And the winner is – Shakey the Robot! It’s not the Oscars but it is the robot world’s closest equivalent – the Robot Hall of Fame, an annual award to honor landmark achievements in robotics technology and the increasing contributions of robots to human endeavors.
Established by the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University in 2003, the Robot Hall of Fame honours two categories, robots from Science - which have served a useful function and demonstrated real skills in accomplishing the purpose for which they were created - and robots from Science Fiction. Shakey enters into the Hall of Fame this year in the Robots from Science category.
Shakey, developed in the late 1960s by SRI International, was the world's first autonomous mobile robot capable of sensing its environment and then navigating its own course. Shakey could locate items, navigate around them, and reason about its actions. Named for its erratic and jerky style of movement, Shakey stands six feet tall and is equipped with a TV camera, a triangulating range finder, bumpers, and a wireless video system. "SRI's Shakey was a true pioneer, showing that truly autonomous robotic behavior was feasible long before anyone else," said James Morris, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University professor of Computer Science and dean of the West Coast Campus. "Shakey was the project that put the SRI Artificial Intelligence Center on the map," added Ray Perrault, Ph.D., AI Center director. "It really was fundamental, not only to robotics but to AI in general."
Four other robots join Shakey as Robot Hall of Fame 2004 inductees: ASIMO, developed by Honda Motor Co. Ltd., the world's most advanced humanoid robot; Astroboy, the Japanese animation of a robot with a soul; C3PO, a character from the "Star Wars" series; and Robby the Robot from MGM's "Forbidden Planet." All five robots will be honored in a ceremony on October 11 at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Penn. They join a prestigious and select group of past inductees that include such artificial luminaries as the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover, Unimate, R2-D2, and HAL 9000.
Unlike glamourous Hollywood awards nights, however, the mission of the Robot Hall of Fame is to credit the work of the early pioneers in robotics and heighten public awareness of robotics in general. This year's robots were selected by a jury with backgrounds in technology, science fiction and entertainment including Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, Inc.; Sir Arthur C. Clarke, writer and futurist; and Ruzena Bajcsy, a roboticist at the University of California, Berkeley.
To vote your favourite robot into the Robot Hall of Fame in 2005 check out http://www.robothalloffame.org.
To view the historical Shakey documentary, visit http://www.ai.sri.com/movies/Shakey.ram.