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The following article appeared October 4, 2006 in the

 "Man eager to share robots with public"

By Michelle Mundy
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

October 4, 2006


   When Rick Newman's garage door opens, he's standing next to a blue curtain.

   Behind that curtain sits the latest addition to his science artifact collection, most of which is on display at the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach.

   He's so eager to show off his newest acquisition that he can't stop smiling. He wants others to see it.

   After a few moments, Newman pulls back the curtain to reveal two 7-foot robots with large feet, antennas and clamp-like hands. He pushes a button on a black key fob and the robots become animated. Sections light up and spin just like the "B9" robot from the television show Lost in Space and "Robby the Robot" from the movie Forbidden Planet.

   They aren't the same robots from the 1950s shows.

   They are, however, as close as it gets. Both were built half a century ago by B9 and Robby creator Robert Kinoshita with the original molds and blue prints.

   And Newman, of Boca Raton, found Dick Tufeld, the man who was the original voice for the Lost in Space robot. He asked him to read a script and record it for the museum display he has been making. Tufeld sent him an electronic file.

   "I'm happy about getting Dick Tufeld. That's too cool to have it in his voice," a giddy Newman said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

   The robots will soon become part of an exhibit that Newman paid about $50,000 to create. The exhibit will be on display at the South Florida Science Museum in West Palm Beach starting Dec. 15. Until then, Robby and B9 will enjoy temporary residence at Newman's home.

   Newman, 50, started collecting science memorabilia and artifacts when he was 13. His work copying and duplicating CDs and DVDs for businesses and agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency and McDonald's has helped pay for the additions to his collection. The more successful his business is, the bigger the pieces in the collection.

   It was only a matter of time before he bought the life-size B9 robot and Robby. The pair have been near to his heart since childhood. He has pint-size replicas of them in his house.

   "Forty years ago, they're what inspired me to go into science," he said. "And I'm hoping that it will inspire kids seeing this."

   About 99 percent of his collection is on display, he said. That collection includes Russian space suits, United States space suits, space craft models and more. The full collection, most of which he's learned about through the Internet, can be seen at

   His hope is that Robby and B9 eventually will be mounted inside a 40-foot trailer that could go to schools. Kids would walk through the trailer to see the large robots.

   "I love this," he said. "It gives me a great feeling to share it with the public and kids. I bought them to go to the museums and, ultimately, from school to school. That's my goal ... to be able to bring it to all the schools in the state."

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