Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meet the Tweebots

I’m not prone to writing about cute things, but when I accidentally stumbled up on www.tweenbots.com I decided to break my rule this once. Besides, it’s also about robots and humanity; topics that are both close to my heart.

What are Tweenbots? They are part of the Kacie Kinzer's thesis at ITP in New York which aims to answer the following question:
“. . .could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself?”
To answer that question, she built robots! These robots were named “tweenbots.” Kinzer defines “tweenbots” as:
". . .human-dependent robots that navigate the city with the help of pedestrians they encounter. Rolling at a constant speed, in a straight line, Tweenbots have a destination displayed on a flag, and rely on people they meet to read this flag and to aim them in the right direction to reach their goal."
Personally, I think it’s a great project. It demonstrates the propensity of good people to be helpful, and shows how can empathize with someone (or some thing) that is lost or trying to find its way back home. Real decent people will always want to help out someone who is in need. It also doesn’t hurt to have that cheerful happy face.

Find out more about the Tweenbots at http://www.tweenbots.com/

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