Skip to main content

hitchBOT meets his untimely end in the City of (Not) So Brotherly Love

hitchbot team overwhelmed by offers of support bot could be rebuilt
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Philadelphia has officially lost its right to its kind-hearted nickname. After a mere two weeks on the road, the hitchhiking robot who made headlines after successfully trekking across Canada has met his sad demise in the largest city in Pennsylvania. Apparently, the City of Brotherly Love is only loving to those of the human race — but robots not so much. hitchBot’s ambitious quest of making it across the country was abruptly cut short after the poor robot was beheaded and dismembered. As it turns out, Canadians really are friendlier than Americans — at least when it comes to cute, child-sized machines just trying to get a ride to the next town.

Canada's hitchhiking robot lasts just two weeks in US before getting decapitated. http://t.co/802FBRUMho #smh pic.twitter.com/0bJexW3igk

— Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) August 2, 2015

In an endearing post on the hitchBot website, the developers of the humanoid muse, “Oh dear, my body was damaged, but I live on back home and with all my friends. I guess sometimes bad things happen to good robots! My trip must come to an end for now, but my love for humans will never fade. Thank you to all my friends.”

Though the little bot did manage to make it across Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City, the vandals of Pennsylvania prevented him from going any farther. The great minds behind the Canadian robot insisted that they were not interested in pressing charges against those responsible for the damage, and instead want to “focus on the question ‘what can be learned from this?’ and explore future adventures for robots and humans.”

Considering that hitchBot successfully made it across Canada in just 26 days, and also safely traversed portions of Europe, it’s a real shame that it’s time in the United States was so interrupted. Despite having “San Francisco of Bust” written across its forehead, the little machine didn’t quite realize its dreams, and its battery has yet to be located by the development team.

hitchBot, which took a photo every 20 minutes, relied entirely on the help of the curious and the kindness of strangers to move it from place to place, as it was incapable of moving independently. And for two years, this worked — all until that fateful evening in Philadelphia.

Still, hitchBot creators say, “We wish to remember the good times, and we encourage hitchBOT’s friends and fans to do the same.” So keep dreaming big, little robots. And one day you’ll go from sea to shining sea.

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more