Wall-E, BigDog Inducted Into the Robot Hall of Fame


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This week four new robots were inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame. The 2012 induction class includes Aldebaran Robotics' NAO, iRobot's PackBot, Boston Dynamics' BigDog, and Pixar's WALL-E.

WALL-E, the industrious robot from the Pixar movie of the same name, beat out the Jetsons' Rosie and Johnny 5 from the Short Circuit movies to win the entertainment category.

The NAO, is an autonomous, programmable humanoid robot used as an education platform. Aside from the education work, NAO spotlights as a YouTube sensation by playing soccer and dancing to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The NAO was the winner of the education & consumer category.

The PackBot is one of the most successful battle-tested bomb disposal robots in the world and was inducted in the industrial & service category. More than 4,500 PackBots are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the perform dangerous missions for first responders. It was also one of the first robots to enter the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant after the 2011 tsunami.

BigDog was the winner of the research category. It serves as a robotic mule that can carry hundreds of pounds worth of gear, even in adverse, steep terrain. BigDog is currently being tested by DARPA, but could soon find itself a valuable member of the U.S. military.

"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."

The Robot Hall of Fame was created by Carnegie Mellon University in 2003 to recognize excellence in robotics technology.