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Sunday Discussion: A Robot Hitchhiked Across Canada

Geek Alabama Discussion

Did you know that a robot just hitchhiked across the country of Canada?  This Summer, HitchBOT hitchhiked from Nova Scotia to British Canada.  HitchBOT was conceived in Port Credit, Ontario by Dr. David Smith and Dr. Frauke Zelle.  HitchBOT left Halifax in late July, and traveled more than 6,000 kilometers until it arrived in Victoria.  GPS technology tracked its progress on the robot’s website and social media accounts, which has thousands of followers.  Over the trip, HitchBOT got rides by 18 different people.  And HitchBOT did like every other hitchhiker does when they want a ride, they stood on the side of the road, and waited for a ride.

If you were lucky enough to have HitchBOT in your car, the robot is programmed with mobile technology and outfitted with a GPS system and speech recognition software. It can carry out conversations in person as well as on social media.  Yes the robot has speech recognition software!  And the robot is designed on the outside to look pretty so people would want to stop and pick him up on the side of the road!  The only requirement is to plug in the robot to a cigarette lighter so it can recharge.

HitchBOT has a bucket for a torso, blue swimming-pool noodles for arms and legs and a LED panel for a face, protected by a cake saver.  It wears yellow gloves on its hands, and rubber boots on its feet.  Inside is a simple tablet PC and some components from Arduino. All the parts cost about $1,000, not bad for a robot who hitchhiked across Canada.  Yes, I think you will soon see robots who can walk and talk like HitchBot can.  Many people who love technology and who are geeks/nerds found this story has very fun to watch and to follow!

So, if you want to learn more about HitchBOT and see pictures from his hitchhiking adventure, go to: http://www.hitchbot.me/

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