Categories
AI

Gitamini is a cute, compact, cargo-carrying robot that will follow you around like a dog

Piaggio Fast Forward, a subsidiary of storied Italian automotive firm Piaggio, has launched its second robot, a compact version of its cargo-carrying bot Gita named Gitamini.

The form and function of Gitamini remain the same as that of full-sized Gita (the name is Italian for a small trip or outing). The robot consists of two large wheels, a central trunk, and a machine vision system that it uses to identify and follow its owner. Gitamini weighs 28 pounds and can carry up to 20 pounds in its interior for 21 miles. That makes an interesting comparison to Gita, which can carry more — 40 pounds but only for 12 miles.

Gitamini uses an array of cameras and sensors, including radar (not available for the original Gita), to navigate and follow its user. To activate this follow mode, you simply stand in front of the Gitamini and tap a pairing button. The robot will then lock on to you using vision only (no GPS or Bluetooth are utilized) and will follow you at speeds of up to 6mph.

The original Gita (left) and new Gitamini (right).
Image: Piaggio Fast Forward

The robot’s trunk can be locked and its follow mode disabled, but there are no active theft mitigation features. When asked about this, Piaggio Fast Forward’s CEO Greg Lynn told The Verge that it was “unlikely someone could get away with walking away with it unnoticed” as it’s such a noticeable object. “A stolen Gita isn’t of much use to anyone as it uses a secure connection to a phone to be unlocked, updated, and used,” says Lynn. “We have yet to learn of a Gita being stolen or broken into while being used or when parked.”

The Gita has always been a bit of an odd product. It certainly looks fantastic, and videos suggest it works more or less as advertised (though it’s noisier than you might expect). But it’s not clear exactly who’s going to spend thousands of dollars on something that only carries a few bags and is stymied by steps and stairs. Gitamini doesn’t change any of these basic annoyances, though it is at least a little cheaper — it costs $1,850 (and will be available to buy from October 15th at mygita.com) while the launch sees the price of the original Gita drop to $2,950.

When we asked CEO Greg Lynn about the robot, he declined to share any sales figures with us but said there were Gita robots operating in “half the states in the US […] with a focus on the Southern belt where outdoor weather is more friendly year-round.”

“Most of the consumer Gitas are being used to replace car trips for neighborhood errands in a variety of communities, and they are used outdoors for round trips of a mile or more,” said Lynn. Though, he noted that the company had some business customers, too. There are currently Gitas in eight airports in the US (including JFK and LAX) and a number more in planned communities, like Water Street Tampa in Florida and Ontario Ranch in California.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Game

‘Time Flies’ turns the life of a housefly into a cute game about existential dread

I didn’t expect to laugh while playing Time Flies, but I did, out loud on the Summer Game Fest show floor. It’s a deceptively simple game with monochromatic, MS Paint-style visuals and a clear premise: You’re a fly and you have a short time to live a full life in a random house.

There are layers to the game’s main goal, as the fly has a bucket list filled with items like “learn an instrument”, “read a book”, “make a friend” and “get drunk.” Each of these tasks is completed in a delightfully surprising way — for instance, getting drunk means landing on the base of a martini glass and sipping from the small droplet of alcohol there. Afterward, the screen becomes distorted, warped lines making it harder to fly through the house. Making a friend involves joining a trail of ants as they walk single-file through cracks in the kitchen walls. The fly lands on the back of an ant and it can hang out, disappearing into one small hole and reappearing from the other in a continuous, friendly loop.

And then the fly dies. Every round ends with the fly’s death, whether that’s caused by the inevitable progression of time or the player’s direct actions, such as getting too close to a strip of fly paper, touching a light bulb or drowning in the full martini glass. A timer ticks down constantly in the upper-left corner, starting with 80-odd seconds at most, and when it hits zero, the fly drops to the ground like a speck of dust.

The timer itself presents a compelling thought experiment at the beginning of every life cycle. The length of each round is determined by choosing a location from a dropdown menu of all the countries in the world, and it’s based on the life expectancy of each region. Selecting “United States,” for example, gives players 77.4 seconds because people there are expected to live 77.4 years, according to the database used by the game. This mechanic, beginning every round with a self-inflicted geographic death sentence, grounds the game in reality. It adds weight to whatever silly, pixelated mechanics may follow, mirroring the quiet way that existential dread constantly grips us all.

Knowing you’ll die doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while you’re alive — as the fly, that is. The house is packed with personal items like books, art, instruments and furniture, and to a buzzy little fly, it feels nearly endless. It’s possible to land on certain environments and the screen will zoom in to allow players to interact with the objects there, showing additional detail. The fly can flip the power switch on a phonograph and collect coins inside a bulbous light fixture, each of these new areas appearing as the fly buzzes past or into them.

Time Flies

Michael Frei and Raphaël Munoz

The scene that made me laugh out loud involved a headless mannequin sticking out of the ceiling. Yes, you read that correctly, but this isn’t where I laughed yet. Flying into the dummy’s open neck revealed a network of intestines to escape — funny, but I still hadn’t laughed — with an exit precisely where you’d expect it to be. When the screen shifted from a dark intestinal tract to show the fly popping out of the dangling mannequin’s butt cheeks, I couldn’t help myself. I laughed and heard people watching behind me chuckle, too. Together, we all enjoyed the surprising ridiculousness of this fly’s life, and then it dropped dead.

I had a good time with that fly in particular. I played a few rounds of Time Flies and crossed out a few items on the bucket list, but there’s still so much more to explore in that solitary house. I just need some more time.

Time Flies

Michael Frei and Raphaël Munoz

Time Flies is scheduled to hit PlayStation, Switch and Steam in 2023, developed by Michael Frei and Raphaël Munoz.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Game

Fortnite chestburster emote replaces xenomorph with cute llama

If Epic’s Alien crossover announcement had you wondering how the cartoonish game will handle the typically gruesome ‘chestburster’ imagery, you’re not alone. Fortnite is known for its lack of blood and generally clean child-safe nature, so it’s no surprise the company made some changes to the chestburster — though you probably didn’t expect the alien to be replaced by a llama.

If you’re not familiar with the chestburster from the Alien franchise, here’s the short version: unsuspecting humans may end up serving as the host for a xenomorph sac, which eventually grows until the tiny, fearsome alien is ready to enter the world — which it does by dramatically, and quite gruesomely, bursting out of the victim’s chest.

That type of gruesome imagery is obviously not appropriate for the Fortnite fanbase, so players are getting a modified version of this sci-fi horror: a llama exploding out of Ripley’s chest, confetti poofing into the air in front of the surprised character.

The llama makes little xenomorph noises and can be pet like the adorable little pastel-colored llama it is. The emote is called ‘Burst Case Scenario,’ and can be acquired from the Fortnite Item Shop for 300 V-Bucks.

In addition, players can get the Ellen Ripley skin for 1,500 V-Bucks, the Xenomorph skin for 1,600 V-Bucks, and a ‘Space Gear’ bundle with a drone ship, power loader arm, and chestburster emote for 1,200 V-Bucks. Players who want both skins have the option of grabbing the Ripley & Xenomorph Bundle with each character for 2,200 V-Bucks.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link