Robot Museum

Chris Atkeson, CMU Robotics Institute and Human Computer Interaction Institute

Daniel Pillis, CMU

We are developing a virtual robotics museum and traveling exhibits, and exploring how to create a physical robotics museum.

Please Help!

We want to gauge public interest before deciding what forms our Robot Museums might take. Please send email to

How To Donate!

Please help us get going by sending us a donation.

Credit Card

"Soft Robotics" is the label used for these donations.


You can send a check payable to "CMU Robotics Institute" to:
Chris Atkeson/Robot Museum
CMU Robotics Institute
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, USA, 15213

See our Facebook Page

Horror Stories!

"Crowley's HERO robot was taken, canibalized and destroyed."

"The last Pluto existed until 9 years ago, when it was dumpstered during a purge."

"Navlab 1 was actively working as the power source for farm equipment that feeds animals from a grain silo. Some farm in Zelienople that a farmer had given XXX permission and the ability to fly and test his helicopters."

"I just told one of our guys to scrap one of the very first WAMs."

"Gregory visited Marvin Minsky and enquired about what happened to his maze-solving computer (SNARC). Minsky replied that it was lent to some Dartmouth students and it was disassembled. However, he had one 'neuron' left, and Gregory took a photo of it."

"Neptune was damaged in Newell Simon Hall flooding, and thrown out."

"Unfortunately the Navlab5 minivan was owned by Delco/Delphi. A couple years after No Hands Across America they asked us to return it and from what I hear, they had it crushed. :-(."

Virtual Tours

We have started by collecting still images of exhibits and artifacts.

We will experiment with interactive 3D models and scans of exhibits and artifacts. Our ultimate goal is to allow explorers to take apart or rebuild a robot, or even redesign a robot, to see how it works, or can be made to work better. Suppose you could take a ride in a self driving car, for example. Or have a conversation with a robot. Or arm wrestle with a robot.

Smithsonian: DARPA Grand Challenge Winner 2005 Stanley

Self driving car.

Smithsonian: Robots In Space

Robonaut I

Smithsonian: Perceptron

(Early computer vision system, early hardware neural network, currently in storage)

Other early computer vision systems:

I have a 5-camera stereo head, which is 1993 and which I claim the first full video rate full-frame (256x256x8bit) distance-image generation stereo machine. Unfortunately the electronics (a full rack of VME boards) is gone. [Kanade]

Cognitron of NHK is interesting in the sense that it is the earliest "deep" network machine (or CNN machine) - LeCun agrees. I am not sure if NHK still has it or is willing to give away even if it does. [Kanade]

MIT Museum Robot Exhibit

Minsky Arm

Robot Revolution

Traveling exhibit developed by the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.

Robots on Tour

Swiss robot exhibition.

Computer Museum (Boston, now closed)

Collection moved to The Computer History Museum

Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

Ground robotics started in 1923 and unmanned air work in 1924.

NASA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Videos from 1964 to the present.

CMU Inventory


[Khatib is working on it.]

Stanford Cart at CHM.

University of Pennsylvania

Koditschek lab

Georgia Institute of Technology

We are collecting a major library of video clips of robots. Many of the clips are from before YouTube. We are starting to put out clips during National Robotics Week and will publish a clip every week for the foreseeable future (we have enough clips for the next 3-4 years). [Henrik Christensen].


DVD of european robots

List of labs

A new association (but with increased links to industry)

IIT, DRL, ETHZ, Dario Floreano and Aude Billard at EPFL, Rolf Pfeifer at Uni Zurich, LAAS in Toulouse France, SSSA (Paolo Dario) in Pisa

Things to look for

Sutherland exhibit at Posner Center.

Newell and Simon exhibit in Doherty C317.


Atlas Obscura

Useful web pages

European Robot Museum

Computer History Museum A history of cybernetic animals and early robots.

Inventory of what is in Japanese Museums
In Japanese.;O=A

Timeline of Robotics 1 of 2 Timeline of Robotics 2 of 2

50 Years of Industrial Robots
In Spanish.

Fun with basic robot

The "Robot" of the Year Zero

Robotics time line

Perspectives on Robotics

Bloomberg: Why Google Wants to Sell Its Robots: Reality Is Hard

Robohub: Why Making Robots Is Still Hard