Calgary elementary school students send 22 'Hitchbots' on summer road trips
Each hitchhiking robot has a bucket list attached to its body — which is a plastic bucket
Remember hitchBOT? The adorable Canadian robot that was vandalized and left for scraps by the side of a road while traveling through the U.S.?
Well, we can only hope that the next generation of hitchhiking robots don't meet the same fate.
Seven have already hit the road and another 15 are due to leave Calgary this week as part of a class assignment out of Erin Woods Elementary School.
"Similar to the original hitchBOT it's more or less a social experiment," said Jim Quigley, one of the teachers helping a group of Grade 4 and Grade 5 students build their own "Hitchbots."
"To test the kindness of strangers and we're trying to figure out what Canadian identity means."
He said they're hoping to figure that out by sending their Hitchbots out on an "ultimate Canadian adventure."
Dropped off <a href="https://twitter.com/HitchbotWoods">@HitchbotWoods</a> with the fun, beautiful scientists of Hakai lab :) <a href="https://t.co/DMIGuyF0JN">pic.twitter.com/DMIGuyF0JN</a>—@erikakinach
So far, several have made it out west — to Vancouver and Vancouver Island and at the moment, a couple more are circulating around Calgary.
"So one family picked up one of our Hitchbots at the Calgary Zoo, they took it to the Alberta Children's Hospital to get a checkup and then they took it to the Keg for a nice Alberta steak," said Quigley.
- MORE NEWS | Calgary canine blood drive 'litres' of success
- MORE NEWS | New tube park at Canada Olympic Park to displace cross-country ski trails
Participants have been posting their interactions with the robots on Twitter.
"We check the updates every day," said Janis Weasel Bear, another teacher involved in the project.
She said throughout the process, the students are learning about social media and geography.
"They're very proud of their work and they're excited to see where the Hitchbots land."
Made it to Quadra Island, BC !! <a href="https://twitter.com/HitchbotWoods">@HitchbotWoods</a> <a href="https://t.co/lKJgnzyMVR">pic.twitter.com/lKJgnzyMVR</a>—@erikakinach
While these hitchhiking robots are not as complex as the original hitchBOT, each one does have a robotic component.
"We wanted to make them visible at night so that involved putting in LED lights, learning a bit about electricity and circuits. We brought in a robotics expert to teach them how to do this," said Weasel Bear.
"Some kids put in solar panels. They also have to learn about Canadian weather, in order to make the Hitchbots weatherproof."
Students also created bucket lists for their Hitchbots and attached them to the body of their robots, which are made of plastic buckets.
<a href="https://twitter.com/HitchbotWoods">@HitchbotWoods</a> has a quick pit stop before heading to Quadra Island, BC in the early hours of tomorrow! <a href="https://t.co/OVKR6qgiuZ">pic.twitter.com/OVKR6qgiuZ</a>—@erikakinach
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener