2012 Robot Hall of Fame® News

Robot Hall of Fame® Inducts NAO, PackBot, BigDog and WALL-E

More Than 17,000 People Voted Online To Select Winners

PITTSBURGH—The Robot Hall of Fame® inducted four robots chosen for the first time by a popular vote — Aldebaran Robotics' NAO humanoid, iRobot's PackBot bomb disposal robot, Boston Dynamics' four-legged BigDog and WALL-E, the fictional robot of the namesake Pixar movie — during a ceremony tonight at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.

"More than any previous class of inductees, this group of robots selected by popular vote represents contemporary robotics — robots at the cutting edge of technology — rather than older robots of strictly historical importance," said Shirley Saldamarco, Robot Hall of Fame director and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center. "Two of our inductees, NAO and Packbot, are commercially available and BigDog is still the focus of active research. Even our fictional honoree, WALL-E, is from a movie that's just four years old."

More than 17,000 people across every continent except Antarctica participated in the online vote in August and September. The 12 nominees on this year's ballot were chosen by a group of 107 robotics experts, industry leaders and aficionados selected by the Robot Hall of Fame (RHOF).

The RHOF, created in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University, recognizes excellence in robotics technology. It honors both the fictional robots that inspire innovation and the real robots that embody it. In 2009, it was integrated into Carnegie Science Center's roboworld™ exhibit.

The new inductees were elected in four categories: Education & Consumer; Entertainment; Industrial & Service; and Research.

NAO was inducted in the Education & Consumer category. An autonomous, programmable, humanoid robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics in 2006, the 22-inch-tall robot is used as an education platform and in the RoboCup robot soccer Standard Platform League. Other nominees in this category were iRobot's CREATE and the VEX Robotics Design System.

In the Entertainment category, voters chose WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter – Earth Class), the lovable star of the 2008 Disney/Pixar blockbuster by the same name. In the movie, WALL-E inadvertently embarks on a space journey that ultimately decides the fate of mankind. Other nominees in this category were Rosie the maid from the cartoon series "The Jetsons" and Johnny 5 from the 1986 movie "Short Circuit."

PackBot won in the Industrial & Service category. Created by iRobot, PackBot is one of the most successful battle-tested robots in the world. It performs bomb disposal and other dangerous missions for troops and first responders. More than 4,500 units are currently on station in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was one of the first robots to enter the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 tsunami. The other nominees were Kiva Systems' autonomous warehouse robots and the Jason submersible from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Finally, BigDog was recognized in the Research category. This dynamically stable quadruped robot was created in 2005 by Boston Dynamics. It can traverse difficult terrain and run at 4 miles an hour while carrying 340 pounds and climbing a 35-degree incline. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has sponsored its development as a robotic pack mule to accompany soldiers in terrain too tough for conventional vehicles. Other nominees were Willow Garage's two-armed PR2 mobile robot and NASA's Robonaut.

In addition to the Class of 2012 inductees, the ceremony also paid tribute to five jury-selected robots from the 2010 induction class: NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity; iRobot's Roomba vacuum cleaner; the da Vinci Surgical System; the characters Huey, Dewey and Louie from the 1971 film "Silent Running"; and T-800, the character played by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Terminator" film series.

Presenters at the ceremony included Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon; John Dulchinos, president and CEO of Adept Technology; Henry Thorne, chief technology officer of 4Moms; and Quasi, the robot character created by Interbots, a spinoff of CMU's Entertainment Technology Center. Heather Knight, a Ph.D. student in CMU's Robotics Institute, and her stand-up comedian robot, Data, performed during the event.

This year's induction ceremony was celebrated in conjunction with the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit, a conference of hundreds of robotics industry leaders that is in Pittsburgh this week.

The Robot Hall of Fame induction is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon and its Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and RoboBusiness. The Robotics Institute, the world's largest robotics research and education organization, is part of Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science. Information about the RHOF and previous winners is available at www.robothalloffame.org.

Byron Spice

Previous Press Releases:

August 20, 2012: Robot Hall of Fame® Invites Public To Vote Online For Its Next Induction Class (PDF)

In the Media:

October 26, 2012: David Letterman had some fun with the Robot Hall of Fame on his Oct. 26 Late Show, giving viewers the top 10 reasons your robot won't be inducted.

October 24, 2012: Robot Hall of Fame at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh inducts 4 more members - Associated Press

October 23, 2012: Robot Hall of Fame inducts Big Dog, PackBot, Nao and WALL-E (video) - by Brian Heater, Engadget

October 23, 2012: Carnegie Science Center, CMU add 4 to Robot Hall of Fame - by Debra Erdley, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

August 24, 2012: Robot Hall Of Fame Mixes 'American Idol,' Oscars To Make Picks - by Patrick Seitz, Click - Investor's Business Daily Technology Blog

August 22, 2012: The Robot Hall of Fame: Vote Rosey 2012 - by Matt Novak, Smithsonian Magazine

August 21, 2012: Elect the best machines for the Robot Hall of Fame - by Tim Hornyak, CNET

August 21, 2012: Public Can Vote on Robot Hall of Fame 2012 Class - by Damon Poeter, PC Magazine

August 21, 2012: Robot Hall of Fame voting begins for class of 2012, Johnny 5 learns where BigDogs sit - by Terrence O'Brien, Engadget

August 21, 2012: Robot Hall of Fame 2012 Voting and Tip Sheet - by Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum

August 20, 2012: The 12 robots you can vote into the Robot Hall of Fame - by Kevin Hall, Dvice

August 20, 2012: Vote for your favorite robots - by Alan Boyle, NBC News Cosmic Log

August 20, 2012: Robo-sport, raw materials and rail screening - by Jason Ford, The Engineer

August 20, 2012: Robot Hall Of Fame 2012: Vote For The Best And Most Innovative Robots In The World (PHOTOS) - by Dominique Mosbergen, The Huffington Post

News of the Robot Hall of Fame is available at http://www.cmu.edu, under the topic Robot Hall of Fame

Older News


April 21, 2009: Carnegie Science Center and Carnegie Mellon University announce five new inductees to Robot Hal of Fame®. Hall of Fame to Have Permanent Home at Carnegie Science Center in 2009 Press Release


The Robot Hall of Fame® Induction Ceremony was held April 9th, 2008 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA. The ceremony was emceed again by Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) of Starwars fame. Inducted were Lt. Cmdr. Data, LEGO® MINDSTORMS®, the Raibert Hopper, and NavLab 5. Carnegie Mellon University Press Release


May 15, 2007: Carnegie Mellon Adds Four More 'Bots to Robot Hall of Fame Press Release


Monday, January 23, 2006
"Robotics Trends and IDG World Expo today announced that Carnegie Mellon Universitys Robot Hall of Fame will hold its 2006 induction ceremony at the 3rd annual *RoboBusiness Conference and Exposition*,...."
Read Entire Article »


June 16-18, Pittsburgh
20th Century FOX hosted the international entertainment press for an exclusive presentation on I, ROBOT film design from designer Patrick Tatopolous and a Carnegie Mellon University Panel, Will Robots Replace Humans? When? And Should They?
The 2004 Robot Hall of Fame inductees were announced at the I, ROBOT reception and dinner.
More information can be found at the following links.
Read Press Release (as PDF) »
Go to CMU Entertainment Technology Center Website »

June 17, 2004 ASIMO, ASTRO BOY, C3PO, Robby the Robot, and Shakey will be inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame on October 11, 2004, at the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The announcement was made on June 17, 2004 at the international press launch for the 20th Century FOX feature film, I, ROBOT
More information can be found at the following links.
Read Press Release (as PDF) »
"5 Famous Robots Land Spots In Hall", By Byron Spice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette »


Tuesday, November 11, 2003
By Byron Spice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Robots became famous before they became real, so when Carnegie Mellon University inducted its first four members into its Robot Hall of Fame last night, it wasn't surprising that two of them were strictly works of science fiction.
Read Entire Article »

Monday, November 10, 2003
Cosmic Log By Alan Boyle 2003© MSNBC
Four robots from fiction and the real world are being inducted into Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame tonight as the inaugural honorees. The selections are as legendary in robotics as Babe Ruth of the Yankees and Roy Hobbs of "The Natural" are in baseball.

News of the Robot Hall of Fame is also available at http://www.cmu.edu, under the topic Robot Hall of Fame.