Boxie: The Chatterbox Bot

New research from MIT involves a cardboard box-like robot

This cardboard box isn’t meant to be packed into a moving van! In fact, it’s not really a cardboard box at all but rather, a story collecting robot, of course. Meet Boxie, another one of the MIT Media Lab‘s creations.

MIT researchers released Boxie into different environments around the university where it would autonomously engage in interactions with people that were hanging around. People could either agree to participate in Boxie’s documentary about MIT by pressing a green button on one of its sides or they could a make sad-sounding Boxie go away by pressing a red button on its other side.

Making use of its interactive robotic camera, Boxie can be used as an autonomous method for capturing structured documentaries and, while story gathering was the bot’s most overt goal, researchers at the media lab were also viewing the project from another perspective. The MIT Media lab is known to carry out research that is often considered unorthodox. Usually it focuses in on the impact of emerging technologies on everyday life.

¨We hope that this type of interaction that we studied will lead to simpler systems that may be more symbiotic with people… using this simple emotional tie to create better systems and better interactions for people¨ Explains the MIT representative in the video above.

What makes people favour a bot like Boxie over one that displays cold mechanical mannerisms and where might robots with this kind of gentle of behaviour be most useful?

If you’re interested in finding out more about new kinds of social robots, check out the European initiative, Robot Companions for Citizens.

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