Candidates for the Robot Hall of Fame (pictures)
Kicking off the entries for the 2012 Robot Hall of Fame candidates announced by Carnegie Mellon University is RoboCup star Nao. Made by France's Aldebaran Robotics, Nao has an ever-increasing skillset that includes climbing stairs and walking down ramps.
Create from iRobot
Joining now in the education & consumer category is iRobot's Create, a versatile programmable droid based on the company's popular Roomba cleaners. One of the more remarkable projects we've seen with the Create was using it to make a telepresence robot.
VEX Robotics Design Systems
Students from 20 countries participate in the VEX Robotics competition, a key component of programs to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Participants can build autonomous or human-controlled robots from kits, and then face off to see who has better chops.
The Robot Hall of Fame's Entertainment category includes past inductees such as Astro Boy and C-3P0. The pint-size star of Disney's "Wall-E" won the hearts of viewers with its cute personality, and helped garner an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Rosie the Robot
Hanna-Barbera's "The Jetsons" was a futuristic counterpart to "The Flintstones" and featured Rosie (sometimes spelled "Rosey"), an autonomous robot maid that was always picking up after the Jetson family and occasionally malfunctioning. She also had a spot in a 2006 AT&T computer voice commercial.
In the cheesy 1986 comedy "Short Circuit," Johnny 5 is a military robot that develops a mind of its own, emotions, and a penchant for wisecracking one-liners. The film, starring Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg, was immensely popular, and Johnny returned in a 1988 sequel. A reboot is, of course, in the works, directed by Tim Hill.
Thousands of iRobot PackBots have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq for bomb disposal, reconnaissance, and other military ops. The robot has also been used in high-profile civilian missions such as inspecting Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was crippled in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
This remotely operated vehicle at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was the first of its kind to be widely used by ocean researchers. Designed for survey and sampling missions, Jason weighs 9,000 pounds and can operate at depths beyond 21,000 feet.
The third candidate in the industrial & service robots category, Kiva robotic dollies are part of the Kiva Mobile-robotic Warehouse Automation System. That's right, they move inventory around autonomously, filling countless shopping orders made online. Amazon bought Kiva Systems this year to reduce warehouse costs.
Heading up the research category for Robot Hall of Fame candidates is the terrifyingly funny BigDog from Boston Dynamics. First created in 2005 as an automated equipment carrier for troops, BigDog has evolved into AlphaDog, a prototype that can haul 400 pounds over rocky terrain.
Willow Garage's two-armed PR2 is one of the most versatile humanoid robot research platforms in the world, and has been programmed to do everything from making breakfast to fetching beer and even scooping poop.
As the first humanoid robot in space, NASA's Robonaut 2 has been deployed to the International Space Station, where it's supposed to take on tasks such as monitoring air flow. Its sophisticated arms and hands are meant to exceed the dexterity of suited astronauts.