Most of us are well aware of the fact that we spend too much time on various social media apps and websites. But, we continue to visit them, over and over again, throughout the day out of a sense of obligation. We don’t want to miss something interesting, or let our friends down by failing to like a post or reply to a comment. That’s why David Neevel built Telephone Operator, which is a robot that can handle all of your social media for you so that you can actually live your life.
The robot itself has three DOF (Degrees of Freedom): vertical movement, horizontal movement, and finger tapping. A smart phone can be mounted onto the robot, and it is capable of swiping, tapping, typing, and so on. Neevel has programmed it for a number of functions, such as liking every tweet as it scrolls through Twitter, taking and posting selfies on Instagram, posting status updates to Facebook, replying to text messages, and even browsing through boats listed for sale on Craigslist.
That’s possible thanks to an OpenCV image recognition system that Neevel programmed in Python. A camera on the robot points towards the smartphone and analyzes what it’s seeing. For instance, it can recognize which app icons are which in order to launch a specific app, and then recognizes which buttons to press within the app. Neevel still had to explicitly program what the robot should do to interact with the app, but the image recognition system makes it possible for the robot to find the correct buttons as it does. Now, Neevel can actually enjoy his free time while Telephone Operator deals with all of that social media nonsense.