Carnegie Mellon Inducts Second Class into Robot Hall of Fame™
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Carnegie Mellon Inducts Second Class into Robot Hall of Fame™

Carnegie Mellon University, in partnership with the Carnegie Science Center, has inducted the second class of robots into the Robot Hall of Fame ( The robots selected this year are: Honda's humanoid robot ASIMO; Shakey, the first mobile robot to reason about its actions, developed by SRI International; Astro Boy, a Japanese animation of a robot with a soul; Robby the Robot, from MGM's 1956 science-fiction epic "Forbidden Planet;" and C-3PO, from the Star Wars series.

ASIMO accepts the award from Robot Hall of Fame founder James Morris. (Source: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.)
Established in 2003, the Robot Hall of Fame honors both real and fictional robots and their creators in recognition of the increasing benefits robots are bringing to society

The induction ceremony on Monday, Oct. 11, at the Carnegie Science Center, kicked off four days of events to celebrate the 25th anniversary ( of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.

Actor Anthony Daniels, who portrayed the golden droid C-3PO in all six Star Wars films, and robots ASIMO and Robby attended the induction ceremony. Speakers included Carnegie Mellon's Simon University Professor Raj Reddy, founder of the Robotics Institute, and James H. Morris, founder of the Robot Hall of Fame and dean of Carnegie Mellon's West Coast campus. Representatives of each robot being inducted received an award on the robot's behalf.

ASIMO, a humanoid robot developed by Honda Motor Co., Ltd., and Shakey the Robot, the first mobile robot to reason about its actions, were honored for the scientific achievements they represent. Astro Boy, C-3PO and Robby the Robot were honored for their fictional characters and their real inspiration. A jury of leaders in technology-related fields selected the five robots.

ASIMO, Advanced Step in Innovative MObility, drew juror support as one of the most successful humanoid robots ever created. Unveiled on Oct. 31, 2000, ASIMO was the world's first robot to walk dynamically, as humans walk. It can walk forward, backward, turn while walking, and climb and descend stairs. Honda engineers continue to improve ASIMO's capabilities. The latest additions include voice and facial recognition, digital mapping of its environment, gesture and posture recognition and Internet connectivity.

Stephen Keeney, ASIMO project leader, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., accepted the award.

Shakey the Robot (Courtesy: SRI International)
Shakey the Robot was introduced to the world in 1969 at the Stanford Research Institute's Artificial Intelligence Center in Menlo Park, Calif. It was the first mobile robot that could claim to reason about its actions and had programs for seeing, reasoning and acting.

"Shakey already sported a full planning system, a wireless video system and visual interpretation of its scene, visual obstacle avoidance and the ability to manipulate the world via pushing. It even had a multi-level, tiered control architecture very similar to what many have settled upon today. In other words, it was way ahead of its time and set a standard for a great many years," explained juror Illah Nourbakhsh, robotics group lead at NASA/Ames Research Center and associate professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.

Ray Perrault, director of SRI's Artificial Intelligence Center, and Peter Hart, chairman and president of Ricoh Innovations, Inc. and member of the Shakey Research Team, accepted the award for Shakey.

Astro Boy (Copyright: Tezuka Production Co., Ltd. Tokyo, Japan)
Astro Boy, the animation of a robot with a soul, was created by Osamu Tezuka in 1951, six years after the conclusion of World War II. Twelve years later, Tezuka launched a black-and-white animated TV series of Astro Boy.

"Astro Boy was inducted because of its extraordinary impact on Japanese culture, including its impact on the socialization of generations to a future in which robotics are a part of every day life," said juror Sherry Turkle, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Initiative on Technology and Self.

Takeo Kanade, the U.A. and Helen Whitaker Professor in the Robotics Institute and its second director, said he was inspired in his youth by Astro Boy. Takayuki Matsutani, president of Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd., in Tokyo accepted the honor on behalf of Astro Boy.

C-3PO (Copyright: 2004 Lucasfilm Ltd & TM. All rights reserved.)
C-3PO joined his beloved colleague R2-D2 as a member of the Robot Hall of Fame. The cheerful and well-intentioned robot is primarily known for his humor and his fluency in six million binary languages and for his appearance in all six Star Wars movies.

"Along with R2-D2, C-3PO is one of the most memorable characters from the Star Wars series," Morris said. "He demonstrates many appealing human traits. And, he received the most nominations from the public on the Robot Hall of Fame Web site. As jurors, we felt we needed to acknowledge that popular support."

Daniels and Kathleen Holliday, director of special programs at Lucasfilms Ltd., accepted the award for C-3PO.

Robby the Robot (Courtesy: Fred Barton Productions)
Robby the Robot also received significant support online. Robby made his first appearance in the 1956 MGM science-fiction epic, "Forbidden Planet," and became the iconic image of all science-fiction robots in the 1950s and beyond. Robby's creator, Robert Kinoshita, art designer of "Forbidden Planet," and Fred Barton, who makes life-size copies of Robby, accepted the award for Robby.

The Robot Hall of Fame's first class was inducted in November 2003. The charter group included NASA's Mars Pathfinder Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX), better known as "Sojourner"; Unimate, the first industrial robot; R2-D2, from the Star Wars trilogy; and the HAL-9000 computer, featured in the movie, "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Anne Watzman

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