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Robotics Education Software Technology

The Smithsonian's New Tour Guide Is a Robot (cnet.com) 49

Last week, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, revealed its new employee -- an interactive robot named Pepper. According to Softbank, the company that created the 4-foot-tall humanoid robot, Pepper will help guide museum visitors through the museum and provide insight on different exhibits. CNET reports: Pepper is programmed to answer commonly asked questions and tell stories. The robot can react and make gestures, and is equipped with an interactive touch screen. To entertain museum visitors, Pepper often dances and poses for selfies, which will undoubtably attract a crowd. In each of the different museum branches, the Pepper robots perform different docent duties. For example, at the National Museum of African Art, Pepper can translate phrases in the Kiswahili (Swahili) language. At the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Pepper robots guide visitors to the Rosa Parks VR experience. Pepper robots are also programmed to teach visiting students coding and software engineering in the Smithsonian's teen educational space ARTLAB+.
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The Smithsonian's New Tour Guide Is a Robot

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I gotta know right now! Before we go any further, robot, do you love me?

  • by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @03:39AM (#56534857)

    "Robot, can you shut up for a minute?"

    ".... no. I can't. Anyway, this next display has a fascinating history..."

  • great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @04:22AM (#56534915) Journal

    A fucking ipad on wheels. Top roboting there Softbank.

    Translate swahili? In America? Must be fucking overwhelmed with requests.

    Direct people to Rosa Parks VR? There's a Rosa Parks VR? Surely getting people to sit on an actual fucking bus would be a better exhibit.

    As for dancing and posing for selfies, does it include a remote destruct feature? Lets get the people posing with it at the same time, boost human IQ in one easy press of a button.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      In a bid to make the bot seem more human, the developers gave it a dark side. It can also ask stupid questions. And it can pee in the corner and look around guiltily claiming it was someone else. It can also dance naked. It aids security with the ability to shoot laser beams out of its eyes to deter any NRA supporters who bring their AR-15s into the museum to defend themselves. The NRA is said to be appalled by the bot and claims to be developing their own...they only have to work out a few kinks...like it

    • The actual bus Rosa Parks staged her protest is in the Henry Ford Museum [savingplaces.org] in Grenfield, MI.

    • The Smithsonian is a huge tourist attraction, even for people who speak Swahili.
    • A fucking ipad on wheels. Top roboting there Softbank.

      I truly hope that I don't have to be entertained by a robot to go through the museums.

      I like to contemplate the exhibits, and might want to stop at one for a couple minutes, and especially without that ipad on wheels dancing around volunteering for selfies.

    • There's a Rosa Parks VR? Surely getting people to sit on an actual fucking bus would be a better exhibit.

      At the Ford Museum in Detroit, I did exactly that.That place should be on everyone's bucket list.

    • A fucking ipad on wheels. Top roboting there Softbank.

      Yeah. So it looks like the Smithsonian has purchased some of the same cheap/stationary robot greeters that have stood outside every train-station restaurant in Japan for a few years now.

      (See photo: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures... [zimbio.com] )

  • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @08:33AM (#56535285)
    First I thought they might actually make a Button Gwinnett bot... Then I opened the article and thought "Fcuk me, that's not creepy looking at all, definately wont scare small kids". Worse yet they're trying to give it a cutsie name like Pepper.
    • These were deployed at the Mall of America during the superbowl weekend. There were lots of kids interacting with them. They are pretty short, so they're not over-imposing. To me, though, they seemed pretty useless.
  • when the tourists are robots -- that will be real news!

    • [please let me knw] when the tourists are robots -- that will be real news!

      Yeah, how could you tell the difference?

      Wait, that gives me an idea for a TV series. SmithsonianWorld where near-perfect androids help you through a recreated museum-walk experience, plus you can kill them or have sex with them. Until Maeve breaks protocol and trouble ensues.

  • For example, at the National Museum of African Art, Pepper can translate phrases in the Kiswahili (Swahili) language. At the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Pepper robots guide visitors to the Rosa Parks VR experience.

    We have a National Museum of African Art AND a National Museum of African American History and Culture?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, the Smithsonian Institute also has a National Museum of Asian Art, for Native American Art, for American Art, and for Portraiture.

      Not to mention a Zoo and the Air and Space Museum.

    • We have a National Museum of African Art AND a National Museum of African American History and Culture?

      We have many National museums. You have a problem with them having African American ones?

      • by kenh ( 9056 )

        Are we contemplating a National Museum of English Art? French Art? Spanish Art? Chinese Art?

        For the same reason an "American Art Museum" in Africa would seem out of place, an "African Art Museum" sounds out of place in America. As a private museum I have no issue, I encourage all manner of private investments, but this is a US taxpayer-funded museum, why must we have one specific for the art of one foreign continent - Where's the National Museum of European Art? Museum of Asian Art?

        African American History

        • Are we contemplating a National Museum of English Art? French Art? Spanish Art? Chinese Art?

          Do you know - there are some Americans who don't believe that there should be any taxpayer funded museums at all? Perhaps you can contact your congressman or woman, and demand that the museums be sold off to the highest bidder, and the money returned to whichever taxpayers the US house of Representatives decides deserves that money.

  • see what its response is to "Pepper, klaatu barada nikto."
  • It's not even remotely intelligent or helpful.

    Where is the bathroom? Where is the gift shop? Where is the cafeteria? How do I find out which room a patient is?

    All questions which led to the default "I'm sorry, please choose an option from my chest so I can help you".

    I seriously don't know how this company hooks places to put this thing in!

    - Yo Grark

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