SwitchBOT? Video of robot’s destruction was a prank


Two local funnymen decided to use the destruction of hitchBOT to further their own fame.

Jesse Wellen and Ed Bassmaster, local vloggers known for posting videos on Youtube of their various “pranks” including tricking women into thinking they’re being cheated on by significant others, claimed to have found surveillance footage from Elfreth’s Alley showing a Eagles jersey-wearing assailant rip apart hitchBOT.

The hitchhiking, talking robot from Toronto was created as a social experiment in the limits of human kindness. It successfully traveled across Canada and to Germany and the Netherlands, but only last two weeks in the U.S. before it met its demise in Philly.

Bassmaster and Wellen picked up hitchBOT and left it on a bench in Old City just south of Race Street on 2nd Street in the early morning hours of Saturday over the weekend. Hours later, the robot was destroyed.

Wellen claimed to have discovered surveillance video of the attack and posted it to Snapchat on Monday.

The brutal video even shows the attacker hold up what appears to be hitchBOT’s arm at one point.

“Here’s video of the jerk who killed hitchBOT,” popular tech blog Gizmodo posted.

However, there is no surveillance camera on the street shown in the footage.

Now Bassmaster is retweeting messages congratulating him on the “prank.”

“Hands down best prank of all time,” one wrote.

Wellen and Bassmaster did not respond to requests for comment.

Rebuilding efforts

A “hitchBOT rescue” meeting is scheduled for Thursday evening — part of a collaboration between several groups including Geekadelphia, the Hacktory, NextFab.

A Kickstarter to support the rebuilding of hitchBOT has raised more than $4,500.

The Thursday meet-up is planned to give local inventors and techies an opportunity to determine what exactly is needed to replace hitchBOT.

“We may have convinced the Canadian-based inventors that Philly can redeem itself,” an event listing on Nextfab.com said.

The Toronto-based inventors at Ryerson University initially said they were not interested in recreating hitchBOT, but AP reported that they may have changed their minds after an “outpouring of support.”

Creators Fraunke Zeller and David Smith declined to comment but a spokeswoman said they would make an announcement about the future of hitchBOT on Wednesday.

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