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Owsley Stanley 04-20-2006 07:58 AM

Robot Hall of Fame
 
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3217961/

Five robots for the ages: The Robot Hall of Fame's five newly inducted members span eight decades of robotic lore highlighting the role of machines in fiction, function and just plain fun.

The honorees include one of the earliest movie androids (the metallic Maria from Fritz Lang's 1927 classic, "Metropolis") as well as one of the latest (David from the 2001 film "A.I.," portrayed by Haley Joel Osment) and the biggest (Gort from "The Day the Earth Stood Still," a 1951 Cold War parable).

There are real-world robots, too: Sony's AIBO robot dog, which serves as a toy as well as a low-cost research platform; and the Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm, which has spawned an entire class of industrial robot arms.

This year's list was announced today at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center in Pittsburgh, during a kickoff event for CS50, a celebration of CMU's first 50 years of computer science education and research. The formal induction ceremony is scheduled for June 21 during the RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition in Pittburgh.

The Hall of Fame was founded in 2003 by James Mirros, former dean of CMU's School of Computer Science. Past inductees include R2-D2 and C-3PO from "Star Wars," HAL 9000 from "2001," Robby the Robot from "Forbidden Planet," Astro Boy, the Mars Pathfinder rover, ASIMO, Shakey and Unimate.

"We decided to give awards to both real and fictional robots because the fictional robots provide inspiration to the real ones," Morris explained in a news release. "Now, however, we see that some robots occupy a middle ground. AIBO is real, but also entertaining. R2-D2 started off with [actor] Kenny Baker inside, but then became automated. Eventually, our deliberations will confront the age-old question of real vs. fiction."

The Hall of Fame may also have to confront the age-old question of crowd-pleasing picks vs. expert opinion: AIBO was the only inductee listed among the top 10 vote-getters on the Hall of Fame's nomination page, although Maria and Gort show up in the extended standings. Unfortunately, there's no "People's Choice" category in this competition. Instead, the inductees are chosen by an international jury of experts.


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