The Robot Hall of Fame inducted WALL•E, the fictional robot of the namesake Pixar movie, during a ceremony Tuesday evening at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh.
WALL•E was one of four robots chosen for the first time by a popular vote.
In the Entertainment category, voters chose WALL•E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class), the lovable star of the 2008 Disney/Pixar blockbuster by the same name. In the movie, WALL•E inadvertently embarks on a space journey that ultimately decides the fate of mankind. Other nominees in this category included Rosie the maid from the cartoon series The Jetsons.
“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. “Even our fictional honoree, WALL-E, is from a movie that’s just four years old.”
More than 17,000 people across every continent except Antarctica participated in the online vote in August and September. The 12 nominees on this year’s ballot were chosen by a group of 107 robotics experts, industry leaders and aficionados selected by the Robot Hall of Fame.
The RHOF, created in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University, recognizes excellence in robotics technology. It honors both the fictional robots that inspire innovation and the real robots that embody it. In 2009, it was integrated into Carnegie Science Center’s roboworld exhibit.
Presenters at the ceremony included Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon; John Dulchinos, president and CEO of Adept Technology; Henry Thorne, chief technology officer of 4Moms; and Quasi, the robot character created by Interbots, a spinoff of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center. Heather Knight, a Ph.D. student in CMU’s Robotics Institute, and her stand-up comedian robot, Data, performed during the event.
This year’s induction ceremony was celebrated in conjunction with the RoboBusiness Leadership Summit, a conference of hundreds of robotics industry leaders that is in Pittsburgh this week.
The Robot Hall of Fame induction is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon and its Entertainment Technology Center, Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and RoboBusiness. The Robotics Institute, the world’s largest robotics research and education organization, is part of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. Information about the RHOF and previous winners is available at www.robothalloffame.org.