Wall-E, BigDog, Nao, PackBot break into Robot Hall of Fame

Military bots were well represented in the voting for the 2012 inductees. Left out in the cold: Robonaut and Johnny 5.

Clockwise from top left, the winners are: Wall-E, BigDog, PackBot, and Nao. Robot Hall of Fame

The people have spoken and the machines are immortalized.

More than 17,000 humans voted online for the 2012 inductees to the Robot Hall of Fame, and they chose a mixture of friendly and terrifying bots, depending on your perspective.

Come on down, Wall-E, BigDog, Nao, and PackBot. You've earned a place among the stars.

Although the 12 nominees were selected by robotics experts, it was the first time that popular votes chose the inductees to Carnegie Mellon University's hall of immortal robots.

The public didn't recognize screen legend Johnny 5 and NASA's Robonaut , among others.

"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," Robot Hall of Fame Director Shirley Saldamarco said in a release.

"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 4 years old."

The Robot Hall of Fame was set up in 2003 and honors real and fictional bots. The inductees were selected for four categories: entertainment, education & consumer, industrial & service, and research. Check out the gallery of inductees below.

Wall-E, the entertainment winner, is the lovable droid that stars in the 2008 Disney/Pixar animated film about a robot tasked with cleaning up garbage on Earth in the distant future.

The education & consumer choice, Nao , is a 22-inch-tall programmable, autonomous humanoid robot from Aldebaran Robotics that's widely used for robot research and education, as well as in the RoboCup robot soccer tournaments.

iRobot's PackBot was inducted in the industrial & service category. This battle-hardened bomb-disposal device has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and has also helped investigate Japan's heavily damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Finally, Boston Dynamics' BigDog won in the research category. Sponsored by DARPA and famously lampooned on YouTube, the four-legged all-terrain walker was designed as a robotic pack animal to carry gear for troops, and has since spawned larger and more agile versions.

Did your favorite robot make the cut? Check out the other inductees here.

 

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