Microvolunteering Wednesday is excited to bring you a microvolunteering opportunity using fun new ingredients: robotic arms, animal shelter cats, and webcams. With rooms set up for cats to interact with robotic toys, the Oregon Humane Society and AprioriControl are helping bring together internet controlled robotics with online microvolunteering.
To view this playful venture visit the Oregon Humane Society online “Playroom”, and click the paw to begin. It should be noted that Internet Explorer or an IE tab chrome extension in Chrome must be used to operate the controls.
The webcam should come in to view placing you the player into the short waiting list, after which you will eventually be allowed to interact with the cats for two minutes at a time.
During those two minutes, there are on-screen buttons to adjust the movable webcam and to control the various cat toys in the room. After a few seconds, chances are you will start to get the cats’ attention with your moving and shaking. You can hold the buttons down to have the toys move continuously or tap the buttons to make them move a little bit at a time. If you have a high-speed internet connection, you will see the effects in real time (an eerie effect).
Take a look at the action here:
Try it out if for no other reason than to help some bored kitties, not to mention the humane society gain more attention, awareness of animal adoption, and financial support in the process.
So, what does this mean for the big picture in volunteering? With the help of the internet and robotics, volunteering has the potential to go from analog (helping in person) and digital (with microvolunteering and virtual volunteering online), to cyborg volunteering (helping in the real world using virtualization) with devices through the internet.
So, don’t be alarmed if you see ASIMO the next time you volunteer at the food bank; he’s just your fellow volunteer! Wave into the webcam and hand him or her some cans to start sorting.
Did you check out the kitties? What did you think of the interactive experience? Tell us in our crowdsourcing forum.