Feet of engineering

February 16, 1996

Creators of artificial life, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, fed up with showing visitors round, have built a robot to do it for them. On the grounds that employees will just walk past the robot, the scientists have designed it to search the corridors for vertical objects that are standing still, stop and say: "Hallo, my name is Polly, would you like a tour?"

To avoid giving a tour to a coat stand, Polly adds: "If so, wave your foot around". If she detects a foot wave she gives the tour, pausing half way through to say: "By the way, I don't understand anything I'm saying."

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