Candidate for the Robot Hall of Fame?

Carnegie Mellon's Matthew Mason receives a prestigious award for his robotic research that has included origami, soccer, and legless travel. Is hall-of-fame status next?

Matthew T. Mason, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, has won an award for his "pioneering contributions to the fundamental understanding of the mechanics of robotic manipulation and to graduate education in robotics."

The Robotics and Automation Society, which bestowed Mason with its annual Pioneer Award, is part of the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE). So while the monetary prize for the lifetime achievement award is only $2,000, a lot of prestige comes with the plaque he was given over the weekend.

Matthew T. Mason heads the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon

Mason's body of work includes robotic juggling, legless robotic travel, robotic locomotion, handless robotic manipulation of objects (robot soccer), and robotic origami. Mason's famous robotic origami project, in which robots build origami cranes from paper, was lauded for the progress it made in developing robotic agility with soft objects.

Mason also wrote the book "Mechanics of Robotic Manipulation."

But the general public will likely remember Mason for something else entirely. With the help of Mason--and under Jim Morris, who was computer science school dean at the time--Carnegie Mellon opened the Robot Hall of Fame in 2003.

The hall of fame honors both real and fictional robots as a way to engage public interest in robotics and engineering. While the Robot Hall of Fame technically rewards the robots themselves and not their creators, Mason would be a likely candidate if the rules change.

Mason, who is a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the IEEE, earned his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate in computer science and artificial intelligence from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He has been a Carnegie Mellon faculty member since 1982.

For more insights on his work and thoughts on robotics, read CNET's Q&A with Mason.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet,, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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