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Robotics Technology

Robotic Bins and Benches in Cambridge 138

Posted by Zonk
from the my-bench's-name-is-jeff dept.
OldBus writes "According to the BBC robotic bins and benches have been installed in Cambridge. According to the article, they 'move and chuckle' and 'sing when the sun comes out.'" From the article: "Mr Bogen hopes the cutting edge technology would help keep the bins and benches safe from theft. The Junction has a three year maintenance contract with Greyworld and plans to name all the bins and benches individually to make carrying out repairs easier."
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Robotic Bins and Benches in Cambridge

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  • by LandownEyes (838725) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:32AM (#12788027)
    Seems like more activity than most slashdotters I know!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:37AM (#12788035)
    EX TER mi NATE!

    DOC TOR!!
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Fallingcow (213461) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:37AM (#12788036) Homepage
    According to the article, they 'move and chuckle' and 'sing when the sun comes out.'

    Yeah, but do they sigh contentedly when used?
  • by AstrumPreliator (708436) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:49AM (#12788060)
    It's like R2-D2's younger brother, R2-D3. He wasn't as successful as his older brother. He didn't get to travel the world with Jedi knights, instead he became a trash bin when he fell in love with a bench. He might not have the glamor of galactic battles, but he keeps the streets clean in his town!
  • by adrianbaugh (696007) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:54AM (#12788064) Homepage Journal
    Bins with Genuine People Personalities... I wonder if there isn't now at least one terminally depressed bench wandering around Cambridge. Life? Don't talk to me about life!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:57AM (#12788072)
    ..someone 'borrows' one of the bins and hacks it so that it has Tourette syndrome [wikipedia.org]?

    It'd be hilarious to hear and see the bins going all over the place with random movements shouting out 'Fuck!', 'Shit!', 'Cunt!', 'Bitch!', 'Dickhead!', etc.

    Even if someone didn't take it to this extreme, I bet it won't be too long before someone does hack them to do something different from their original purpose.
  • by CloudDrakken (582681) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @05:59AM (#12788075) Journal
    Pretty soon all the chairs will get bored and then yelled at for not acting surprised when someone tries to sit on them.

    "Help, Help, I'm being repressed!"

    ...just because some stool that could sing handed you a sword doesn't make you king of the britons
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:09AM (#12788093)
    "Mr Bogen hopes the cutting edge technology would help keep the bins and benches safe from theft."

    Yeah, cause we all know theives steer away from cutting edge technology. New technology is like a new car. Once it drives off the lot it takes a big hit in resale value. Theives are wise and only steel old technology because its depreciation has stabilied.

    "They are what's called "generative" so that over time they develop more and more personality. You'll find that one bench may be particularly attracted to a particular bin. They will chuckle and giggle sometimes or make rude noises."

    I think it's great that we're encouraging public displays of affection between innatimate objects as long as it's not gay bin on bin or bench on bench action. Hopefully the maintainers can successfully get them to succcessfuly mate in this native environment so the project can spread and more people around the world can be delighted by their rude noises.

    "Artistic and executive director of The Junction, Paul Bogen, said: "They're great because they're fun and art should be fun and it should be something people enjoy and not just stodgy and theoretical.""

    I know I really hate the boring task of throwing away my trash while in public. I've been waiting for the day that someone would invent a moving trash can I'd have to chase around while it giggled and farted. Don't even get me started on taking a relaxing lunch break at a park, enjoying nature just wishing the bench would talk to me.

    "The project cost £110,000 and was funded by the Arts Council and the National Lottery. "

    The Arts Council and National Lottery have been overlooked for bigger civic projects for too long. This will teach the world not to overlook the genious lurkin within it's own governments. Hopefully they'll start taking a more prominent roles in other public works projects. Just imaging highway offramps in more beautiful shapes like tulips, famous faces, zebra stripes, or fat naked ladies. I'm personally tired of the old clover. Stairs that go up but wind up bringing you down and sideways. An elevator where you push 6 buttons and it randomly pics six floors (and a supplemental) to let you off at. It's not fun to press a buton and know that's where the elevator is going to stop and open it's doors to let you out. Where's the thrill? Where's the adventure? Where's the FUN?

  • Somebody needs to look for "Sirius Cybernetics" on these things. I just can't wait for the failed one that got Marvin's firmware ;-)

    I've never been over there - I've been in the US all of my life....
  • by leonbrooks (8043) <SentByMSBlast-No ... .brooks.fdns.net> on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:18AM (#12788110) Homepage
    Sorry, couldn't resist.
  • by Saeger (456549) <`farrellj' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:29AM (#12788133) Homepage
    So there's fewer desperate people in Europe stealing bikes, eh? Guess Austin needs more socialism first.
  • by Saeger (456549) <`farrellj' `at' `gmail.com'> on Saturday June 11, 2005 @06:35AM (#12788146) Homepage
    Bins that sing and chuckle are going to be safer from theft?

    Sure, when the bot's inertial and GPS sensors detect that it's being abused, it'll switch to shrieking car-alarm mode: "Bot-beater! Bot-napper! Help! *KLAXXON* I have your picture! I have 1000volts! Help!"

  • And here, I'll be popping down later with my screwdriver set, breakout box and laptop to see if I can give them a reprogramming they'll never forget...
  • by FrostedWheat (172733) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:01AM (#12788211)
    Yeah, but do they sigh contentedly when used?

    Yes. And it's so depressing.
  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:07AM (#12788227) Homepage Journal
    This was my thought too. The thing about the GPP devices in Hitchhiker's Guide isn't just that they reproduce the worst characteristics of people. You can't really interact with them in all the ways you would a human being. YOu can't go to their boss or their mother when they're not being cooperative. YOu can't bargain with them. The only thing that has any chance of working with them is threatening. It does raise an interesting possibility. What if you could interact with the bench or bin; not to the degree that it's personality affected its cooperativeness. For example:

    User: Bin, do yo have the time?

    Bin: It's quarter past nine. By the way the bins down 3rd street say there's a rain squall heading this way; you might want to duck inside until it passes.

    User: Is there a Starbucks around here?

    Bin: No, but there's an independent espresso shop at 150, just half a block north of here. They left a promotional message on me, would you like to here it?

    User: Uh, no thanks.

    (Later, in a different part of the city.)

    Joe: Bench, have you seen a girl named Mary?

    Bench: Somebody was sitting on me for about five minutes earlier this morning, but I don't know if that's who you're looking for. That was about 8 am.

    Joe: Well if she shows up, tell her that I waited for half an hour but I had to leave.

    (later)

    Mary: Was there somebody waiting for somebody here?

    (Silence)

    Bench: I'm sorry, were you talking to me?

    Mary: yes, was somebody waiting for me here?

    Bench: Well, somebody was here at about 8AM. About 10 there was a man who was here for five minutes. He left a message for somebody he was waiting for.

    Mary: What was the message?

    Bench: It might be personal; would you mind telling me your name, dearie?

    Mary: My name is "Mary Moe."

    Bench: Well, he said if Mary shows up, I should tell her he was waiting for her for half an hour.

    Mary: But you said he was only here for five minutes? Around 10 AM?

    Bench: Yes. He arrived here at 10 Am, four minutes and five seconds, and left at 10 AM, eight minutes and fifty three seconds.

    Mary: Oooh. How can he be such a jerk!

    Bench: I'm sorry dearie, I can't help you with that. You sound like you might be in trouble. If you need a real person to talk to, I can put you in touch with one. Are you in trouble?

    Mary: Uh, no thanks, I'm fine.

    Bench: Don't mention it.

    (Later on that day Mary calls Joe)

    Mary (on phone): Joe, you jerk! You stood me up!

    Joe: No I didn't! I waited for half an hour! I left a message with the bench, the one that sounds like somebody's grandmother!

    Mary: You idiot. The bench told me you were only there for only five minutes. And you were late. And you were supposed to meet me by the statue of Douglas Adams, not Lewis Carrol.

    Joe: Which statue of Adams?

    Mary: The Equestrian one you dope. The seats at the big monument are granite.

    Joe: Oh, no! I hate that bench. It's so crabby.

    Mary: Not as crabby as I am.

    Joe: OK, look, I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you I swear!

    Mary: Yeah right.

    Joe: No, really. Meet me this afternoon at the bench by the pond.

    Mary: Which bench?

    Joe: The one that sounds like Barry White.

    Mary: Oooh! I love that one.

  • Re:what (Score:5, Funny)

    by hey! (33014) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:20AM (#12788251) Homepage Journal
    True story. In the late 80s, I worked for a company that used Macs. The guy before me set up the applications on Macs in a folder called "bin" because, well, that's what you do.

    Later, I had a young go-getter working for me who decided this was too cryptic. Having learned about computers in the era of the PC, she had no idea where "bin" came from, so she relabelled all those folders to "Bin of Applications".
  • oh dear... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:35AM (#12788287)
    Cambridge is a student town you know...it doesnt matter if its bolted down and given whirling blades of death...

  • by badfish99 (826052) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:42AM (#12788303)
    They aren't real bins (they're an art installation). You can't put rubbish in them. There are going to be signs saying "please don't feed the bins".
  • by TummyX (84871) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @07:47AM (#12788320)
    Yes but when you try to steal the bench it screams and howls in terror.
  • Re:what (Score:3, Funny)

    by mwooller (888809) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @08:49AM (#12788503)
    When the mac was upgraded to OS X, did those old apps get relabelled again to 'Has bin applications'?
  • by jacksonj04 (800021) <nick@nickjackson.me> on Saturday June 11, 2005 @10:35AM (#12788829) Homepage
    Given students in Cambridge, it's more likely to find them with modified voice circuits and a kitchen plunger stuck to the top wandering around going "EXTERMINATE!" and "DESTROYYYY!"
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday June 11, 2005 @01:18PM (#12789499)
    Bender pumps the keg furiously, trying to get some beer, when he realizes....
    Bender: Oh, wait. You're a robot.
    Kegbot: Don't stop.
    Bender: Ewwww....

Memory fault -- brain fried

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