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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 June, 2004, 00:57 GMT 01:57 UK
Top honour for robot heroes
Honda's Asimo
Asimo has been making friends all over the world
Five mechanical marvels are to be honoured in a hall of fame for their contribution to robotic history.

The tin-filled hall of fame at Carnegie Mellon University will be graced with Honda's Asimo bot, Shakey the Robot, Astroboy, C3PO and Robby the Robot.

They were hand-picked by a panel of robot-lovers, including sci-fi legend Arthur C Clarke.

The android heroes will be officially taking their place in the Robot Hall of Fame at a special ceremony in October.

Last year, the Mars explorer Sojourner, the assembly line Unimate, Hal 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey and R2-D2 from Star Wars were inducted.

"The jury discussed this year's candidates at length and has made some excellent choices," said James Morris, founder of the Robot Hall of Fame.

"I'm happy to see some older, historically important robots like Shakey and Robby joining the newer ones like Asimo and C3PO."

Circuit city

Minoru Asada: President of the International RoboCup Federation
Ruzena Bajcsy: Director of Citris at UCLA
Rodney Brooks: Director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Ellsworth Brown: President of Carnegie Museums and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Arthur C Clarke: Legendary science fiction author
Henrick Christensen: Founding chairman of the European Robotics Network
Ray Jarvis: Governing board member of the International Foundation for Robotics Research
Don Marinelli: Professor of Drama and Arts Management at Carnegie Mellon University
Raj Reddy: ACM Turing Award winner (1994)
Chuck Thorpe: Director of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute
Sherry Turkle: Founder and director of MIT's Initiative on Technology and Self
Will Wright: Interactive games designer and creator of SimCity

Not just any old chunk of metal gets the privilege, but bots from both science and science fiction are eligible for the honour.

Each hunk of circuitry had their own supporters on the jury panel too.

Asimo was chosen as a truly revolutionary example of how human-like robots can be. It has been around the world showing off its dancing, running and stair-climbing skills.

Shakey the Robot is a veteran compared to Asimo. He is a bot of the 60s, "born" in 1969.

Shakey was considered by juror Illah Nourbakhsh, who leads the Nasa/Ames Research Center robotics group, to be "an earth-shaking early robot".

"Shakey already sported a full planning system, wireless video system and visual interpretation of its scene, visual obstacle avoidance and the ability to manipulate the world via pushing," he said.

"In other words, it was way ahead of its time and set a standard for a great many years."

Bot's got soul

Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet
Robby was chosen for personality over looks
The other three clever robots, from the world of science fiction, were chosen for their memorable influence on global popular and sci-fi culture.

Star Wars chatterbox C3PO will be reunited with his old buddy R2-D2, who earned his place in 2003.

Another film icon, Forbidden Planet's Robby, was chosen in recognition of its personality, and enduring place in science fiction.

They are to be joined by Japan's cult cartoon figure, Astroboy (once known as Atom Boy). He is akin to a metallic version of Pinocchio because he is a robot with a soul.

Robots had to be nominated and the jury - made up of prominent names in science and technology - made its final choice during an international telephone and web conference.

The special induction ceremony will be held at the hall of fame on 11 October, barring any short-circuits.

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