Dr. James Law, a researcher at the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University, has had an absolutely fantastic idea: he's nominated the iCub robot to carry the Olympic Torch as part of the 2012 Olympic Games, which will be held in London (that's in England, folks) starting next summer.
Dr. Law is proposing that iCub be included in the torch-carrying relay in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing, one of the guys who arguably invented the computer and whose test for artificial intelligence robots are continually striving to pass. This is a great idea, but I think that iCub should be part of the torch relay on its own merits: it'll be a first for robots and great publicity for engineering education and all that. Or at least, it'll be great as long as iCub doesn't faceplant in a puddle and snuff the torch out.
The only problem with this idea is that the short-sighted and obviously outdated nomination rules specify that all nominees have to be at least 12 years of age, which would mean that iCub wouldn't technically qualify. On the upside, nowhere does it say that nominess have to be human, so maybe iCub has a shot at this after all.
[ Nomination ] and [ Aberwystwyth University ] via [ New Scientist ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.