Boxie The Story Gathering Robot


A robot equipped with sensors and a high resolution video camera roamed around autonomously with the goal of producing a documentary.
Using several methods to encourage interaction, the robot was able to successfully pull stories from people and create an interesting documentary.
Developed as part of a masters thesis at the MIT Media Lab.

Featured in: FastCompanyNewScientistBostonInno Hack A Dayc|netCBC Radio Interview





Robot videojournalist uses cuteness to get vox pops

“Imagine a cardboard version of Pixar’s Wall-e character, but with added über-cute human voice, and you’ve got a fair picture of Boxie, Alexander Reben’s documentary-video-making robot.
Designed to wander the streets shooting video, the diminutive droid trundles up to people and asks them to tell it an interesting story.
Sounds crazy? Surprisingly, not entirely: a good few people did actually cooperate with Boxie – enough to make a short movie – though one malcontent dumped the robot in a trash can and a child tried to kidnap it.” -Paul Marks

How Do You Make A Robot That People Will Talk To? Make It As Cute As Wall-E

“Cuteness is one of the most powerful forces on earth. It discourages exhausted new parents from murdering their screaming infants, it makes bloggers into millionaires, and it may be more effective than fancy artificial intelligence when it comes to getting robots to interact well with humans.” -Suzanne LaBarre

Boxie the robot will kill you with cuteness

“We know Superman’s weakness is kryptonite, but what about the rest of us mortals? What can bring us to our knees and turn us into a pile of goo? Cuteness, that’s what.
Meet Boxie, the cutest cardboard robot to ever roam Earth. Boxie is the creation of a team researchers at MIT’s Media Lab, who set out on a project to gather stories from people with only the help of machines. Of course, part of the challenge there is to get humans to open up to a robot, but the solution turned out to be pretty simple: make the robot adorable.” -Bonnie Cha