You wouldn't like Marvin the security 'bot when it's angry

The master's degree students at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand have been tinkering with Marvin, the school lab's $20,000 security 'bot, for almost seven years now, and it's come quite a ways.

Marvin (named after the robot of the same name from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) stands for Mobile Autonomous Robotic Vehicle for Indoor Navigation, and it has the ability to carry on simple conversations replying with verbal and physical cues, using its shape and voice to display a variety of emotions including happiness and anger. It patrols the halls of the engineering school, powered by an old electric chair wheelchair motor. Sometimes Marvin gets stuck and, instead of waiting for assistance, will get noticeably irritated and force its way out of the jam. They probably don't have trophy cases at the university.

Talking with the robot is a frequent occurrence for the students, who have to ask Marvin's permission to get into the labs, at which point Marvin will also politely see if they require any assistance with whatever they're doing. If someone isn't authorized to enter Marvin's lab, the 'bot lets them know. Its eyes start to glow red, a flashlight on its face turns on, and it curtly tells the intruder that they aren't allowed in that part of the university. Oddly, if Marvin itself is scared of the situation, it may also wheel away, head tucked between its shoulders.

Marvin does have a few limitations, though, and it's aware of them. The 'bot sometimes quips, "I don't like steps. I wish the world was flat."

Stuff.co.nz, via Blogging the Singularity

CORRECTION: As SFDex pointed out, I meant wheelchair. Thanks for the catch!

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