Hitchhiking robot reaches journey's end in Canada

Aug 21, 2014
Hitchbot, the chatty robot with an LED-lit smiley face sent hitchhiking across Canada this summer as part of a social experiment, Toronto, Canada on July 31, 2014

A chatty robot with an LED-lit smiley face sent hitchhiking across Canada this summer as part of a social experiment reached its final destination Thursday after several thousand kilometers on the road.

HitchBot, assembled from household odds and ends by university professors Frauke Zeller and David Smith, was to reunite with its creators at an art gallery in Victoria, British Columbia having crossed more than 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles).

The pair devised the trip hoping it would provide insights into societal views of robots.

"This project turns our fear of technology on its head and asks, 'Can robots trust humans?'" Zeller told AFP in late July when HitchBot's trip began.

With a head encased in a transparent cake saver, set atop a plastic beer pail wrapped in a solar panel, and swimming pool floats for limbs, the automaton was designed to be fully dependent on people.

"Our aim is to further discussion in society about our relationship with technology and robots," said Zeller.

HitchBot began its trip on July 27 in Canada's Atlantic port city of Halifax, after being picked up by an elderly couple in a camper van.

Images and messages posted on Twitter showed the robot thereafter with its rubber boots and yellow latex gloves being driven westward across forests, mountains and prairies, making stops to fish and camp, attend a wedding and a native pow wow—a traditional aboriginal celebration.

Its journey, courtesy of a host of strangers, has inspired art, clothing and a knock-off made of cardboard and string—affectionately dubbed HitchBox.

To celebrate the end of its odyssey, a party will be held at the Open Space gallery, which supports experimental art.

Researchers were to analyze comments posted on social media to see what they can surmise about the public's attitudes concerning -human interactions.

Explore further: Hitchhiking robot thumbs its way across Canada

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hitchhiking robot thumbs its way across Canada

Aug 02, 2014

A talking robot assembled from household odds and ends is hitchhiking thousands of kilometers across Canada this summer as part of a social experiment to see if those of its kind can trust humans.

Hitchhiking robot charms its way across Canada

Aug 15, 2014

He has dipped his boots in Lake Superior, crashed a wedding and attended an Aboriginal powwow. A talking, bucket-bodied robot has enthralled Canadians since it departed from Halifax last month on a hitchhiking ...

Winning idea: Robot museum tour of Tate after dark

Feb 08, 2014

(Phys.org) —A design trio called The Workers have won the IK Prize for their idea on how to apply digital innovation to enhance people's enjoyment of art. They have thought up a project to allow remotely ...

Recommended for you

Flying robots will go where humans can't

Sep 17, 2014

There are many situations where it's impossible, complicated or too time-consuming for humans to enter and carry out operations. Think of contaminated areas following a nuclear accident, or the need to erect ...

Will tomorrow's robots move like snakes?

Sep 16, 2014

Over the last few years, researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have developed biologically inspired robots designed to fly like falcons, perch like pigeons, and swim ...

User comments : 0