How robots act, think and sense the world around them will be the focus of an upcoming exhibit billed as the largest and most comprehensive nationwide on robotics.
The Carnegie Science Center plans to open a robotics exhibition next spring called Roboworld that will encompass an array of mechanized devices, including a welder that's been modified to pick up basketballs and shoot them through a hoop.
The $3.4 million permanent display — similar to a traveling exhibition that's been on the road since 1996 — will emphasize three aspects of artificial robotic behavior: sensing, thinking and acting. And it will include members of the Carnegie Mellon University Robot Hall of Fame.
The exhibition, which also will pay homage to portrayals of robots in popular culture, will capitalize on the work of area universities and businesses that have developed an international reputation in robotics, said museum director Joanna Haas.
The museum hopes by mounting the exhibit to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, math and technology, among other fields related to robotics, she said.
Anthony Daniels, the British actor who played C-3PO in all six "Star Wars" movies, said the world needed more scientists.
"My father was a scientist — I was a disappointment," said Daniels, who read a statement on behalf of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl at a news conference last week declaring April 9, 2008, "Carnegie Science Center Robot Day." "We need hands-on, real scientists."
Also last week, Carnegie Mellon inducted four robots — real, playful and fictional — into its Robot Hall of Fame: Raibert Hopper, NavLab5, LEGO Mindstorms and the fictional Lt. Cmdr. Data of "Star Trek" fame.
Past inductees include R2-D2 and C-3PO from "Star Wars," Honda's ASIMO humanoid, NASA's Mars Sojourner and HAL 9000 from Arthur C. Clarke's classic movie "2001: A Space Odyssey."