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The World’s Largest Robot Exhibit – Kent French

The World’s Largest Robot Exhibit

by: Kent French

It’s been almost 80 years since Isaac Asimov wrote his Three Laws of Robotics. And while we’re seemingly still in control of these machines, I wanted to see the progress of their evolution so I can predict when the AI will take over.

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Carnegie Science Center is home to roboworld®, the largest permanent robot exhibit in the world. With over 30 interactive exhibits, the museum is the Iron Man of robotic exhibits.

The robot exhibits featured at roboworld® fall into three themes:

  • Sensing
  • Thinking
  • Acting

At roboworld®, you can learn all about how robots work and become the master and commander of your very own robot. At least, that’s what they want you to think.

"If you’re looking to nerd out on some history of Pittsburgh and learn a little bit about how technology works, drop on by and meet your new overlords."

Sensing 

Do you want to embrace your inner sailor and recreate The Hunt For Red October? There’s a radar machine for that. This machine uses radio waves to detect range, movement, and location. These will help the robots find where we’re hiding.

Thinking

I don’t want to brag, but I am a pretty good air hockey player. At least, I thought I was. There’s nothing more humbling than playing air hockey with a robot and getting your ass handed to you. Some could see this as a simple game, but this robot was clearly watching and learning, waiting for the sign from his leader to pounce.

Acting

How are your hoop skills? If they’re subpar, there’s good news. They’ve got a robot for that. After a few tries, the robot Hoops 2 and I were making baskets with ease. It definitely improved my mood after going 0-10 at air hockey. I think we made friends. Hopefully, he tells the others.

A Part of History

See the biggest, oldest, and most detailed model train set I’ve ever seen. The Miniature Railroad & Village® is a piece of Pennsylvania history dating back to 1920. This is a miniature Western Pennsylvania in incredible detail with over a hundred moving parts.

This village is complete with an amusement park, a steel mill (of course, it is Pittsburgh), and a replica of Forbes Field with a depiction of the park’s first game, between the Pirates and the Chicago Cubs.

With new pieces being built in all the time, this miniature definitely wows, even at a hundred years old. This was definitely the pièce de résistance of my visit.

Robot Hall of Fame

The Robot Hall of Fame. A collection of the world’s most influential robot icons. Starting with Maria from the film Metropolis the Hall of Fame includes Hal 9000 (he doesn’t look that terrifying in real life, Kubrick) and ends with two of the most famous robots in the world, C3PO and R2D2.

This Hall of Fame isn’t very extensive, but the life-sized replicas of seven of the coolest robots were fun to see. These robots paved the way for our fascination and with robots.

Carnegie Science Center’s roboworld® is huge. And while their Hall of Fame is smaller than expected, there’s still a lot to learn and see. I think I proved my worth to the AI during my time there. When their plan springs into action, I think I’ll be safe. I hope I’ll be safe.

If you’re looking to nerd out on some history of Pittsburgh and learn a little bit about how technology works, drop on by and meet your new overlords.

Until next time, friends!

KF