In the sci-fi comedy film Short Circuit, the Nova Robotics Corporation built five military-spec robots known as S.A.I.N.T.'s (Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport) to showcase to the United States Department of Defense. With the exception of Number 5 and 4, three are the main antagonists/villains in the middle of the film.
During a demonstration, the S.A.I.N.T's obedience and intelligence were tested (except the sixth prototype being found on display in the Nova Laboratories Visitors Center on a 360-degree rotating pedestal) when one of them made a cocktail for Nova's director, Dr. Howard Marner. Their combat abilities were also put to the test when they were placed into a mock battle with several military vehicles, obliterating them with their laser weapons.
One of the robots - Number Five - was struck by lightning while being recharged during a sudden storm that cut the demonstration short, causing it to go haywire and run away from the labs. Later in the film, as Number Five has developed its own sense of self, Nova - believing that Five is potentially dangerous - deploys three remaining S.A.I.N.T. robots to capture it. Number Five manages to evade its brothers and disables them, turning Numbers One, Two and Three into the Three Stooges by re-programming them using recorded TV footage. Where Number Four was during the chase is unknown, but at the end of the film, Nova believes they have destroyed Number Five (actually a copy that Five made from spare parts), costing them millions of dollars in hardware. It is mentioned in Short Circuit 2 that this fiasco resulted in the shutdown of Nova Robotics and the disassembly of the S.A.I.N.T. units.
The S.A.I.N.T. robots have a rather alien appearance to them, with a multi-jointed body structure, rectangular head and three-fingered hands. They move on tank-like bases, rolling on two caterpillar treads and a small, spherical wheel behind them to steer the unit. When they speak, lights appear on their vocalizers which contract and retract depending on their tone and the extent of their words. When in offensive mode, their optic lenses glow red and the metal 'eyelids' adjust to make the robots appear to be frowning angrily. A rectangular casing on the robot's back houses its laser, which raises to the left shoulder when ready to fire.
- Although described as a "Nuclear Transport", the S.A.I.N.T.'s are apparently not powered by nuclear fuel. Number Five has shown that he is powered by a standard battery system. The Nuclear Transport part of the S.A.I.N.T.'s name is due to the robots being proposed as kamikaze attackers, following the first attack by aircraft, a S.A.I.N.T. would be deployed carrying a nuclear weapon to a target and detonating it in close proximity.