Carnegie Mellon University

Ivan Sutherland's Trojan Cockroach

Exhibit by Posner Center intern, Daniel Pillis
Fall 2015/ Spring 2016

Ivan Sutherland’s Trojan Cockroach told the story of computer graphics, walking machines, and the origins of the technology underlying modern advances in robots. The protagonist of the exhibit, Ivan Sutherland, is often considered the father of computer graphics. An alum of Carnegie Tech in the 1950’s, Sutherland went on to develop one of the first human computer interfaces for graphics at MIT.

In the 1980’s, Sutherland returned to CMU and worked with a group of graduate students to create “The Trojan Cockroach”, a six legged hexapod walking machine, considered to be the first man-carrying computer-controlled walking machine.

Featuring artifacts from the original robot, a history of Sutherland’s work, rare and hard to find images of walking robots, as well as previously unseen video footage and a virtual reality simulation, this exhibition showcased the history of Ivan’s work as well as the role walking machines have in the development of the field of robotics.

Ivan Sutherland portraitTrojan Cockroach

Images: Daniel Pillis website