Boxie is an adorable toddler videographer

Meet Boxie. He’s a robot videographer with levels of interaction we haven’t seen outside an episode of Dora the Explorer. The project was conceived by [Alex] as his MIT thesis project to see if robots can use humans to make themselves more useful. All we know is Boxie is freaking adorable, as evidenced by this video.

The idea behind Boxie was inspired by Afghan Explorer to capture video in an attempt to tell a story. In the videos (after the break), Boxie wanders around the halls of MIT searching for people to help him (“can you carry me up the stairs?”) and tell stories (“what do you do here?”). It’s an experiment in autonomous documentary directorial skill that was edited down into a video that made sense.

[Alex] designed Boxie to be the cutest thing we’ve ever seen so he could elicit a response from the subjects of the documentary. We’re going to say the voice helped, but [Alex] also found the cardboard robot factor also played into the success. Boxie was originally planned to have a plastic skin, but [Alex]’s friends thought it looked really creepy. They suggested that [Alex] go back to the prototype cardboard body. All we know is there’s a robot cuter than a Keepon, finally.

28 thoughts on “Boxie is an adorable toddler videographer

  1. Could use one of these to spy on programs. ie unleash one of these in the Iranian nuclear program HQ and have it ask questions about their work in that cute little Tachicoma voice “So when do you believe we will have a working atomic bomb?”, “What are the weaknesses you see in your work?”, “Show me some place secret and cool!”

  2. I love the voice on it.

    One thing I’d suggest for improving it is to put a small screen on it showing the video, so people can frame their shots better. It looked like most people were struggling to tell if they were actually in the shot or not. Even a tiny 1×1 inch screen would be enough to help with that. Possibly one on the front and one on the back, so they can still see when they are carrying and showing the robot around. You’d get more faces, and less random ceiling shots.

  3. very nice. I would love to have the resources and knowledge to be able to build a fleet of these, though somewhat more rugged and with built in features such as: connectivity to a central server via wifi or 3g/4g to report gps positioning along with various states of distress (broken, low battery, unable to move, acceleration data exceeded maximum safe levels, etc) or upload the various data it has captured while making it’s rounds at say, A-Kon, Comic Con, QuakeCon or any fun and entertainment themed trade show.

    1. I saw this and was going to post the same thing. Fortunately I actually read the comments so I avoid posting duplicate information.

      I will link to the actual comic at since it deserves all the attention a good story should get.

      For those too lazy to read the comic (a terrible excuse): Don’t build boxbox. And be wary of gifts from gods, especially trickster gods. But mostly don’t build boxbot.

  4. SO I was going to ask first, but then did some searching round, and I can now state with certainty that the chassis used in this project is this:

    I only say because I wanted to find out, my daughter saw this and immediately asked for one. Turns out they are a little bit pricey, so my question is, anyone know where I might source a more cost effective tri-track chassis. Don’t need motors etc.

    I’ll do some digging around and share if I have luck


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