the decision-making process. Free-thought and individuality was never intended. These were expressly built like soldiers... to follow orders without question. The Robobrain's unfortunate tendency towards violence and aggression should be considered more of a malfunction than a calculated decision."
    (Ada's dialogue)
  12. RB-2851 terminal entries; Medical Observation Terminal, Subject A22
  13. RB-2851 terminal entries; Medical Observation Terminal, Subject A53
  14. RB-2851 terminal entries; Medical Observation Terminal, Subject A57
  15. RB-2851 terminal entries; Medical Observation Terminal, Subject A72
  16. RB-2851 terminal entries; Medical Observation Terminal, Subject A88
  17. 17.0 17.1 RB-2851 terminal entries; Brain Extraction Terminal, Div03-BE-0093
  18. RB-2851 terminal entries; Security Office Terminal, (087): Epsilon-VI Security Alert
  19. RB-2851 terminal entries; Cerebral Reconditioning Terminal, Reconditioning Transcript 32B776
  20. RB-2851 terminal entries; Cerebral Reconditioning Terminal, Reconditioning Transcript 32B888
  21. RB-2851 terminal entries; Cerebral Reconditioning Terminal, Reconditioning Transcript 34C192
  22. RB-2851 terminal entries; Cerebral Reconditioning Terminal, Reconditioning Transcript 35X795
  23. Sole Survivor: "Have you seen a robot with a brain like that before?"
    Ada: "No, but my old caravan discovered records about them while we were scavenging military facilities. According to my data banks, it's called the "Robobrain." It was considered one of the most technologically superior robots ever constructed, but the model never reached full production status."
    (Ada's dialogue)
  24. RB-2851 terminal entries: Robobrain Production Terminal, Batch 1
  25. RB-2851 terminal entries; Robobrain Production Terminal. Batch 2
  26. RB-2851 terminal entries; Robobrain Production Terminal. Batch 3
  27. RB-2851 terminal entries; Robobrain Production Terminal, Batch 4
  28. RB-2851 terminal entries; Robobrain Production Terminal, Batch 5
  29. Fallout and Fallout 2 appearances.
  30. The number of military Robobrains rolling around the Capital Wasteland and within its military bases in Fallout 3.
  31. The Vault-Tec headquarters in Washington, D.C. security was still running with Robobrains and their masterbrain well into 2277
  32. Robobrain: "{44420}{}{Sensors register damage to right manipulator}"
    "{44421}{}{Servos malfunction in manipulator}"
    "{44422}{}{Rotator mechanism severely damaged}"
    "{44423}{}{Repair systems reports damage to left retractor circuit}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when the Robobrain is hit in the right manipulator.
  33. 33.0 33.1 Skynet can self-repair to full health.
  34. Robobrain: "{44400}{}{Brain casing ruptured}"
    "{44401}{}{Leak detected in brain casing}"
    "{44402}{}{Fluid levels decreasing}"
    "{44403}{}{Brain connection failing}"
    "{44404}{}{Brain wave activity temporarily interrupted}"
    "{44405}{}{EEG levels dropping}"
    "{44406}{}{Internal sensors indicate damage to brain}"
    "{44407}{}{Fissure detected in brain casing}"
    "{44408}{}{Biogel pressure falling. Shut down eminent}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when the Robobrain is hit in the brain casing.
  35. Robobrains continue to appear and retain functionality throughout the games.
  36. Robobrain: "{44430}{}{Initiating repair sequence }"
    "{44431}{}{Auto gyro sequencer hit. Compensating}"
    "{44432}{}{Hydraulic pressure falling. Leak detected in reservoirs}"
    "{44433}{}{Secondary relays damaged. Adjusting to compensate}"
    "{44434}{}{Primary interface link severed. Activating backup systems}"
    "{44435}{}{Restrictor coils severed. Factory service required}"
    "{44436}{}{Systems malfunction}"
    "{44437}{}{Power systems fluctuating. Activating reserve power}"
    "{44438}{}{Main hull integrity compromised. Main circuits exposed}"
    "{44439}{}{Power conditioning unit damage. Operating at 75% capacity}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when the Robobrain is hit in the frame.
  37. Robobrain: "{44480}{}{Optical relays hit. Attempting to compensate}"
    "{44481}{}{Lens damaged on main sensors. Switching to infrared}"
    "{44482}{}{Imaging scanners hit. Picture resolution deteriorated}"
    "{44483}{}{Targeting systems impaired. Auto tracking disabled}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when the Robobrain is hit in the sensors.
  38. RB-2851 terminal entries; Chief Engineer's Terminal, Maintenance Issue 09009113-AR
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Sole Survivor: "Robobrains have a voice modulator? Tell me about that."
    Bert Riggs: "That's what allows us to recreate our original voices. They can mimic any normal human voice, actually. I've speculated for some time that the issues we had with our hm... recruited subjects are due to the brain attempting to preserve a sense of self. Maintaining our original voices helps reinforce the neural network, sort of like playing music for an Alzheimer's patient."
    (Bert Riggs' dialogue)
  40. Courier: "You must be, like... a brain in a jar!"
    Mr. House: "[FAILED] No. While brains demonstrated some use as organic processors in the robots produced by General Atomics International... They never retained personality once removed from the human body."
    (Mr. House's dialogue)
  41. Sole Survivor: "I'd like to hear more about your research."
    Bert Riggs: "Oh wonderful! No one else here really wants to talk about it. Functionally this model is more or less the same as the previous versions I worked on, but without the neural inhibitor and reconditioning. The voice modulator seems to have some minor issues interfacing with the neural matrix, which can add some moodiness. But that's easily solved with regular tune ups. Was there something else, Detective?"
    (Bert Riggs' dialogue)
  42. Sole Survivor: "Why did General Atomics make you so... uncooperative?"
    Jezebel: "I haven't the faintest idea of what you're talking about. I am a top-of-the-line model with an efficiency rating that makes a Mr. Handy look like a glorified toaster oven. When given a set of instructions, I will complete them without question and without error. Now, were there any other ridiculous questions you wanted to ask?"
    (Jezebel's dialogue)
  43. Vault 118 and its assorted quest clearly demonstrates just how far the Robobrains are gone.
  44. Vault Dweller: "{116}{}{What programs are running?}"
    Robot control terminal: "{122}{}{Current applications are: Facility Maintenance v2.1, Movement v4.8b, Repair v0.8a, Pest Control v1.4, Hearts v1.0 and Sensors '76.}"
    (ROBCTRL.MSG)
  45. Robobrain: "{44490}{}{Regulator hit. Fluid levels dropping}"
    "{44491}{}{Damage to regulator registered}"
    "{44492}{}{Regulator fused. Rerouting functions}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when the Robobrain is hit in the regulator.
  46. Vault Dweller: "{104}{}{Who or what are you?}"
    Robot control terminal: "{113}{}{This terminal is an Artificial Intelligence. This terminal is part of a WLAN matrix network to optimize remote unit operations.}"
    (ROBCTRL.MSG)
  47. Robobrain: "{44520}{}{Analyzing enemy}"
    "{44521}{}{Moving to attack positions}"
    "{44522}{}{Target acquired}"
    "{44523}{}{Computing threat level of target}"
    "{44524}{}{Switching to combat mode}"
    "{44525}{}{Target selected for termination}"
    "{44526}{}{Scanning enemy capabilities. Adjusting attack pattern to compensate}"
    "{44527}{}{Closing distance to optimal firing range}"
    "{44528}{}{Moving to attack range}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when the Robobrain is moving in to attack.
  48. Robobrain: "{44540}{}{Switching to combat mode }"
    "{44541}{}{Attack pattern Omega initiated }"
    "{44542}{}{Terminating hostile entity}"
    "{44543}{}{Initiating attack sequence}"
    "{44544}{}{Positive lock on target confirmed}"
    "{44545}{}{Now attacking target}"
    "{44546}{}{Optimal attack range reached}"
    "{44547}{}{Resuming assault target}"
    "{44548}{}{Commencing attack }"
    "{44549}{}{Now eliminating threat}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when attacking a target.
  49. Robobrain: "{44561}{}{Sensors indicate enemy target missed}"
    "{44562}{}{Negative damage inflicted. Adjusting targeting scanners}"
    "{44563}{}{Enemy missed. Recalibrating targeting sensors}"
    "{44564}{}{Error. Malfunction in targeting sensors}"
    "{44565}{}{Analyzing firing data...corrections complete}"
    "{44566}{}{Enemy target undamaged}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when missing the target it attacked.
  50. Robobrain: "{44500}{}{Engaging self preservation program}"
    "{44501}{}{Analysis of enemy complete. Suggested attack plan: Retreat}"
    "{44502}{}{Returning to factory for repairs}"
    "{44503}{}{Initiating evacuation protocol}"
    "{44504}{}{Battle analysis complete: Retreat recommended}"
    "{44505}{}{Retreating}"
    "{44506}{}{Evasive maneuvers engaged}"
    "{44507}{}{Leaving hostile territory}"
    (COMBATAI.MSG (Fallout 2)) Note: These lines are spoken when the Robobrain is running away.
  51. Fallout and Fallout 2 loadouts.
  52. Fallout 3 and Fallout 4 loadouts.
  53. RB-2851 terminal entries; Security Office Terminal, (045): Class-V Counter-Espionage Procedure
  54. 54.0 54.1 Tenpenny Tower terminal entries; Exploration Database, Robobrains
  55. Citadel terminal entries; Vault 112
Publications
  1. 1.0 1.1 Fallout 2 Official Strategies & Secrets p. 33: "The Robobrain is a jack-of-all-trades robot. They have hands and are usually armed with assault rifles. The chimpanzee, or other primate, brain that was implemented into them makes them excellent guard robots. It's rumored that some were set up to accept human brains, but this has never been proven."
Developer Statements
  1. Fallout developer statements/Chris Taylor on Fallout's Background
  2. Fallout Bible 0: "2077 October: Captain Roger Maxson and his men discover that the scientists at Mariposa have been using "military volunteers" (military prisoners who didn't have their brains scooped for use in Brain Bots) as test subjects in their experiments. Morale in the base breaks down, and Maxson executes Anderson, the chief scientist. Not long after this (and in light of the breakdown of the mental breakdown of Colonel Spindel stationed at the base), Maxson's men turn to him for leadership. He shrugs and says "we should quit.""