Shy Bot Has Been Found. Just What Were They Thinking?

Automologist MAC brings us ‘good news’ on the rescue of a MMIA – Machine Missing In Action. 

Back in February of 2017, a six-wheeled rover called Shy Bot was released into the desert, in the southwestern USA. The rover was specifically designed to be anti-social, spurning the advances of humans and to remain reclusive, staying as far away from humans as possible. The developer, an Italian artist with the unlikely alias of Norma Jeane, was so good with the programming that Shy Bot would even try to avoid drones that were trying to film it.

Image source: Desert X via

Well, shortly after the ‘launch’, the GPS system stopped working and the reclusive rover disappeared into the desert. Now, many of you out there will be saying what could possibly go wrong when you release a reclusive robot into a vast desert and expect to find it. Norma Jeane believed that someone had “botnapped” his creation, though suspected skulduggery was at work. Yup, this is getting a little far-fetched, now isn’t?

Norma said that his instincts told him that someone with electronics experience probably picked her (it’s a girl?) and dismantled the batteries that allowed data transmission. Now, as far as I am aware, most electronic geeks are more at home in their mums garage or basement or even in some air-conditioned incubator in Silicon Valley and are rarely found aimlessly wandering around a desert looking for timorous rovers to “botnap”.

Well, the good news is that Shy Bot has been found and reunited with its creator after a gentleman named Kyle Gomez, who was out in his Jeep off-roading, stumbled upon it. There is no information from Kyle to let us know if the Bot was moving at the time or cowering under a local cactus, but after he scanned the QR code, he was able to claim the US$1000 reward offered by the event organiser, Desert X.

Norma Jeane was not particularly shocked by the disappearance of Shy Bot as it was programmed to be elusive and the goal was not to get it back, but to give it all possible chances to get lost. I am not sure that I live on the same planet as Norma Jeane, whoever he may really be.

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