This summer, hitchBOT is planning on hitchhiking across Canada without a chaperone. The robot designed by David Smith and Frauke Zeller is on a 3,700-mile quest to successfully catch free rides from Halifax to Victoria.
According to Popular Mechanics, the friendly hitchBOT comes outfitted with a rubber hitchhiking hand, speech recognition software, and even its own Wi-Fi network. Those who pick of the traveling gadget can challenge it to trivia, send the robot tweets, and even recharge his batteries.
Powered by a simple tablet and Arduino, hitchBOT has a bucket for a torso, blue swimming-pool noodles for arms and legs and a smiling LED panel for a face, protected by a cake saver. It wears yellow gloves on its hands and rubber boots on its feet. Together, all the parts cost about $1,000; however, the experience of picking up this friendly robot… priceless.
In an interview with Canadian outlet, GlobalNews, the robot’s “family” says that hitchBot’s welcoming exterior was created from a bucket and some pool noodles. But don’t let his low-tech shell fool you, hitchBOT has some serious tech inside. He has Wikipedia’s API built-in to his interface to allow for the processing of world knowledge, as well as boasts 3G and wireless capabilities for his social media needs.
HitchBot has already become quite the social media phenomenon in Canada gaining nearly 19,000 Twitter followers and over 6,500 on Instragram. This social presence is exactly what the creators were aiming for as David Smith notes, “This is an emergent piece of cultural theatre and artwork that’s meant to reframe our thinking about how we adopt and integrate technologies into our social and culture life.”
To follow along with hitchBOT’s journey, you can check its up-to-date location on the project’s official page.