PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — For the first time members of the general public will help select four robots for induction into the Robot Hall of Fame® from a slate of a dozen nominees. The new robots will be inducted in a ceremony Oct. 23, when they will take their place alongside such notables as NASA’s Mars Sojourner, Honda’s ASIMO and Star Wars’ R2-D2 and C-3PO.
The Robot Hall of Fame (RHOF), created in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University, recognizes excellence in robotics technology. It honors both the fictional robots that inspire innovation and the real robots that embody it. In 2009, it was integrated into Carnegie Science Center’s roboworld™ exhibit.
“The technology and art of robotics are advancing at an increasingly rapid rate and so the Robot Hall of Fame also must evolve,” said Shirley Saldamarco, RHOF director and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center. “As more students, workers and consumers become accustomed to robots, it seems like a natural step to give the public a voice in selecting inductees.”
People can vote for one robot in each of four categories: Education & Consumer; Entertainment; Industrial & Service; and Research. The ballot is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RHoFPublic. Voting will continue through Sept. 30.
For Education & Consumer robots, the nominees are:
• Aldebaran Robotics’ NAO, a 22-inch-tall humanoid that is widely used in education worldwide;
• iRobot’s Create, a programmable robot based on the company’s popular robotic vacuum cleaner, Roomba;
• VEX Robotics Design System, a kit for designing and building robots that is widely used in the classroom and in competitions.
The Entertainment category includes these nominees:
• WALL-E, a waste-collecting robot that is the hero, love interest and namesake of Pixar’s 2008 computer-animated science fiction film;
• Johnny 5, a prototype military robot that learns to reject destruction and embrace life in the 1986 science fiction comedy, “Short Circuit”;
• Rosie, a maid robot with motherly qualities that took care of a human family on The Jetsons, a Hanna-Barbera animated sitcom first broadcast on ABC in 1962.
The nominees in the Industrial & Service category are:
• iRobot’s PackBot, which performs bomb disposal and other dangerous assignments for the U.S. military;
• Kiva System’s autonomous warehouse robots, which speed the processing of customer orders. (Amazon Inc. acquired Kiva earlier this year);
• Jason, a remotely operated vehicle designed and built by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has explored hydrothermal vents in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans; a prototype, Jason Jr., surveyed the wreck of the Titanic.
In the Research category, the nominees are:
• BigDog, a four-legged robot the size of a large dog or small mule, was developed by Boston Dynamics for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to walk, run or climb with heavy loads over rough terrain;
• PR2, a two-armed robot built by Willow Garage that can navigate human environments and has the dexterity to grasp and manipulate objects;
• Robonaut, a dexterous, two-armed robot developed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center to help humans work in space; the latest version, Robonaut 2, was launched to the International Space Station in February 2011.
The robots up for election were nominated by a group of 107 robotics experts, industry leaders and aficionados selected by the Robot Hall of Fame. In determining the ultimate winners, RHOF officials will base half of the decision on the public vote and half on a survey of the robot experts.
The Oct. 23 induction ceremony will be at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. It will be celebrated in conjunction with the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit, which will bring hundreds of robotics industry leaders to Pittsburgh for an Oct. 22-24 conference.
“The Robot Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are always great fun and have been a highlight of previous RoboBusiness events in Pittsburgh,” said Dan Kara, chairman of the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit. “We love robots and we love to see their inventors and creators get the public recognition they deserve.”
In addition to inducting the newly elected robots, the ceremony also will honor five jury-selected robots from the 2010 induction class: NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity; iRobot’s Roomba vacuum cleaner; the da Vinci Surgical System; the characters Huey, Dewey, and Louie from the 1971 film “Silent Running;” and T-800, the character played by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator” film series.
The ceremony is open to the public. For ticket information, please visit http://rhof.eventbrite.com/.
The Robot Hall of Fame induction is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and RoboBusiness. The Robotics Institute, the world’s largest robotics research and education organization, is part of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. Information about the Hall and previous winners is available at www.robothalloffame.org.
Image Credit: NASA