Robot Wiki
Johnny 5
Johnny 5
Origin Short Circuit
Alignment Neutral
Status Alive
Abilities Intelligence
Number 5 is alive.
―Number 5

Johnny 5 (originally called "S-A-I-N-T Prototype Number 5") is the fictional robotic star of the movies Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2 and a TV special called Hot Cars, Cold Facts. He is a former military robot imbued with intelligence and sentience by a lightning bolt and is considered to be alive in the philosophical sense, as he has emotions and is self-aware. He is both puppeteered and voiced by Tim Blaney.

The robot[]

Number 5 was designed by Dr. Newton Crosby and his partner Benjamin Jahrvi, and was constructed by Nova Laboratories Inc., Robotics Division, along with four other prototypes, as technology demonstrators for the United States Department of Defense (DoD). Nova proposed that the design could be used as a robotic soldier and as an intelligent delivery system for nuclear weapons. The design was marketed to the DoD as S-A-I-N-T (Strategic-Artificially-Intelligent-Nuclear-Transport).

During a scene in Short Circuit, Dr. Crosby states to an Air Force official that he originally had non-military purposes in mind, and "jokes" that he designed the robots as a "marital aid". He seems genuinely disturbed by the way his creations are put to use.

Modifications for Short Circuit 2[]

Johnny 5 was modified in several areas in between the events of Short Circuit and those of Short Circuit 2. Listed below are some facts about Johnny 5

As he has no desire to kill, Johnny 5 has removed his laser weapon and fitted a Swiss army knife-like toolbox to its original mount, called a "utility pack". It contains miscellaneous pieces of equipment such as a Polaroid camera, a plasma cutting torch, an umbrella, and a magnetic grappler on a length of steel cable.

  • A more practical hang glider has replaced his standard-issue parachute.
  • His original portable power source has been replaced with a lithium-argon liquid battery which can provide enough power for 500 hours of operation. This is supplemented with an emergency backup battery with an unknown capacity, but not much more than a couple of hours.
  • He has been fitted with a multi-frequency remote control which can operate almost any electrical device and can control several devices at once.
  • His memory capacity has been increased to 512 megabytes "online", implying that this is his RAM capacity. Whether he has any alternate data storage devices such as a hard drive is unknown (Note that at the time of the movie, 512MB of RAM was several orders of magnitudes more than what could be found in a typical personal computer).
  • His robot arms have been apparently replaced with new models that look significantly different. He has enough strength in his arms to hoist a family car into the air and bend steel bars. Whether he was able to do this with his old arms is unknown (but is possible, since he was able to easily destroy the pistol in the first Short Circuit).
  • He has been decorated with numerous stickers, including Greenpeace slogans and Nike logos.
  • At the end of the movie, he has been given new golden plating in the place of his old original Magnesium casing.


Johnny 5 is very curious and inquisitive with an almost insatiable thirst for "input" of just about any kind, but he is especially fond of books and television. While he started life as a military prototype, he has a great respect for life and refuses to use his capabilities to harm others, even when they have no such compunctions towards him. He is very intelligent and inventive with an encyclopedic knowledge but can be quite naive and childlike at times and can be too eager to trust people that he shouldn't. His innocent nature has been taken advantage of on several occasions.

He has a fondness for old movies and comedy shows, from which he quotes extensively. Favorites include Jackie Gleason, the Three Stooges, old gangster movies, Tarzan movies and assorted television commercials. He occasionally quotes from sources with more gravitas, too, including William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon and various philosophical texts. His favorite books are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio, probably because he feels empathy for the protagonists of those books.

He finds humans to be amusing and is sometimes frustrated by their behavior and their failure to recognize him as a sentient life form but seems to like them on the whole and has several close friendships with humans.

Johnny 5 is currently employed as a Library Page by the Capital Area District Library.


  • In the movies, for close-up shots, Johnny 5 becomes a giant hand puppet: His arms are attached to extended metal rods, similar to that of a Muppet.
  • For distant shots, a version of Johnny 5 was remotely controlled by an actor wearing a Telemetry Suit that sensed his movements and transmitted them to the robot, which mirrored them.
  • Some shots used a miniature version of Johnny 5, e.g., when he was being pushed across the Astoria-Megler Bridge by the Nova armored car in Short Circuit.
  • The robot also had a Utility Toolarm, which was used in both films. This had six tools and was electric and air operated. This is now part of the world's largest collection of Short Circuit Memorabilia held in the UK by Richard Steele of Team Robotics.