Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

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December 08, 2011

News Briefs

Snackbot Featured in Good Morning America Promos

ABC News shot video of Carnegie Mellon's snack-delivering robot,  Snackbot, and several students in the Gates Center high bay last week for use in an upcoming series of promos for Good Morning America. In the spot, Snackbot, developed by Sara Kiesler, Jodi Forlizzi and Paul Rybski, says “Carnegie Mellon Loves Good Morning America" as part of a montage with other Pittsburghers, including Hines Ward. ABC anticipates that the spot will begin airing next week (Dec. 12)  and will run through the NFL season.

Petitioning for a Smoke-Free Campus

Patrick Coles, a postdoctoral research associate in the Physics Department, has launched  an online petition calling for CMU's Pittsburgh campus to be entirely smoke-free, thus eliminating the 34 designated smoking areas. You can access and sign the petition at

My Keepon Featured in Wall Street Journal

KeeponMy Keepon, the dancing, tiny and spongy yellow snowman-like robot developed by CMU Ph.D. robotics alumnus Marek Michalowski to study social development and autism, made its commercial retail debut last month at the Toys R Us in New York City's Times Square. Yesterday it was featured in The Wall Street Journal for its popularity with children. A portion of every purchase will be distributed to researchers and practitioners investigating the use of robots in autism therapy. For more, read the My Keepon story.

CMU Discount for Toy Robots

Bossa Nova, a CMU spinoff that makes toy robots, is offering the CMU community a 20 percent discount on its Mechatars, an innovative palm-sized robot that connects to an online game. The Mechatars, for children between the ages of 6 and 11, have wireless communication, Flash memory, USB connectivity and are connected to the cloud. Robot play is transmitted online via USB and provides in-game credits. Conversely, online play unlocks new robot features, missions and weapons that are downloaded to the robot. The online game is free to play at, so users can register and try it out without a robot. To purchase the robot, priced at $39.99, go to, click Buy Now, and use the coupon code CMU20 for the instant 20 percent discount. The promotion, only valid for the CMU community, runs through Dec. 15.

Carnegie Mellon Women's Association Plans December Events

The Carnegie Mellon Women's Association is reserving seats for the School of Music Holiday Concert at noon on Friday, Dec. 9. The group is also planning a tour of the Phipps Conservatory Candlelight Winter Flower Show at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Phipps Conservatory. The winter flower show is candlelit in the evenings with live entertainment. Admission is $11 for adults, $8 for children (2 to 18) and free for Phipps members. RSVP to Krista Campbell at for either event by Thursday, Dec. 8.

Purchase Discounted Tickets to Cultural Trust Events

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is offering students, faculty and staff discounted tickets to several performances in January and February. They include Memphis (Dec. 27-Jan. 1 at Heinz Hall); The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (Jan. 21 at the Byham Theater); Suite Bill (Jan. 21 at the August Wilson Center); Sean Jones Duets Generations (Jan. 26 at the August Wilson Center); PMT’s Spring Awakening (Jan. 26 – Feb. 6 at the Byham); and Billy Elliot (Jan. 31-Feb. 12 at the Benedum Center). To order tickets, go to and login using the promo code CMU1112 to receive the discount.

CIT Staff Awards To Be Presented Jan. 23

The annual CIT Staff Awards Ceremony & Luncheon will be held at noon, Jan. 23 in the Singleton Room of Roberts Engineering Hall in Pittsburgh and at 9 a.m. in Room 118 on the Silicon Valley campus. Invitations will be sent via campus mail before the holiday break. Please RSVP via the CIT Staff Awards website at by Jan. 13.

Tickets Now on Sale for "From the Top" Taping, Feb. 14

Tickets for the live taping of "From the Top" with host Christopher O'Riley at 8 p.m., Feb. 14 at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland are now on sale. "From the Top" is the pre-eminent showcase for young musicians heard weekly on WQED-FM 89.3. The popular NPR radio program features the amazing performances and captivating personal stories of extraordinary young classical musicians from across the country. Purchase tickets now.

16th Annual Swimming Challenge To Benefit CMU's Swimming Teams

Carnegie Mellon's swimming teams are hosting the 16th annual 1,650 yard swim challenge fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 26 in the University Center pool. The entry fee is $25 and all proceeds benefit CMU's men's and women's swimming and diving teams. Entries are due Feb. 10. For an entry form, contact Jimmy Goldman at 412-683-0856 or

Nominations Open for Graduate Student Awards

The Graduate Student Service and Teaching Award nominations are now open and will be due on Friday, Feb. 10. The committees would greatly appreciate your support in soliciting and submitting nominations of graduate students who have excelled in teaching or service so that their efforts can be recognized by the university community. Nomination information can be found at Awards will be presented on Thursday, April 5, at the "Innovation with Impact: Graduate Student Celebration of Research, Teaching and Service" during Graduate Student Appreciation Week. Recipients will also be recognized at the Celebration of Education on Wednesday, April 25.