Robots Have a Hall of Fame


I don't remember anyone winding up disemboweled or trapped in Space Hell in the kids version. (Aaron Dinham/Creative Commons License)

I've always loved robots. As a child, I watched in terror as the deadly red robot Maximilian disemboweled Roddy McDowell with a spinning claw (and in a Disney movie, no less!). As an adult, I regularly enjoy the interactions between the cat and our red Roomba vacuum-bot. Naturally, we call the Roomba "Max."

As such, I'm thrilled to see that the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science has taken on the task of recognizing noteworthy real and fictional bots with its Robot Hall of Fame. The project has been going strong since 2003, celebrating both the fanciful and the practical.

It's nice to see the likes of ASIMO and the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner Rover recognized alongside HAL 9000 and R2-D2. In April of 2009, they rolled out the latest round of inductees, which included NASA Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity; the DaVinci Medical Robot System; Huey, Dewey and Louie from the utterly awesome 1971 film "Silent Running" and the T-800 Terminator.

Oh yeah, and they also gave a nod to the iRobot Roomba, though thus far not even the nice robots from 1979's "The Black Hole" have received the honor -- much less Maximilian. There's always next year.

What do you guys think? What are your favorite Robot Hall of Fame members and who's most deserving of the honor next year?

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About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.