We can rebuild him: Philadelphia hackers offer brotherly love to fallen robot

By Cyrus Farivar

It’s a tragedy that had everyone from NPR to the Washington Post dissecting smartphone photos of a dismembered robot. HitchBOT, a Canadian research team’s initiative “to see whether robots could trust humans,” fell well short of its goal to travel from Massachusetts to San Francisco over the weekend when Philadelphia vandals attacked the bot. Armed only with conversation software, the machine lasted just two weeks relying on the kindness of strangers to forward its journey. The US proved too much despite HitchBOT successfully traversing Canada and parts of Europe in 2014.

However, there may be a happy ending yet. Not willing to let robot violence scar its city, hackers and makers in Philadelphia are reaching out to the HitchBOT team to offer new life to the fallen Canadian after hearing about the robot violence.

“We’ll say that at this moment, if we get the OK from the creators to repair or replace the needed parts for HitchBOT, we’ll be happy to do so,” wrote Georgia Guthrie, executive director for a local makerspace called The Hacktory. “If not, we understand… and we may just build ourselves a HitchBot2 to send along on its journey. We feel it’s the least …read more

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