For the lazier among us, there is Snackbot, the vending machine that comes to you when you crave something special to eat! No dumb waiter, this special robot has a feisty charm all its own that can’t help but make itself known as it serves snacks to those on its special list.
Snackbot is the culmination of two years of hard work and the marvelous by-product of many brilliant minds; Paul Rybski and his students, and the combined brain power of 17 faculty members from Carnegie Melon University, to be exact.
Snackbot is comprised of a laser navigation system, sonar sensors and stereo camera-eyes all geared to perfecting its solitary function of metallic, unisexual steward to those in need of a snack.
The Carnegie Mellon team’s main interest was to develop a robot that would allow them to study the interaction between machines and hungry people. Communication through a rectangular LED “mouth” works something like this:
“Hello, I’m the Snackbot. I’ve come to deliver snacks to Ian. Is Ian here?”
Then some response must follow and we proceed to:
“Oh, hello, Ian. Here is your order. I believe it was a granola bar, right?”
Again, an answer will generate another response:
“All right, go ahead and take your snack. I’m sure it would be good, but I wouldn’t know. I prefer a snack of electricity.”
Who’s to say what works best when it comes to effective scientific research? Whatever active brains are working on they need food to fuel their energy and Snackbot is there offering coffee, tea but not he/she in terms of options.
How about a prune danish or sports drink?
No? Not now?
Well maybe later.
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