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PHNO SCIENCE & INFOTECH NEWS
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THE HITCHHIKING ROBOT


2015 ---hitchBOT from hitchBOT on Vimeo.

HI! I am hitchBOT — a robot from Port Credit, Ontario, Canada.

This summer I will be traveling across Canada, from coast-to-coast.

I am hoping to make new friends, have interesting conversations, and see new places along the way. As you may have guessed robots cannot get driver’s licences yet, so I’ll be hitchhiking my entire way.

I have been planning my trip with the help of my big family of researchers in Toronto. I will be making my way from the east coast to the west coast starting in July.

As I love meeting people and hearing stories, I invite you to follow my journey and share your hitchhiking stories with me as well.

If you see me by the side of the road, pick me up and help me make my way across the country! ..........

SADLY, HITCHBOT'S JOURNEY ENDED IN PHILADELPHIA...

ALSO: HitchBOT vandalized in Philadelphia, fans outraged worldwide


HitchBOT Destroyed : Robot vandalized in Philadelphia, fans outraged worldwide the-hitch-hiking-robot-aimed-to-complete-a-similar-trek-across-the-u-s-but-was-vandalized-beyond-repair-in-philadelphia
“Sometimes bad things happen to good robots”. Now, despite the social media outrage, its makers said that they will not be wasting their time on finding the culprit. But this project takes it the other way around and asks: “can robots trust human beings?” HitchBOT won’t be reaching its west coast destination as the hitchhiking robot was vandalized beyond fix somewhere in Philadelphia over the weekend. It visited Salem, Boston, Marblehead, Gloucester and New York City. HitchBOT, who had successfully managed to travel across Canada and parts of Europe, began its latest epic journey in Massachusetts on 17 July. After the vandalism, creators of the robot refused to provide photographs of its damages. The creators said that they do not know who destroyed it and they can neither track the exact location of the robot at the moments since its battery is dead. The hitch-hiking robot, which is the same size as a small child but unable to move on its own, relied on the kindness of people to get around. But late last week hitchBOT hitched its last ride. A Global Positioning System in the robot tracked its location, and a camera randomly snapped photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels. READ MORE...

ALSO: HitchBOT to start U.S. journey after travelling Canada, Europe


With its thumb raised skyward and a grin on its digital face, the robotic creation of two researchers in Canada is about to start a hitchhiking journey across the U.S.
The humanoid robot named hitchBOT has already caught rides across Canada and in Europe, relying on the kindness and curiosity of strangers. But on Friday it starts its first U.S. tour, setting out from Salem, Massachusetts, with dreams of San Francisco ahead. Along the way, it hopes to see some quintessential American sites, including Times Square, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. The kid-size robot is immobile on its own, so it gets from place to place by being schlepped around by strangers. Travelers can pass it off to others they meet, or leave it at a gas station or shop. They can just leave it seated on its kickstand with its thumb raised. Talking travel companion "It has a really low-tech look to it, something we dubbed the 'yard-sale esthetic,"' said David Harris Smith, the other creator and an assistant professor in communication studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. "The head is actually an acrylic cake-saver." Designed to be a talking travel companion, the robot can toss out factoids and carry limited conversation. It can be charming and cheeky, its makers said. READ MORE...

ALSO: HitchBOT's adventure in Germany


HitchBOT heads on adventure in Germany HitchBOT completes 6,000 km cross-Canada trip Ideally, the creators hope, drivers won't leave the bot along busy roads and will charge the battery when it runs low. Otherwise, there are no rules. "We want to see what people do with this kind of technology when we leave it up to them," said Frauke Zeller, one of the creators and an assistant professor in professional communication at Toronto's Ryerson University. "It's an art project in the wild — it invites people to participate."  READ MORE...

ALSO: HitchBOT creators mull rebuild after robot destroyed


Hamilton Spectator By Cara McKenna------A car drives by HitchBOT in Marblehead, Mass. The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment say someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair on Saturday ending its brief American tour. TORONTO — The friendly Canadian hitchhiking robot that met its untimely end on the hard streets of Philadelphia might be given another chance at life. HitchBOT's co-creators say they have been overwhelmed with support and offers to revive the child-sized robot since it was destroyed early Saturday, and they are considering rebuilding it. The robot was on a hitchhiking adventure in the U.S. after successful ventures in Canada and parts of Europe that saw strangers help HitchBOT travel from place to place while checking items off its bucket list. This time, HitchBOT was dismembered before it could complete its goals — which this time included taking a selfie with the Hollywood sign and seeing the house from Pixar's "Up." Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University and David Smith of McMaster University created HitchBOT and kept its adventures going as a social experiment with a number of their students. Zeller said many people have reached out with offers to rebuild HitchBOT, and her team will make a decision on whether or not they will bring the robot back to life in coming days. READ MORE...

ALSO: MEET hitchBOT's CREATORS
PHOTO AND CAPTION BELOW...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS:


SCREENGRAB

MANILA
, AUGUST 10, 2015  
(HITCHBOT.ME) On July 17, 2015, I am shining my wellies to start my hitchhiking adventure across the USA.

My journey starts at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Massachusetts.

From there, I hope to complete items from my hitchhiking bucket list with the help of friendly strangers.

This includes visiting a number of historic sites like Time Square in New York City; Millennium Park in Illinois; Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

My final destination is the Exploratorium in San Francisco, California. Only time will tell how long my journey will take me. I cannot wait to make new friends.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Storify.


CBC.CA

SADLY, HITCHBOT'S JOURNEY ENDED IN PHILADELPHIA...


Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade. Thank you to all my friends: http://goo.gl/rRTSW2

HitchBOT vandalized in Philadelphia, fans outraged worldwide

HitchBOT Destroyed : Robot vandalized in Philadelphia, fans outraged worldwide the-hitch-hiking-robot-aimed-to-complete-a-similar-trek-across-the-u-s-but-was-vandalized-beyond-repair-in-philadelphia

“Sometimes bad things happen to good robots”.

Now, despite the social media outrage, its makers said that they will not be wasting their time on finding the culprit. But this project takes it the other way around and asks: “can robots trust human beings?”

HitchBOT won’t be reaching its west coast destination as the hitchhiking robot was vandalized beyond fix somewhere in Philadelphia over the weekend. It visited Salem, Boston, Marblehead, Gloucester and New York City.

HitchBOT, who had successfully managed to travel across Canada and parts of Europe, began its latest epic journey in Massachusetts on 17 July. After the vandalism, creators of the robot refused to provide photographs of its damages. The creators said that they do not know who destroyed it and they can neither track the exact location of the robot at the moments since its battery is dead.

The hitch-hiking robot, which is the same size as a small child but unable to move on its own, relied on the kindness of people to get around.

But late last week hitchBOT hitched its last ride. A Global Positioning System in the robot tracked its location, and a camera randomly snapped photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels.

READ MORE...

The robot was designed to be a talking travel companion and could toss out factoids and hold limited conversation.

Reported by Philly.com, someone from Rhode Island drove to Philadelphia to retrieve Hitchbot and send him back to Canada, but that has not yet been confirmed.

Sadly, however, HitchBOT learned the ultimate lesson about human nature after barely two weeks in the US, when his dismembered body was discovered in Philadelphia.

BLOCK: As disappointed as the hitchBOT team is, Frauke Zeller says they don’t want this one nasty act to overshadow all of the joy that hitchBOT brought.

The quirky, hitchhiking robot hitchBOT made it across Canada and a few European countries – but it seems America has proven too rough for the adorable social project.

It’s unclear if the robot will attempt to travel across the U.S. again, but its creators have insisted that they won’t be letting one bad experience put a stopper on the entire experiment.


CBC.CA

HitchBOT to start U.S. journey after travelling Canada, Europe The Associated Press Posted: Jul 17, 2015 1:56 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 17, 2015 6:21 AM ET

HitchBOT's bucket list includes Times Square and the Grand Canyon

With its thumb raised skyward and a grin on its digital face, the robotic creation of two researchers in Canada is about to start a hitchhiking journey across the U.S.

The humanoid robot named hitchBOT has already caught rides across Canada and in Europe, relying on the kindness and curiosity of strangers. But on Friday it starts its first U.S. tour, setting out from Salem, Massachusetts, with dreams of San Francisco ahead.

Along the way, it hopes to see some quintessential American sites, including Times Square, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon.

The kid-size robot is immobile on its own, so it gets from place to place by being schlepped around by strangers. Travelers can pass it off to others they meet, or leave it at a gas station or shop. They can just leave it seated on its kickstand with its thumb raised.

Talking travel companion

"It has a really low-tech look to it, something we dubbed the 'yard-sale esthetic,"' said David Harris Smith, the other creator and an assistant professor in communication studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. "The head is actually an acrylic cake-saver."

Designed to be a talking travel companion, the robot can toss out factoids and carry limited conversation. It can be charming and cheeky, its makers said.

READ MORE...

So far, there are no signs of anything nefarious done to the robot, but there's also no proof. Its creators intentionally cast their gaze aside.

"We want to be very careful to avoid surveillance technologies with this; that's not what we're trying to do here," Smith said.

A GPS in the robot can track its location, and a camera randomly snaps photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels. But the team behind the robot seeks permission from people in the photos before posting them to social media, where hitchBOT has built a devoted fan base.

More than 30,000 people follow the robot on Twitter, and dozens have posted their own selfies with it. Researchers are culling data from social media to study how people interact with a robot that needs their help, unlike traditional robots designed to help them.

Among the chief questions researchers are asking, Zeller said, is whether robots can trust humans.

During past travels, the robot has attended a comic convention and a wedding, and it had its portrait painted in the Netherlands. It once spent a week with a heavy metal band.

The cross-country tour of Canada took 26 days, spanning more than 6,000 miles. As for the U.S. trip, researchers don't know how long it will take, or what will happen along the way.

"We want to create something that has a bit of narrative to it, a sense of adventure," Smith said. "We don't really know what's going to happen."


HitchBOT heads on adventure in Germany



HitchBOT heads on adventure in Germany HitchBOT completes 6,000 km cross-Canada trip Ideally, the creators hope, drivers won't leave the bot along busy roads and will charge the battery when it runs low. Otherwise, there are no rules.

"We want to see what people do with this kind of technology when we leave it up to them," said Frauke Zeller, one of the creators and an assistant professor in professional communication at Toronto's Ryerson University. "It's an art project in the wild — it invites people to participate."

READ MORE...

On the outside, hitchBOT looks like it's built for play rather than performance. It has a bucket for a body and bendy foam limbs capped by yellow gardening gloves and matching rubber boots. The whimsical attire is intentional, its makers said, to make it approachable and to deter potential thieves.

Researchers followed HitchBOT on its trip through to Germany to gather information on how the robot was treated by people there as opposed to Canadians. Researchers followed HitchBOT on its trip through to Germany to gather information on how the robot was treated by people there as opposed to Canadians. (Paul Darrow/Reuters)


THESPEC.COM --THE CANADIAN PRESS (HAMILTON, ONTARIO)

HitchBOT creators mull rebuild after robot destroyed
Stephan Savoia,The Associated Press


Hamilton Spectator By Cara McKenna------A car drives by HitchBOT in Marblehead, Mass. The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment say someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair on Saturday ending its brief American tour.

TORONTO — The friendly Canadian hitchhiking robot that met its untimely end on the hard streets of Philadelphia might be given another chance at life.

HitchBOT's co-creators say they have been overwhelmed with support and offers to revive the child-sized robot since it was destroyed early Saturday, and they are considering rebuilding it.

The robot was on a hitchhiking adventure in the U.S. after successful ventures in Canada and parts of Europe that saw strangers help HitchBOT travel from place to place while checking items off its bucket list.

This time, HitchBOT was dismembered before it could complete its goals — which this time included taking a selfie with the Hollywood sign and seeing the house from Pixar's "Up."

Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University and David Smith of McMaster University created HitchBOT and kept its adventures going as a social experiment with a number of their students.

Zeller said many people have reached out with offers to rebuild HitchBOT, and her team will make a decision on whether or not they will bring the robot back to life in coming days.

READ MORE...

"We were taken quite by surprise because it's been going so well so far," she said.

"We don't really know what to do, so we have to sit down with the whole team and really see where we are and what can be done."

She said she knows the news has been heartbreaking for many of HitchBOT's fans, children and adults alike.

Since word got out, thousands of supporters have taken to social media to express their sadness and outrage: "I am incensed. I hope the perpetrators are found and punished. Long live the good memories. Hope to see you reincarnated soon!" wrote one Twitter user.

"If I could drive, I would have personally helped you across the USA and kept you safe," added another.

Smith said the robot's destruction is the exception to "many, many" unsupervised encounters that HitchBOT has had with strangers.

During its short-lived U.S. trip, the adventurous HitchBOT attended a Red Sox game — even donning a jersey over its cylindrical body — and took a ride on a New York City subway.

Smith said HitchBOT even had some good times in Philly, attending an extended family picnic at a park and being taken in by a well-known YouTuber who set the robot up for its next ride.

But it was then that the innocent HitchBOT met its demise.

"We've always asked, in the context of this project: 'Can robots trust humans?'" Smith said.

"And, you know, we would say at this point, mostly."
The Canadian Press


THE CREATORS

HitchBOT at home with its research team in an undated photo taken in Port Credit, Ont. HitchBOT was brought to life to “explore topics in human-robot-interaction and to test technologies in artificial intelligence and speech recognition and processing,” the researchers said in a news release. (Ryerson University/Canadian Press)


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