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Help me! I’m a Tweenbot…

Image by xbettyx via Flickr

I am sure that most people have found themselves in a situation where they need a bit of help from people around. Are you trying to find an address, but can’t figure out where it is? Do you need directions to the closest cashpoint? Or perhaps you simply need to know where you are? Well, asking people around you might be the best solution.

Now, you might be at the other end of these situations, and I am sure that you have provided someone else with the key information to ge to the closest petrol station. But, how would you react if the request did not come from a human being, but from a robot? Would you help it find its way? Well, if you happen to be in New York City, this question might actually be possible. Kacie Kinzer has tried to answer this question by launching the Tweenbots project.

So, what are Tweenbots? According to Kacie:

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 directions
Image by noneck via Flickr

Kacie shot a video of the first mission in Washington Park in NYC and to her surprise most people actually stopped to help the robot to reach its destination. It seems that people treat the smiley robot as a live being. In the video you can see how people stop and help the robot when it gets stuck, or change the direction in case it is going in the wrong way.

What would you do if you came across a wandering robot in need of a nudge to the right direction? Would you help it?