It's recently come to our attention that New York State doesn't have an official robot. Sure, we have an official motto (Excelsior!), fruit (the apple), tree (sugar maple), flower (rose!?), animal (beaver), fish (trout), bird (bluebird), fossil (sea scorpion), gem (garnet), and even a state muffin (apple flavor). Now if we can have an official fossil, we should most definitely have an official robot, and an obvious contender for the title is WISOR, the Honeybee Robotics robot that ConEd is planning to use to weld steam pipes. If you don't know about WISOR, you should definitely check out this DVD, which explains how WISOR works (and includes tons of information about ConEd's steam system, which Gothamist has recently been obsessed with.) More WISOR facts:

The Welding and Inspection Steam Operations Robot (WISOR) was developed for Con Edison of New York as a semi-automated means of maintaining subterranean steam pipes. While tethered to the surface for power and fiber optic visuals, WISOR uses an inch-worming motion for mobility through straight pipes where it mills and welds flanges. It is equipped with five cameras for inspecting damage and repairs, a milling device, and a MIG class welder that can rotate a full 360 degrees.

Without WISOR, each leak repair or any preventative pipe maintenance would require Con Edison to dig at the site; WISOR was developed to avoid the expense and disturbance of such a dig. It will enter a steam pipe, inch-worm its way to a flange, mill in preparation for resealing, and then perform a structural weld to seal the flange.

The 800 lb. WISOR is a semi-autonomous system with a 200-foot umbilical cable that connects it to a control center in its truck, which allows engineers to see where WISOR is going and what it mills and welds. WISOR is currently undergoing testing and debugging with an anticipated delivery to Con Edison in late 2006.

WISOR is expected to go into use in late 2006, which means now is the perfect time to start our nomination campaign!