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Friday, November 9, 2012

Robot Hall Of Fame

The first thing you should know is that there really is a Robot Hall of Fame, and it is not just a couple of robot geek boys and girls getting stoned and randomly choosing robots they think are cool.

Rather, the Robot Hall of Fame is actually sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, ETCglobal Carnegie Mellon, Carnegie Science Center, Robo Business Leadership Summit and of course the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

This blog has no idea if all of those companies employ robot geek boys and girls who are more stoned than a gravel road, but it is always a possibility.

Established in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science to recognize landmark achievements in robotics technology and to create a broader awareness of the contribution that robots and roboticists make to science and society, you might think that the robots elected into the hall of fame would be somewhat American-centric—but I'm happy to say that it's not.

There are quite a few Japanese robots in the hall… as well as more than a few that will leave you scratching your head as to WTF are they doing here.

Say what you will, whatever it is that these robot geeks are smoking, it's some good crap.

Now… just in case you are ever in the Pittsburgh area (home of my favorite baseball team the Pittsburgh Pirates, and football team, Pittsburgh Steelers - but god help me I love my Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors), there is an actual physical Robot Hall of Fame you can visit - at the Carnegie Science Center… a part of roboworld, the world's largest permanent robotics exhibit until someone in Japan reads this article.

Anyhow… I'm going to present the inductees and let you scratch your own head, though I would recommend you visit their website at least to get further details on the honored metal ones.

(In brackets, I have listed where they are famous from initially)

2003 Inductees: Hal 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey book and then movie); Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover; R2-D2 (Star Wars movies); Unimate.

2004 Inductees: ASIMO; Shakey; Astro Boy (manga/comic book and anime/cartoon); Robby the Robot (The Forbidden Planet movie); C-3P0 (Star Wars movies).

2006 Inductees: AIBO; SCARA: David (A.I. Artificial Intelligence movie); Maria (Metropolis movie); Gort (The Day The Earth Stood Still movie).

2008 Inductees: Raibert Hopper; NavLab 5; LEGO MINDSTORMS (building toy); Lt. Cmdr. Data (Star Trek: The Next Generation television show)

2010 Inductees: NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity; iRobot's Roomba vacuum cleaner; da Vinci Surgical System; Huey, Dewey and Louie (NOT Donald Duck's nephews, rather the characters from the movie Silent Runnings); and the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger's bad ass robot from The Terminator movies).

2012 Inductees (inducted on October 23, 2012): NAO; WALL-E (Disney movie of the same name); PackBot; BigDog.

Now… just so you know… while drugs may indeed have been a part of the process, there was method to their madness.

Despite the website not actually stating it, the Robot Hall of Fame actually honors both fictional robots that inspire real innovation and the real robots that embody it.

Inductees are elected via four categories: Education & Consumer; Entertainment; Industrial & Service; and Research.

As to why I am even mentioning this, well… Japan is represented here:

  • AIBO (Artificial Intelligence BOt) from Sony, is the cute robot dog. 
  •  SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) created by Professor Makino Hiroshi (surname first) at Yamanishi University in Japan - and was used in commercial assembly lines back in 1981.
  •  ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility) is manufactured by Honda Motor Co., Ltd. It's a humanoid robot that actually walks like a real human - a first!

  • Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atom) created in 1951 by Japanese animator and artist Tezuka Osamu (surname first). He's a child-like robot boy with wicked powers: flight; rocket hands; laser fingers; super hearing; super powerful eyes.
Astro Boy

And… an honorable mention to American-made Unimate, which influenced Japanese robotics back in 1961. 

For more information on the Robot Hall of Fame, click HERE.

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