Since the Curiosity rover touched down inside Mars' Gale Crater earlier this month, the inquisitive robot has captured countless hearts and aroused the imaginations of many.
Now, with everyone going gaga over the 1-ton robot, people are being encouraged to take a stronger interest in the usually abstruse field of robotics.
For the first time ever, members of the public are being asked to select four robots for induction into the Robot Hall of Fame (RHOF).
Created in 2003 by Carnegie Mellon University, the Robot Hall of Fame "recognizes excellence in robotics technology," honoring both fictional robots that have inspired innovation and "the real robots that embody it."
“The technology and art of robotics are advancing at an increasingly rapid rate and so the Robot Hall of Fame also must evolve,” said Shirley Saldamarco, RHOF director and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, according to a press release. “As more students, workers and consumers become accustomed to robots, it seems like a natural step to give the public a voice in selecting inductees.”
By casting an online ballot, members of the public will choose their favorite robot in four different categories: Education & Consumer, Entertainment, Industrial & Service and Research.
With choices such as WALL-E (the adorable star of the 2008 Disney/Pixar blockbuster) and PackBot (the battle-tested robot that can carry out dangerous missions such as bomb disposal), the 2012 nominees are some of the most creative, cutting-edge and useful machines around.
After the winning bots are inducted to the Robot Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Oct. 23, they will take their places alongside NASA’s Mars Sojourner, ASTRO BOY and Star Wars’ R2-D2, among other notables, according to the website.
To read about all the nominees, click through this slideshow:
For more information, visit the Robot Hall of Fame's website here.