File - This photo obtained July 31, 2014 shows creators Dr. Frauke Zeller of Ryerson University and Dr. David Harris Smith of McMaster University with hitchBOT. AFP PHOTO/ZOE BROWNSTONE
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A talking robot assembled from household odds and ends is hitchhiking thousands of kilometers across Canada this summer as part of a social experiment to see if those of its kind can trust humans.Zeller and fellow professor David Smith of McMaster University, along with a team of specialists, designed hitchBot to be fully dependent on people.The automaton's design couldn't be too heavy because it had to be manually lifted into a car.The robot also had to be small enough to fit into the backseat of a car but still have enough heft so it would not be blown over by a gust of wind while hitchhiking on the side of the road.The trip is being documented on social media (www.hitchBot.me), allowing people around the world to connect with the robot.Once its travels are over, researchers will analyze comments posted on Twitter and Facebook to see what they can surmise about the public's attitudes concerning robot-human interactions.
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