TWICKIE TWEENS TAKE ON NEW YORK
Tweenbots are human-dependent robots created by Kacie Kinzer
that navigate a city (in this case, New York) 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 “run into” to read this flag and point them in the right
direction to reach their goal.
Throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in
rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only
Copyright © 2009 Kacie Kinzer All Rights Reserved
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.”
Get the latest travel plans at www.tweenbots.com.
MARCO POLO BOT
Scientists have used a popular kid’s swimming pool game to guide their
development of a system for controlling moving robots that can
autonomously detect and capture other moving targets.
Engineers from Duke University and the University of New Mexico have used
the simple pursuit-evasion game "Marco Polo" to solve a complex problem —
namely, how to create a system that allows robots to not only "sense" a moving
target, but intercept it. The main challenge facing researchers is developing the
artificial intelligence to control the robots and their sensors without direct human
guidance. Get updates at www.pratt.duke.edu.
MEET KASPAR, THE FRIENDLY ROBOT
KASPAR is a child-sized humanoid robot being used to study human-robot interaction as
part of the European RobotCub Project, which aims to build an open-source robot
platform for cognitive development research. The Adaptive Systems Research Group is
investigating the use of gestures, expressions, synchronization, and imitation. In addition,
the robot may be used for developmental studies and interaction games.
This family of robots has been used in the past in the Aurora project which
investigated the possible use of robotic systems as therapeutic or educational tools to
encourage social interaction skills in children with Autism. They are currently being used
with children with Autism as part of the European IROMEC project which acknowledges
the important role of play in child development as a crucial vehicle for learning about the
physical and social environment, the self, and for developing social relationships. IROMEC
targets children who are prevented from playing, either due to cognitive, developmental,
or physical impairments which affect their playing skills, and is investigating how robotic
toys can empower children with disabilities to discover the range of play styles from
solitary to social and cooperative play.
To learn more, visit http://kaspar.feis.herts.ac.uk/.