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Elect the best machines for the Robot Hall of Fame

For the first time, the public can help choose four distinguished robots for the Robot Hall of Fame. It's slightly more thrilling than this year's election.

PR2 and Robonaut could teach Obama and Romney a thing or two about body language.
Willow Garage, NASA

If robots could run for president, which would you vote for?

Nobody doubts that machines would make better leaders than meatsack politicians, but there are so many to choose from. Carnegie Mellon University is helping out by letting us humans elect inductees for its Robot Hall of Fame.

The prestige has been awarded to real robots such as Honda's Asimo, as well as characters like C-3P0 and R2-D2 from "Star Wars." The unprecedented public participation in choosing the members follows years of inactivity at the hall, which was created in 2003 but last added new robots in 2008.

The 12 candidates for the honor are divided into four categories: education & consumer robots, entertainment robots, industrial & service robots, and research robots.

Among the dozen aspirants are well-known names like the silver screen bot Wall-E, NASA's Robonaut, and BigDog, the insufferable robotic pack animal from Boston Dynamics and DARPA.

The more obscure candidates include the Kiva Mobile-robotic Fulfillment System, automated dolly robots that shuttle inventory around in warehouses. Amazon purchased maker Kiva Systems to help fill online shopping orders and reduce labor costs.

The 12 candidates were nominated by 107 robotics experts and aficionados. The winning four will be based on the results of the public vote and a survey of robot experts, Carnegie Mellon said in a release.

Voting will run through September 30, and an induction ceremony will be held October 23 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh in conjunction with the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit.

Meanwhile, CMU will recognize other machines that it apparently didn't get around to honoring in the years since 2008.

In addition to inducting the newly elected robots, the ceremony also will honor 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, the university said.

Check out the candidates for the 2012 Robot Hall of Fame inductions in our gallery below, and cast your vote here.

May the best machines win.