Here’s something that put a smile on my face this morning that needs to be jackhammered off: Tweenbots. Kacie Kinzer wondered if people are ready to help a friendly, but dumb robot and build a small robot with a smile and a little flag saying where it needs to go. All the robot can do is move forwards.
Tweenbots are 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.
The results are shown in this wonderful video:
The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers. Every time the robot got caught under a park bench, ground futilely against a curb, or became trapped in a pothole, some passerby would always rescue it and send it toward its goal. Never once was a Tweenbot lost or damaged. Often, people would ignore the instructions to aim the Tweenbot in the “right” direction, if that direction meant sending the robot into a perilous situation. One man turned the robot back in the direction from which it had just come, saying out loud to the Tweenbot, “You can’t go that way, it’s toward the road.”
Now all we need to do is deal the same way with other human beings! The other thing it proves is that cute beats smart.
Other things that made me happy this morning:
- Sticking with the robot theme, here’s an awesome Wall-E case mod
- The BackTweets API is terribly useful to see who tweeted your links, it even knows all the shorturl redirects
- Disney shows that all those people who say templates are bad and will not allow you to be successful are wrong. Apparently Disney made one movie and then traced a lot
- Here’s an interesting design concept of a watch in braille
- The Guardian content API is apparently great to track the use of swearwords over time