"Your robot will serve you now — it might make deliveries, too" by Janelle Nanos Globe Staff June 27, 2017
Cafe Gita, a semi-autonomous, cargo-carrying robot that will deliver once it masters its domain [and] developed by the makers of the Vespa scooter, derives its name from an Italian phrase meaning a short trip. The thigh-high device looks like the love child of a Roomba and BB-8, the newest android in the “Star Wars” universe, and was created in Charlestown at the Piaggio Fast Forward innovation lab. The team designed Gita to serve humans as they go about their errands; it can follow its owner, toting home groceries from a shopping trip, or it can be dispatched alone or in groups as a delivery service, rolling down sidewalks to bring packages to your doorstep.
With a 40-pound cargo capacity, the robotic vehicle is being positioned as a low-carbon alternative to cars, autonomous or otherwise, and more realistic than delivery by drone.
“We don’t think that the delivery of pizzas by aerial drones is a strong proposition,” Piaggio’s chief executive, Harvard professor Jeffrey Schnapp, said.
Gita’s arrival kicks off ArtScienceConverged, a series of weeklong sensory “exhibits” at the Cafe ArtScience restaurant, which will culminate in the World Frontiers Forum this fall. Over the next few weeks, the restaurant will unveil menu items inspired by innovative thinkers who will attend the conference in Cambridge Oct. 1-3. Think a Temple Grandin-themed cocktail, a “food opera” in the spirit of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, or “The Last Supper” — an entire menu of foods that will be wiped out by climate change, served by former White House chef Sam Kass.
Cafe ArtScience has undergone its own changes over the past few months.
Todd Maul, a founding partner and world-class bartender who is as handy with a centrifuge as he is with a cocktail shaker, announced he was leaving earlier this month. That came on the heels of the news in May that executive chef Brandon Baltzley would be stepping down to work on other projects.
The restaurant has been closed for two weeks in preparation for the exhibits, David Edwards, a Harvard professor and serial entrepreneur who has attempted to digitize scent, said, and will no longer operate its adjacent gallery space, La Laboratoire. The intention was to bring more of the curated experience into the restaurant itself, he said, declining to discuss any new hires, aside from Gita.
If adding a robot to the team feels like a gimmick, that’s kind of the point. Edwards acknowledges that part of Gita’s appeal is its in-your-face ability to force people to reconsider the way they acquire their food, whether in a restaurant or on the street. Using Gita as a delivery bot will bring the restaurant’s innovations to the public, he said, and it’s the direction the food-delivery industry is headed, anyway. He envisions a day in the near future when Cambridge residents can sign up to receive regular meals from the restaurant. Perhaps Cafe Gita could even help feed the homeless, he said.
So all those fast food, minimum wage jobs will also be gone.
“Anyone can deliver food, in a catering sense, but we’re more than just about food,” Edwards said. “We’re interested in bringing this spirit of frontiers and the future and the experimentation that is in so many ways unsettling about contemporary life.
“The notion that Gita might play a role as a mediator of the experience of the cafe really was intriguing.”
The only problem is the wait:
"A huge installation is coming to City Hall Plaza for the HUBweek festival" by Sara Salinas and Mark Arsenault Globe Correspondent | Globe Staff June 27, 2017
New Yorker journalist Malcolm Gladwell, wellness author Deepak Chopra, and scientist George Church — who has been called a “maverick geneticist” and is trying to bring back the extinct wooly mammoth — highlight the roster of speakers for HUBweek, organizers announced Tuesday.
HUBweek was founded by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Globe Managing Director Linda Pizzuti Henry is chairwoman of the HUBweek board.
Oh, God, it's more $elf-$erving promotion.
Why not? It is written of and for the elite of Bo$ton.
In the past, HUBweek events were scheduled at venues around the city and region. This year, the first two days of events will take place across a number of city and regional venues; the program for the rest of the week will be concentrated at the exhibition space on City Hall Plaza, said Brendan Ryan, executive director of HUBweek.
One of this year’s big-name, marquee events likely will be Gladwell’s interview of surgeon Atul Gawande. They will discuss innovations that will change how medical care is delivered. Gladwell is the best-selling author of “The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” and “Outliers.” Gawande is a surgeon, author, and researcher who practices at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.
Fady Saad, cofounder and partnerships director of MassRobotics, said he has been involved in HUBweek planning, particularly in organizing “Demo Day,” in which start-up companies across more than a dozen industries will showcase their ideas.
“We will reach out to the robotics community in Boston and New England and attract the best robotics, automation and AI start-ups to come and show the great stuff they’re working on,” Saad said in a telephone interview. He said he anticipates HUBweek will have representatives from companies working on self-driving cars.
Saad also expects a showcase of specialists who create robotic arms and the software that makes them work. “Those are growing subset of robotics companies that we see in the Greater Boston area, and I’m sure many of those companies will be presenters.”
The HUBweek festival has drawn an estimated 20,000 registered attendees each year since its debut in 2015.
A team from Booz Allen Hamilton compiled and reviewed HUBweek attendee data from last year, Ryan said. They found that 80 percent of attendees were from metro Boston; the remaining 20 percent came from 40 states and 49 countries. The event drew a crowd heavily made up of young people, with 39 percent in their 20s. About 58 percent of attendees were women and 42 percent male, according to Ryan.
Many of the HUBweek events will be free.....
I no longer have any appetite.
You need a hand?