Droid

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See Wookiepedia's article, which this was lifted wholesale from.

Droids, short for androids, were robots: mechanical beings, often possessing artificial intelligence. They were used in a variety of roles and environments, often those considered too menial or too dangerous for Humans and other species. Droids were also used in fields that required extensive specialization and knowledge, such as medical droids and astromech droids.

Depending on the model and its corresponding purpose, droids were totally obedient, rugged, expendable, capable of vast memory recall, and mathematically precise. These characteristics made them well suited for many jobs, though the lack of independent thought in the cheaper, less advanced models limited their capability. This lack of autonomy was simultaneously a vast asset and a glaring weakness—an asset in terms of obedience and control but a massive drawback in terms of effectiveness. Designers faced a fundamental paradox—make the droids overly intelligent, and they might rebel; yet make the droids not intelligent enough and they would be ineffectual.

Customarily, droid names were an arrangement of numbers and letters.

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[edit] Definition of "Droid"

The words Droid and Robot are generally taken to mean the same thing. However, the official definition of a droid is "a mechanical being with a self-aware consciousness, as distinguished from a computer by having a self-contained method of locomotion."

[edit] Degrees of droids

"Well, if droids could think, there'd be none of us here, would there?"
Obi-Wan Kenobi

Droids were divided into five basic "degrees," or "classes," based upon creativity, intelligence, and capacity for independent thought.

  • First-degree: Droids capable of creative, complicated thought. Droids in this category were typically used in physical, mathematical, and medical science fields; though some extremely advanced assassin droids could also be placed here. Most one-of-a-kind prototypes or rogue machines could be classified as first-degree droids. Because of their background in medicine, many interrogation/torture droids were placed in this category as well.
  • Second-degree: Droids used in engineering and technical fields, such as astromech droids or utility droids. Probe droids and other scouts fit in this category, as well as pilot droids.
  • Third-degree: Social, diplomatic, or tutoring interaction droids, such as protocol droids.
  • Fourth-degree: Security or military droids. They were often capable of harming sentients, and so were strictly regulated.
  • Fifth-degree: Menial labor droids programmed to perform non-intelligent tasks such as salvage, mining and sanitation.

[edit] Droid types

File:IG-88.jpg
IG-88, assassin droid and bounty hunter.

Droids were categorized by function, though the lines between categories were often blurred. Many droids, such as members of the BD-3000 series, served a variety of roles and purposes, making classification difficult. Other droids, especially those who were "one-of-a-kind," had unique capabilities and changing characteristics that made classification impossible. Some droids changed functions as they changed owners, sometimes many times throughout their operational life. These limitations notwithstanding, droids were grouped according to their primary factory-installed functionality.

[edit] Assassin droids

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These droids were used to kill specific targets, often those too well guarded for approach by conventional means. Typically deployed by bounty hunters, assassin droids were often tasked with suicide missions—missions with almost zero probability for successful escape. In addition to their expendability, assassin droids could be programmed with advanced targeting algorithms, allowing them to be more accurate than even the best sentient sniper. Not all assassin droids utilized traditional weaponry, however—certain models, such as the ASN-121, could be outfitted with a number of different weapons or sensors, allowing for different tactics such as brute force attacks or stealthy penetrations. Because of the higher intelligence and independence required for droids of this type, rebellions were known to occur, though not very frequently.

[edit] Notable assassin droids

[edit] Astromech droids

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Droids used for interstellar starships, astromech droids, were mobile multi-role droids capable of hyperspace navigation, systems monitoring/control, damage repair, and data storage. These droids had extensive databases of stellar systems and hyperspatial coordinates, which were necessary for faster-than-light travel. Astromech droids were also used in certain starfighter models, typically those with hyperdrives. They served a similar, though expanded, role—supplementing the ship's onboard computer systems and aiding the pilot in navigation, repair, and interfacing. More advanced astromech models could often pilot a small craft by themselves, blurring the line between an astromech droid and a pilot droid. Some astromechs, like members of the R2 series, were equipped with numerous features that expanded their functionality beyond navigation and repair, allowing them to become useful in almost any situation. Because of their emphasis in technical fields, astromech droids were not equipped with vocabulators or language programming; instead communicating through a series of beeps and whistles known as binary. In addition to an astromech's factory-installed functionality, many of these droids were customizable—allowing upgrades to sensors, tools, software, and even basic hardware.

[edit] Notable astromech droids

[edit] Battle droids

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"Droids don't talk back, they don't question your orders, and they never complain when you send them on suicide missions."
Rune Haako

Droids were used most commonly in combat-related roles, where they offered a plethora of advantages over organic units. Droids could carry heavy weaponry and shielding, move rapidly without tiring, analyze targeting and trajectory calculations instantly, and protect crucial systems by burying them deep inside the frame of the droid (often featuring backup processing and multiple layers of redundancy). Droids could follow orders to the letter, taking risks no Human ever would yet still maintaining their calm precision. Most importantly, however, these droids were expendable—unlike sentients, the amount of time and energy it cost to assemble a droid was often a tiny fraction that of recruiting (or growing) a Human and training them. Built on massive automated assembly lines, like the ones on Geonosis, thousands of capable droids could be produced in a matter of hours. Because of these factors, droids were used extensively as military units, most famously by the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Despite these advantages, however, combat droids suffered from several drawbacks. Most importantly, in order to create total obedience and foil any chance of rebellion, droid units were often crippled with extremely sub-par artificial intelligence. This drawback was exemplified by the hideously poor A.I. of the B-1 battle droid, which rarely served any purpose other than as cannon fodder. Also, droid units lacked the flexibility and manipulation capabilities of Human units, especially in terms of hand and finger use.

[edit] Notable battle droid models

[edit] Interrogation/Torture droid

Template:Main articles Another prime use of droids was to question prisoners, and if deemed necessary also as instruments of torture. The use of droid interrogators as opposed to Humans made sense in a number of ways: impersonal machines often increased the subject's fear, making him more likely to be cooperative; droids offered a precise medical-based analysis of a subject's system, tolerances, and whether or not he was telling the truth; all of which could be exploited frighteningly effectively by integrated serums and other tools of torture. Additionally, subjects under interrogation by droids often directed their anger and fear towards the mechanized machines; not towards the actual captors. This was often followed up by a later visit from a 'friendly' sentient officer, offering sympathy and establishing a friend-like relationship. Once a rapport had been established, often times the subject would divulge secrets willingly, without requiring direct (and sometimes ineffective) coercion.

[edit] Notable torture/interrogation droids

[edit] Medical droids

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Droids were also used in the field of medical science. They offered advantages over Humans in that they could be programmed with a massive amounts of information, none of which would be forgotten, making them extremely cost-effective. Meddroids, as they were known, could store detailed records on hundreds of patients, in addition to exhaustive information on diseases, wounds, and infirmities. Medical droids could analyze wounds or diseases and automatically determine severity of injury, necessary medication, and possible side-effects; all by utilizing sensors and extensive databanks. The emotional detachment of these medical droids was both a blessing and a curse—an advantage because droids did not let emotions interfere with their task, but a disadvantage in that patients could often feel alienated from an impersonal machine. These droids could also operate on patients, using built-in tool extensions and surgical implements. These arm extensions were often modular, allowing rapid change from one medical specialization to another (e.g. from neurosurgery to pediatrics). Because of the high costs associated with comprehensive meddroids, some model lines (such as the DD-13 line or FX-7 models) were not as sophisticated and were usually used as assistants. These medical assistant droids offered some independent functionality but were meant to be used in cooperation with dedicated medical droids.

[edit] Notable medical droids

[edit] Pilot droids

Template:Main Droids were also used in piloting roles, both directly and indirectly. Some were used for atmospheric flight, while others were used for interstellar navigation. Droids were well-suited for piloting roles for several reasons: they could be programmed with detailed schematics of a ship, they would not panic when under enemy fire, they could maintain tight formations and execute precision attack plans, and, because of their close integration with the ship's computers, they could monitor and repair damage to the ship far more effectively than a Human. Because of their expendability, droid pilots did not require escape pods or other life support systems, saving cost and complexity on the ships they flew.

[edit] Notable pilot droid models

[edit] Protocol droids

Template:Main Droids that were used to handle diplomatic affairs, and aid in translation between various languages, were known as protocol droids. Like medical droids, protocol droids utilized massive databanks, being programmed with thousands of different languages and dialects. Protocol droids were equipped with aural sensors, to receive audio information, and processing units, to analyze and apply necessary programming. Because of their close integration with sentients, protocol droids were often given in-depth personality matrices, allowing for a variety of different personalities and behaviors through a process called metaprogramming.

[edit] Notable protocol droids

[edit] Scout droids

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Droids were used in exploration and scouting roles as well, providing a cheap yet effective mobile sensor platform. Probe droids, often launched by the thousands, would use a one-shot propulsion system to reach the targeted area. Upon arrival, these droids would analyze the area with their powerful sensor arrays; sending the results of the scan back to the droid's creator. Droids of this type were used in many roles: military reconnaissance, deep space exploration, and mineral prospecting (primarily in asteroid fields). Other models were atmospheric-bound, relying on repulsorlift technology to move rapidly and traverse height differentials. Most scout droids carried a similar core loadout—a multiple-spectrum photoreceptor, a magnetic imaging device, a thermal imager, and signals transmission equipment. Some models featured built-in weaponry, such as a blaster, or expansion slots that could be used for a variety of additional sensors or weapons. Some droids also included a self-destruct mechanism to prevent acquisition by others. Because of their clearly defined role and the need to keep the cost per unit down, probe droids were given inexpensive processing units and relatively "dumb" A.I. This resulted in a lack of flexibility and systemic errors when confronted with unknown circumstances not outlined in the computer's parameters. These drawbacks aside, probe droids were very effective in their native role: providing inexpensive but broad sensor capability, regardless of climate, radiation levels, or hostile presence.

[edit] Notable scout droid models

[edit] Other uses

In addition to the primary roles outlined above, droids served in a myriad of other, more specialized functions:

[edit] Legal status

Droids were typically treated as property. More advanced droids sometimes received proportionally more respect. Some protested the status of droids as slavery. This was a contentious issue, owing in part to the difficulty of assessing levels of artificial intelligence, and determining which droids if any could be considered properly sentient. Although emancipation of droids was a radical concept, some opposed memory wipes except for very simple droids.

The Naboo considered higher level droids equal as fellow sentients.

During the Yuuzhan Vong War (25 ABY - 30 ABY), droids were targeted for destruction by the technology-hating Yuuzhan Vong invaders who saw them as abominations.

[edit] Yperio Baobab and Droid Languages

The father of modern-day droid language is widely held to be Yperio Baobab, whose Bab-Prime revolutionized robotic communication in 200 BBY. The following is a brief chronological list of other droid languages, previous and prior.

As a side note, Bab-Prime was also responsible, at least in part, for the droid tendency to develop personalities if not given frequent memory wipes. A hapless employee of the Baobab Merchant Fleet, in an attempt to create a new Bab-Prime algorithm, actually created a personality virus that ran rampant through the Galaxy's droid population, exacerbating what was an apparently already-existing problem. Ever since this occurrence, the administration of memory wipes to droids became a commonplace occurrence.

[edit] Behind the scenes

The word 'droid' is of course derived from 'android' which means 'man-like'. Of course the term is erroneously used for 'second degree' droids that have nothing common with humanoids. 'Droid' is the exlusive name for every robotic entity in Star Wars. The name 'robot' appears only in primitive (Pre-Republic) droids.

Droid names are an example of Leet language

Droids' legal rights are often a fiercely debated topic among fans.

Early Expanded Universe material sometimes spelled "droid" with an apostrophe ('droid), short for android.

[edit] Trademark

George Lucas holds a trademark on the term "droid". The miniature 'mech combat wargame BattleTech was originally released under the name BattleDroids, but was renamed due to trademark issues with Lucasfilm.

Pixar Animation Studios' film The Incredibles (2004) contains a reference to Lucasfilm's droid with the large weapon of destruction, the Omnidroid; an apparently unrelated killer droid of the same name also appears in Star Wars Galaxies. The credits of the film give a nod to Lucasfilm.

From Mickey News [1] (25 November 2004):

For some viewers that feeling lasts through the closing credits, where a notice that the term "Omnidroid" was used by permission of Lucasfilm Ltd. has prompted some fans to speculate that The Incredibles offers a sneak peak at a character from the next Star Wars film.
"No. No, no, no," Bird [Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles] says with a laugh, when asked if the secret weapon has a secret of its own. "I like that they think that, but it's more the term 'droid' is Lucas and we made the term Omnidroid (and then got the OK as a courtesy). So, no, there's no sneak. But God bless those fans. They're crazy."

[edit] Appearances

[edit] Sources


[edit] External links

es:Droide pt:Dróide

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