Carnegie Science Center, CMU add 4 to Robot Hall of Fame
Cleveland has rock 'n' roll, Cooperstown has baseball and Canton has football.
In Pittsburgh, robots inhabit a hall of fame.
The Robot Hall of Fame, which Carnegie Mellon University established in 2003 and integrated into the Carnegie Science Center in 2009, added four 'bots to its list of luminaries at a ceremony on Tuesday.
The inductees — elected for the first time by popular vote cast by 17,000 fans around the world — range from Pixar's WALL-E, a fanciful animated film star from 2008, to iRobot's Packbot, a workaday wonder that defused bombs in war zones and explored the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.
Professor Robert Thompson, who studies pop culture at Syracuse University, said it's fitting that robots should have a hall of fame, given our long romance with the concept.
“What is it about robots that wouldn't fascinate people? It seems like such an obvious thing: the notion of creating a replica of a functioning human being and to think you're stripping it of all its flaws and emotions,” Thompson said.
Science and science fiction are natural partners at the Robot Hall of Fame, where past honorees range from Star Wars' R2D2 and Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator T-800 to the Mars Pathfinder Sojouner Rover, iRobot's Roomba vacuum cleaner and Unimate, a circa-1961 GM industrial robot.
Tuesday's ceremony highlighted the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit, an international robotics conference that drew several hundred industry leaders for a three-day event that ends Wednesday.
This year's inductees into the Robot Hall of Fame, chosen from 12 nominees, have a common thread, said Shirley Saldamarco, director of the hall and a faculty member at CMU's Entertainment Technology Center.
“More than any previous class of inductees, this group of robots selected by popular vote represents contemporary robotics — robots at the cutting edge of technology — rather than older robots of strictly historical importance,” Saldamarco said.
She noted that two of them, Aldebaran Robotics' NAO and iRobot's Packbot, are commercially available. The final inductee, Big Dog, created by Boston Dynamics in 2005, is the focus of active research sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
NAO, a 22-inch-tall humanoid robot, is used as an educational tool. Big Dog, touted as the most advanced rough-terrain robot on Earth, is a four-legged invention that can walk four miles an hour and carry up to 340 pounds.
New robots take some of the fiction out of science fiction, Thompson said.
“Robots used to be a fun exploration of a possible future but they are becoming more and more relevant as the difference between a functioning brain and artificial intelligence grows narrower,” Thompson said.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Decisions backfire in Steelers’ loss in Seattle
- Penn State coach fires offensive coordinator
- Police charge New Florence man in St. Clair officer’s killing
- High school notebook: TJ, Clairton head into enemy territory
- PSU Fayette men’s basketball team loses to Lock Haven
- Norway mulls using medical heroin to prevent deadly overdoses
- Fatal HOV lane crash in Ross under investigation
- Israel suspends contact with some EU groups over labels on exports
- New Kensington man killed in North Buffalo crash
- Soutmoreland girls basketball team primary goal: playoffs
- Iran gives investors glimpse of $30 billion in oil deals to come