Who says reincarnation isn’t possible? With Kickstarter, we can even bring dead robots back to life. But not just any old robot — a new Kickstarter campaign wants to rebuild Eric, the very first automaton to emerge from the U.K., who met his mysterious demise in the late 1920s when he just … disappeared. So now, in an attempt to replay (but not repeat) history, the Science Museum in London is looking to crowdfund their reboot project, setting a goal of just over $50,000 to bring Eric back. Or at the very least, build him again.
First constructed in 1928, Eric the Robot was a true technological marvel for his time — “a talking, moving, mechanical person.” Constructed by World War I veteran Captain William Richards and aircraft engineer Alan Reffell, Eric made his public debut at the Exhibition of the Society of Model Engineers in London in 1928. On September 28 of that year, he was seen for the first time at the Royal Horticultural Hall, displaying his mechanical prowess with movements and a four-minute opening address.
So enamored was Europe of Eric that he and his creators set out on a tour across the continent, until, of course, he disappeared.
And while the original Eric may be lost forever, the Science Museum and expert roboticist Giles Walker plan to rebuild him based on original archive materials. The Science Museum has a long history of “collecting and caring for thousands of incredible objects and sharing their amazing stories.” Their collection includes mechanical marvels from steam engines to spacecraft, and soon, hopefully, a replica of the U.K.’s first robot.
According to the Museum’s Kickstarter page, the whole process will take about three months, and once complete, the new Eric will go on public display in October. The exhibition will be free for a month, but after that, Eric will move onto bigger and better things, starring in the Museum’s major Robots exhibition, set to open in February 2017.