May 15, 2007 10:58 AM PDT

Science beats fiction in Robot Hall of Fame

Science beats fiction in Robot Hall of Fame
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Sizing up the coming robotics revolution

May 15, 2007
BOSTON--Real science is finally beating out science fiction when it comes to the Robot Hall of Fame.

Carnegie Mellon University on Tuesday announced its 2007 inductees into the Robot Hall of Fame--comprised of both real and science fiction robots--here at its RoboBusiness 2007 conference. Three of the four robots selected by a jury of 25 leading roboticists were built by actual scientists.

"For the first time, the jury selected more robots from science in fact than science fiction," said Matt Mason, the director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon.

"Perhaps it's a trend that we are finally beginning to fulfill expectations," he said.

Photos: 2007 Robot Hall of Fame inductees

Lego Mindstorms, the robot building set intended to inspire children to build their own robots, was named as an inductee.

The Navlab 5 was also honored for its achievement in driving from Pittsburgh, Penn., to San Diego, Calif., steering itself 98 percent of the way in a program called "No Hands Across America" in 1995.

The Raibert Hopper, a one-legged hopping robot, made in 1983 and 1984, was also honored, though more for its breakthrough that inspired many of today's mobile robots.

"The one-legged hopper has stiff competition. I don't think the one-legged hopper would be interesting except that it has the DNA for later two-legged and four-legged robots," Mason said.

Representing the fictional side of robots, Lieutenant Commander Data, the robot played by Brent Spiner on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was inducted for its continual curiosity and philosophical questioning of the logic of humans and the rights of humanoid machines.

"Behind every great roboticist, there is a robot from science fiction that inspired that roboticist," said Don Marinelli, the executive producer of the Entertainment Tech Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

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Android rather than robot.....
I'd call Data an android rather than a robot as he was created to resemble, mimic and learn from humans. While a robot is often created in the image of humans, they are more often created and preprogrammed to replace human performed tasks which is not the function of an android.
Posted by drewbyh (91 comments )
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Androids are still robots
Data is certainly an android, as are many science fiction robots (but
relatively few real-life robots, at least by proportion). However,
"android" is still a class of robot, so he's a robot as well.

BTW, the task to which a robot is put has nothing to do with
whether or not the robot is an android. The term specifically relates
to the *form* of the device, not its function.
Posted by ajhoughton (133 comments )
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Wow! Data. Really? I may not belong on this site (it was only a link), but may I say that Carnegie Mellon University was where the utterly spectacular Mr. Zachary Quinto studied, who plays the new Spock in 'Star Trek' (and Sylar in 'Heroes'). Rather a coincidence... still, I am a large (but fairly new - only just 16 and started watching since April) fan of Star Trek, so I'd suppose it is to thank for my growing interest in robotics and other scientific FACT as well as FICTIONAL things. Still, Data is, and perhaps will always be my favourite NG character, for the reasons mentioned. Glad to see his ongoing struggle for humanity being applauded as the intriguing and educational journey that it was.

+=+=+ Izzy Carlisle +=+=+
Posted by IzzyCarlisle (1 comment )
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