By Andy Choi
The Smithsonian Institution is acquiring nine historically significant robots from the Sandia Labs for its permanent collection at the National Museum of American History.
The Smithsonian selected Sandia robots for inclusion after they researched the history of robotics and they found worldwide references, all pointing back to Sandia robotics as early pioneers as per Mr Philip Heerman.
Philip Heermann, Senior Manager of Sandia’s Intelligent Systems, Robotics and Cybernetics, and participant in the signing ceremony at the museum said that for the Smithsonian to request Sandia technology for their collections is an external recognition of the significance of Sandia National Laboratories’ contributions to the nation.
A Smithsonian curator contacted Sandian and former robotics engineer Ray Byrne earlier this year about obtaining some MARV robots, or Miniature Autonomous Robotic Vehicles. Sandian have donated Dixie, the first battlefield scout robot, SIR, one of the first truly autonomous interior robots, the hopping robots, the NETBOTS, MARV and the descendants of MARV, the super-miniature robots.
Barry Spletzer a retired Sandia robotic senior scientist was instrumental in creating MARV and the leaping Hopper robot. He spoke on the occasion saying that nothing like MARV had ever been built before. He never expected recognition and certainly never thought they would end up in the Smithsonian.