Home > Play > 2014 > 7 > 29
games
0
Parenting Education Special Needs Video   Online Games Way More Than A Box Activities


Meet the Canadian Hitchhiking Robot
TOPICS | Parenting | Education Posted Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (378 views)


As we know the robots are coming, or are already here. Meet hitchBot, an interesting social experiment that is hitchhiking across Canada. Check out her site here to follow hitchBot in action.

REPUBLISHED FROM THE TORONTO SUN

Everyone knows you're not supposed to pick up hitchhikers. But can those thumbing a ride trust drivers who stop to help out? That's one question two Ontario researchers are putting to the test with a social media-savvy robot that's on a 6,000-km hitchhiking trek across Canada.

Called hitchBot, the machine bummed its first ride Sunday as it set out on its marathon trip between Halifax and Victoria, B.C. A couple bound for a national park were the first to pick up the child-sized traveller. With a face and computer brain protected by a see-through cake saver, a solar panel-covered torso made from a beer pail and arms and legs from pool noodles, Hitchbot is a roadside standout.

Unlike most hitchikers, however, the robot is far from alone. It not only speaks, using voice-recognition technology, but is chronicling its journey on social media -- it already has thousands of followers on its @hitchbot account -- using an onboard GPS device.

The brainchild of researchers David Harris Smith of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University in Toronto, Hitchbot was created as a "collaborative art project."

"We send robots off to do dangerous things -- explore Mars, visit undersea locations or make minefields safe," Smith told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. "So the idea of sending a robot off to hitchhike, it stimulates the same questions people ask if they were sending their kids out to hitchhike."

The robot, with blue appendages and yellow rubber-gloved hands, is equipped with a hitchhiking thumb, sturdy boots, camera and the ability to speak with people. It also has a little lean-to chair.

"As you may have guessed robots can not get driver's licences yet, so I'll be hitchhiking my entire way," hitchBOT says on its site. "I have been planning my trip with the help of my big family of researchers in Toronto."

Entirely dependent on strangers to get to its destination across Canada, hitchBot is also testing a provocative question -- whether robots can trust humans.

"It's a little bit of fun, but actually there's some serious ideas behind it, too," Zeller told the Halifax newspaper. "As (robots) become more and more pervasive in our daily lives, we need to know more about our attitudes and our relationships (with them)."

You can follow the robot's journey on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




Contributed by
Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain Toys is a leading retailer and developer of specialty toys & games.

Website

Visit Fat Brain Toys On...

Related Products

14-in-1 Solar Robot

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

ReCon 6.0 Programmable Rover




Image courtesy of hitchBot.me
Content courtesy of Toronto Sun

The PLAY blog is a platform dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent and open conversation about parenting. However, the opinions expressed on this site are those of individual parents/writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fat Brain Toys. In addition, content provided on this site is for entertainment or informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or safety advice.

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
Home | Shopping Cart | Help | Privacy Policy | Return Authorizations | Toy Blog | Coming Soon | Christmas Toys
Best Toys by Age | Birthday Gifts | Top Kids Toys | Toys on Sale | New Toys | Popular Toy Searches

Copyright © 2003-2014 Fat Brain Toys LLC. All rights reserved. Fat Brain Toys® is a registered service mark of Fat Brain Toys, LLC
Fat Brain Toys Offices
1405 N 205th Street, Suite 120
Elkhorn, Nebraska 68022
Phone 1-800-590-5987
Omaha Toy Store
16909 Burke Street, Suite 131
Omaha, Nebraska 68118
Phone 402-504-6218
Overland Park/Kansas City Toy Store
5601 West 135th Street, Suite 2230
Overland Park, Kansas 66223
Phone 913-305-4894

  MacWeb02