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On Star Trek, Commander Data is not human, he's an android, not a cyborg. I thought cyborgs looked human (like terminator) but droids looked more robot than human (like C3PO).

Is this an official thing like starships and spaceships, or does it vary from one SciFi work to another?

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  • Robot is any artificial thing made to do work. Wiki defines it as a "mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control". It's a very generic term.

    Anything can be a robot - from an industrial robot used on an assembly line (pretty much just an arm with a CPU) to human-like android to a spaceship with a computer brain - real (e.g. Buran) or artificial (e.g. V'ger). Though in latter case, they are rarely referred to as "robots" despite fitting the definition 100%.

  • Android (from Late Greek androeidēs - manlike; see andro- , -oid) is a robot resembling a human being (frequently, though not necessarily a very close, ideally undistinguishable resemblance is implied).

    Examples include Star Trek's Data, Star Wars' C3PO (to an extent), or Blade Runner androids.

  • A cyborg, short for "cybernetic organism", is a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts.


A cyborg can be in ANY form, human like or not (in the former case, a cyborg is also classified as "android").

Android can be made using any technology. It can be entirely artificial (like Star Trek's Data) or part biological (which makes it a cyborg).

A robot is a generic term - anything can be a robot. All androids are robots. As interesting aside, the original robots (from Karel Čapek's play R.U.R. - Rossum's Universal Robots) were meant to be human-like, e.g. androids, though the term wasn't created at that point yet.


As usual, a given SciFi author can screw up - intentionally or through ignorance - any definitions and call anything anything he wants. As an example, R2-D2 from Star Wars is called a droid - derivative from "Android" - despite being in the form of trashcan post office box, instead of a human shape.

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    Suggested addition -- And cyborg (cybernetic organism) is a hybrid mechanical & biological organism - a human with robotic parts, for example. – Saiboogu Feb 13 '12 at 18:57
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    @Saiboogu - you caught me mid-edits :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 13 '12 at 19:06
  • Your answer grew quickly - Should have known better and waited a few before commenting. :) – Saiboogu Feb 13 '12 at 19:31
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    Android and Cyborg are mutually exclusive. Cyborgs have biological components (usually biological beings augmented with technology), while Androids are purely mechanical. – Izkata Feb 14 '12 at 1:01
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    @AlanB - I'm fairly certain that was NOT the case historically. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 14 '12 at 12:45
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A cyborg is at least partially organic (the "org" part). So a human with grafted cybernetic components is a cyborg. Like Commander Data, The Terminator is NOT a cyborg, as he's robot all the way through. Robocop is a cyborg, being built on a biological human frame.

An android is a robot in the form of a human ("andro" being greek for "man"). Data and Arnold are both androids.

R2D2, while referred to as a "droid", is NOT an android. Whatever is greek for "trash can", he's a that-oid.

Edit: NOT C3PO!! Bad geek! No comic book!

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    you mixed up your Star Wars droids. You meant R2D2 - see my asnwer – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 13 '12 at 19:07
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    Also, the T-800 terminators had organic skin, not rubber or some other synthetic, which (just barely) qualifies them to be called cyborgs. – cjm Feb 13 '12 at 19:28
  • @cjm Not sure. Cyborg means "CYBernetic ORGanism", which brings to mind the notion of an underlying living organism which has been enhanced with cybernetic implants or limbs. While I guess you could look at the Terminator as a layer of living skin "enhanced" with an underlying robot, it's probably not how most people would see it. In my opinion, the Terminator is a robot through and through, with a disguise made of living tissue. That subverts the definition of "cyborg". – Andres F. Jul 29 '13 at 17:47
  • @cjm Put another way: human skin is not an organism, it's just tissue. Contrast it with Robocop: he was a human cop, enhanced with cybernetic implants and armor. – Andres F. Jul 29 '13 at 17:50
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androids can still have skin on them like in dragon ball z ,Aliens or some early prototypes of the T-series robots which had rubber skin but they can not have any blood etc or they would be classed as cyborg

the only difference with Arnolds T was he had blood in his skin which makes him cyborg

Robots are anything mechanical with a CPU think of them as the mechanical version of brainwashed zombies puppets if you will

Droids are as you see in star wars C3PO R2-D2 etc these are mechanical robots with an AI that is self aware now yes there is a little debate because the battle droids are commanded through ships etc but for now they are still classed as droids

There is much to learn

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    Just because a robot climbs into a flesh suit does not make it a cyborg. The T-800 is not dependent on any organic components, and most of the ones seen in battle are not covered in flesh. There's no integration between the organic tissue and the mechanical endoskeleton and cybernetic components. The infiltrator model Terminators are given flesh-like coverings. The T-600s were originally coated with rubber. Later on, Skynet developed human-like organic flesh. But these are essentially aesthetic sheaths. Underneath, they're just like the bare-metal hunter-killer Terminators. – Lèse majesté Jul 29 '13 at 10:45
  • This answer is very low quality, as it is unclear what you are trying to state and brings little to the question. Can you improve this? – AncientSwordRage Jan 22 '14 at 20:12
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cyborgs are just people with robot parts and they can live without. were as an android is a being made from both organic and machine material that they can not live with out

  • Welcome to Science Fiction and Fantasy! This answer is very low quality, as it is unclear what you are trying to state and brings little to the question. Can you improve this? – AncientSwordRage Jan 22 '14 at 20:11
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    Also, you might want to provide some sort of referencing to back up your statements. – Valorum Jan 22 '14 at 20:22

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