Tweenbots are a project by Kacie Kinzer to use crowdsourcing to help little robots navigate Manhattan. The robots are small little box shaped things about 6 inches high. The Tweenbots each have a cardboard outside with a smiley face drawn on them. Each robot has a flag attached that explains where the robot is trying to go and asks people to direct it in the right direction. The bots can only travel in straight lines and so they rely on people pointing them in the right directions. Kinzer drops the bot off in one area and then sees how long it takes the bot to get where it is supposed to go.
In the first trial run, it took the robot 42 minutes to get from one corner of Washington Square Park to the opposite corner. Kinzer concealed a video camera in her purse and tailed the bot from far away enough that people would not connect her to the robot.
Kinzer intially expected the bots to be highly disposable given normal attitudes about assisting others as well as worries about terrorism and other issues. However, so far not a single bot has been lost. This speaks surprisingly well of people. Also, these are just cool.
Kinzer's website has pictures and video. Go check it out.
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