JOE BRANDT & WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writers firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-854-4890
Posted: Monday, August 3, 2015, 11:57 AM
HitchBOT’s co-creators Frauke Zeller and David Smith said Monday that they’ve been overwhelmed with support and offers to revive the robot since it was vandalized beyond repair on the streets of Philadelphia on Saturday and they are considering rebuilding it.
The robot was on a hitchhiking, social experiment adventure in the U.S. after trekking across Canada and parts of Europe last year. Strangers helped hitchBOT travel from place to place while checking items off its bucket list.
The robot was designed to traverse continents on the kindness of strangers and could toss out factoids and carry on limited conversation.
POLICE have little information about a four-faced robotic Canadian hitchhiker last seen intact near Old City’s Elfreth’s Alley before he was found beheaded, his torn-off arms at his side.
“I just think someone saw it, probably came out of a bar and was drunk and beat the crap out of it,” Philadelphia Police Detective Joe Murray told the Daily News yesterday. “Leaving it in Old City on a Saturday night is probably the worst idea ever. Anything could happen.”
Murray was speaking about hitchBOT, a “social experiment” from roboticists at Ryerson University, in Toronto, who didn’t quite receive the “brotherly love and sisterly affection” our town is known for.
He had an Android-tablet brain and stuck out his opposable thumb to encourage folks to pick him up, using a built-in camera to see and a microphone to hear, according to a Ryerson website set up for him.
“Oh, dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends,” hitchBOT, who apparently did not realize that he’d been decapitated, posted Saturday on Facebook after the violent incident. “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.”
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