ITP Thesis Week - Tweenbots


Douglas Rushkoff is a guest blogger.

It's thesis week at ITP, where you can go through Friday to watch students present the projects they've been working on - some of them for many years. One of my favorites, first launched by Kacie Kinzer in one of my classes and then expanded, is called Tweenbots.

The concept is pretty simple, and evident in the movie clip above. In Kinzer's words: "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."

Of course, the whole thing becomes a really interesting study in human cooperation, machine-human relationships, as well as how a piece of technology's cuteness is a big determining factor in whether it gets what it wants.