Tuesday, June 26th, 2007
Review: Doctor Who Cyberman Voice Changer Helmet
- Alternate title: Zeebot Revisited
- Double alternate title: My Internet access was out for 24 hours, so I wrote this last night while waiting to rejoin the 21st century.
I’m really only reviewing this helmet as an excuse to share the photo.
The Doctor Who Cyberman Voice Changer Helmet was a Father’s Day gift from my adoring wife. Yes, I am a science fiction geek.
Robots entered my daughter’s life when she was 2-years-old, coinciding with her refusals to follow directions.
Today, at 3-years-old, Zeebot lives on as a fun pretend character anyone in the family will resurrect when the mood strikes. I begin by speaking in a robotic tone and invoking someone’s name with the appended word "unit." Daughter-unit. Mother-unit. You get the idea.
The Cyberman helmet is simply an extension of that, a piece of extravagant fun.
Cybermen are a race of cyborgs in television’s longest running science fiction series, Doctor Who. They made their first appearance in 1966 and were remade in 2006 for the revived series that airs on the BBC a year ahead of the SciFi cable channel (look for new episodes in July).
The helmet has adjustable straps like a hard hat to fit your head size. There’s only a partial backside to the helmet, with a few inches of your hairy head visible. It is not a toddler toy.
There are three sound functions activated by three buttons on the face, and a blue light emanates from the mouth whenever the helmet speaker activates.
The first button plays a number of stock Cybermen phrases such as "Resistance is illogical. You will be upgraded or you will be deleted." If that sounds a little like The Borg from Star Trek, well, yes, The Borg borrowed a lot from Cybermen and another Doctor Who foe, the Daleks. OK, enough geek talk.
The second button tweaks your speech in real-time to one of three tones you pre-configure based on how your voice sounds. The speech conversion only occurs while you have your finger on the button, which really kills some of the cool factor. Every time you want to sound like a robot you have to touch your face. But still, my daughter doesn’t care or notice.
The third button produces an electrical sound that simulates the incapacitating electrical shock Cybermen give humans before cutting open their skulls and transplanting their brains into Cybermen bodies. In the helmet’s sound comes across like static and is rather lame.
Is the helmet cool? Yes, if you like Doctor Who.
Does my daughter like it? Most definitely.
Does my daughter like it enough to justify the $50 price tag? Heck no. She had just as much fun when I pretended to be a robot as she does when I pretend while wearing the helmet.
But still, I’m a geek, so now I have to find a cherished place in our home to protect this treasure.
- Birth of Zeebot: Using Multiple Personalities as a Child Management Tool
- Zeebot Lives! How we Made a Toddler Robot Costume