1991 : The Robot Shop : CMU Robotics Institute on National Geographic Explorer

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Special thanks to PBS, Mark Knobil, Joe Seamans and Stan Brandorff and many others who produced this program in 1991.

It features Reid Simmons (and his 1 year old son), David Wettergreen, Red Whittaker, Mac Macdonald, Omead Amidi, and other Field Robotics Center alumni building the planetary walker prototype called Ambler. The team gets ready for an important demo for NASA.

The building shown here is still home to the Field Robotics Center, except that Newell Simon Hall went on to be built on top of it ten years later.

The program ends with some inspiring words from Red Whittaker:

"This is like first ascent of an unclimbed mountain.

Where when you embark, you don’t really know whether it’s a doable deed. You don’t really know if it is an achievable act.

It distinguishes the character of genuine research. Where there is no comfort, no warmth, no sense of how to get to the other side.

The pace of robotics research is fast and the half-life of the technology might be a year.

In a five-year, ten-year time frame, what looked impossible, became possible. And what becomes possible, becomes accepted and commonplace."
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