HAL and Artoo win a place in the Robot Hall of Fame

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Carnegie Mellon has announced the 2004 inductees to the Robot Hall of Fame at the Carnegie Science Center. The robots honored in this first annual Hall of Fame event included NASA's Mars Pathfinder Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX), better known as "Sojourner"; Unimate, the first industrial robot; R2-D2, the unforgettable droid from the Star Wars movie trilogy; and the evil HAL-9000 computer, featured in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey," created by science fiction writer and futurist Sir Arthur C. Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick. The Robotics Institute, a division of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science, was established in 1979 to conduct basic and applied research in robotics technologies and transfer them to industry to enhance productivity and product quality. Over time, its mission has broadened to include projects that benefit society at large like the Robot Hall of Fame. Carnegie Mellon will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Robotics Institute on October 11-14, 2004. The second annual Robot Hall of Fame induction ceremony will kick off the weeklong celebration on October 11 at the Carnegie Science Center. The Hall of Fame was created to honor noteworthy robots, both real and fictional, in recognition of the increasing benefits robots are bringing to society. Carnegie Mellon Provost Mark Kamlet and James H. Morris, former dean of the School of Computer Science, announced the creation of the Robot Hall of Fame on April 30, 2003. The first induction ceremony was held November 10, 2003. "Our goal is to create a permanent, interactive exhibition involving robots that will educate and entertain a wide variety of audiences," said Morris, who conceived the Hall of Fame concept.

Anyone may suggest a robot for the Hall of Fame by accessing the Web site http://www.robothalloffame.org/

. Jurors consulted these recommendations as they made their nominations.

To be eligible for the competition, the robots must be scientific or science fiction-oriented. Scientific robots must have served an actual or potentially useful function and demonstrated real skills in accomplishing the purpose for which they were created. Fictional robots should have achieved worldwide fame as fictional characters and helped to form our opinions about the function and value of all robots.

"It's fitting that the Robot Hall of Fame is located here in Pittsburgh, the home of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute," said Robotics Institute Director Chuck Thorpe, who soon will be dean of Carnegie Mellon Qatar. "We have been doing research in many areas of robotics for nearly 25 years and have helped to focus attention on this field that has so much potential to help people.

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