Looking Back to Move Forward

Trojan Cockroach

Looking Back to Move Forward / A Re:collection of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon

The University Libraries is pleased to present “Looking Back to Move Forward / A Re:collection of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon”, the debut exhibition in the new first-floor gallery of Hunt Library. “Looking Back to Move Forward” provides a window into the ongoing work of The Robotics Project, an interdisciplinary approach to preserving the legacy of robotics through a partnership between the University Libraries and the School of Computer Science. Through more than 40 robots and archival artifacts, the exhibition invites viewers to revisit material moments in the history of robotics and to explore a variety of research areas that CMU is known for—field robotics, artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction, and more. With personal recollections from the people who made it all happen and a look inside the process of archiving robots, this exhibition engages the ongoing interplay between the past and the future in robotics research.

A companion digital exhibit, “The Robotics Project: Building the Robot Archive” went live Summer 2021.

Duration January 19, 2022 08:00 - March 20, 2022 18:00

Looking Back to Move Forward

The Terregator outdoor autonomous vehicle robot (c. 1984) on display at the gallery entrance. The protective dome covering the sonar ring sensor and the other cosmetic updates were added in the early 2000s.
Robotics exhibit
A CMU student inside the “Looking Back to Move Forward” exhibition reads about Snackbot and human-robot interaction.

AIBO soccer robot
This Artificial Intelligence Bot, or AIBO, developed by Sony, was used by robot soccer teams at Carnegie Mellon University under the direction of Manuela Veloso. The robot dog participated in Four-Legged League competitions at RoboCup, the annual international robot soccer competition.
Inflatable robot
Toy figures of the character Baymax from the Disney movie Big Hero 6 displayed in front of the soft robotic arm that inspired the character. The arm was developed at Carnegie Mellon University by Siddharth Sanan and Christopher G. Atkeson.

Trojan Cochroach
Three springs and two hydraulic cylinders represent the Trojan Cockroach, a walking machine developed at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s by Ivan Sutherland.
Looking Back to Move Forward
A glimpse inside the “Looking Back to Move Forward” exhibition in the first-floor gallery of Hunt Library, featuring displays of soccer robots, the Trojan Cockroach, snakebots, and human-robot interaction projects.

A view of two snakebots on display in “Looking Back to Move Forward.” The snakebot at the top of the display (c. 2014) features unique head and tail modules that allow for better movement and adaptability. The lower snakebot (c. 2007) illustrates the electrical and battery components of the early prototypes.
“Pearl,” the second iteration of the Nursebot project, and Snackbot on display in the gallery. These human-robot interaction projects were deployed in real-world situations. Pearl was tested in a Pittsburgh nursing home and Snackbot delivered food in Newell-Simon Hall on Carnegie Mellon University’s campus.

Click to experience the 360 virtual tour of this exhibit.
Click to experience a 360 virtual tour of this exhibit.

Trojan Cockroach
Photograph of Marc Donner operating the Trojan Cockroach during field testing (c. 1983). Courtesy of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives.​​​​
Photograph of Terregator in front of Porter Hall on Frew Street (c. 1984). Courtesy of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

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