‘Hoops,’ Carnegie Science Center’s basketball robot, is losing touch after 17 years

Replacement parts are hard to come by for a 17-year-old robot, so science center staff long have known that Hoops is one major breakdown away from forced retirement.

That would leave a void not only for a generation of visitors who have marveled at the lanky mechanical athlete, but also for staff who have grown protective of one of the science center’s signature exhibits.

In fact, Dennis Bateman, the center’s director for exhibit experience, said he sometimes averts his eyes in denial when he walks past Hoops as it misses a shot, quietly telling himself “Didn’t see that.” — ‘Hoops,’ Carnegie Science Center’s basketball robot, is losing touch after 17 years.