PITTSBURGH, April 9, 2008 — Carnegie Science Center today announced plans to open roboworld, the nation's largest and most comprehensive permanent robotics exhibition, in spring 2009.
The $3.4 million exhibition will permanently occupy a 6,000 square-foot exhibit area on the second floor of Carnegie Science Center currently used for touring exhibitions and will feature more than 30 hands-on, interactive exhibit stations in three thematic areas focusing on robotic sensing, thinking and acting.
"roboworld will be both educational and entertaining," said Joanna Haas, director of Carnegie Science Center. "It will showcase the latest in robotics technology --- much of which has been developed in this region -- and help visitors understand the tremendous impact robotics has on everyday life for each and every one of us."
"For decades, Pittsburgh has been leading the charge in the development of robotics technology," said Donald Jones, roboworld advisory committee chair and Chairman, Draper Triangle Ventures. "Public and private entities in the region have played significant roles in the rapidly growing field of robotics, and this technology is recognized as one of the most important engines for economic growth and vitality in Pittsburgh. Carnegie Science Center's new roboworld exhibit will introduce the public to robotics in an innovative, hands-on way unlike anything currently available."
The three thematic areas within the exhibition will highlight technological achievements as well as current and developing technology. The sensing area will feature technologies demonstrating the innovative ways robots collect data about the world, including machines with vision, motion detection, and ultrasonic mapping abilities. In the thinking area, exhibits will explore how robots are programmed to process information and act accordingly, including the many facets of robot intelligence, from basic programming to advanced artificial intelligence systems that simulate human thought and emotions. Exhibits demonstrating how robots walk, roll, climb, fly, grasp and use tools, collect materials and build structures will be the focus of the acting section of the exhibition.
"roboworld is not just about the technology of robotics; it's also about the scientists who have played a role in robotics development," said Haas. "The Science Center is dedicated to helping students understand the vast myriad of science and technology careers that are available to them, and through this exhibition and associated programming, we hope students visiting the exhibition will see robotics, and especially robotics in Pittsburgh, as a potential career opportunity. There are numerous career opportunities related to robotics, from engineering and software development to industrial design, all of which play an important role in this constantly evolving technology."
In addition to the three major thematic areas, roboworld will feature two specialized areas allowing visitors to interact with robotics technology as it is being developed and to visit with some of the world's most famous robots. Within the roboworld exhibition gallery will be a dedicated Robot Workshop providing companies and roboticists the opportunity to test their latest innovations and for Science Center visitors the opportunity to experience the latest in robotics technology and interact with scientists working in the field. This space will also serve as an area for visitors to create and test their own robots.
Robots have long had a presence in science fiction and popular culture, and roboworld will pay homage to their influence through a section of the exhibition dedicated to the Robot Hall of Fame®. Created in 2003 by the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, the Robot Hall of Fame recognizes excellence in robotics technology worldwide and honors the fictional and real robots that have inspired and made breakthrough accomplishments in robotics. Each year a jury of scholars, researchers, writers, designers and entrepreneurs select the real and fictional robots that will be honored by the Robot Hall of Fame. Inductees have included Honda's ASIMO humanoid robot, "Star Wars" robots R2-D2 and C-3PO, NASA's Mars Sojourner, HAL 9000 from Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey," Gort from "The Day the Earth Stood Still," and the Unimate manufacturing arm. When roboworld opens in 2009, the Robot Hall of Fame will finally have a permanent home for these and other inductees. The Robot Hall of Fame will be updated as new inductees are selected.
Carnegie Science Center has been a leader in developing robotics-oriented exhibitions and educational programming for more than 20 years. In 1986, the Science Center created Real, Live Robots, a six-week exhibition of cutting-edge robotic technology attracting nearly 100,000 visitors, the first such exhibition ever presented for public audiences in the U.S. Since then, the Science Center has offered an extensive slate of robotics classes and camps that now serve nearly 1,000 students annually in grades 2-8. The Science Center developed a major touring exhibition entitled Robotics in 1996; this exhibit has now visited more than 20 cities and has been experienced by over 3.5 million people around the country.
The Science Center will also be enhancing existing robotics programs and developing new learning opportunities tied to roboworld, including classes and outreach programs.
In addition to partnering to provide a permanent home for the Robot Hall of Fame, Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center and Robotics Institute are exhibition partners for the development of roboworld, assisting in the planning and construction of several exhibit stations within the gallery. Representatives from high-tech companies 4moms, Aethon, Automatika, IBM and Integrated Industrial Technologies, Inc. have also joined robotic thought leaders and entrepreneurs as members of the Advisory Committee in the development of roboworld.
roboworld is made possible in part by $1 million leadership gifts from Mr. and Mrs. Robert P. Bozzone and from The Grable Foundation. More than $2.5 million has been raised toward the construction of roboworld, with approximately $1 million still needed to complete the exhibition.
Robotics is one of six areas of focus in Carnegie Science Center's long range plan to grow and enhance visitor experience and educational opportunities at the Science Center.
About Carnegie Science Center
Carnegie Science Center is dedicated to inspiring learning and curiosity by connecting science and technology with everyday life. By making science both relevant and fun, the Science Center's goal is to increase science literacy in the region and motivate young people to seek careers in science and technology. One of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, the Science Center is Pittsburgh's premier science exploration destination, reaching more than 700,000 people annually through its hands-on exhibits, camps, classes and off-site education programs.
About Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums dedicated to exploration through art and science: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. In 2007, the museums reached 1.3 million people through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.