Minnesota-made 'wedding bot' is off-beat officiant


At 2 feet tall and 8 pounds, Oscar is not your typical wedding officiant. He's not even a he.

The Wedding Bot – designed to perform ceremonies, act as a flower girl or be your ring bearer – is the creation of Minnesota-based tinkerer Jon Schmig, Mashable reports.

Now the battery-powered, remote-controlled device is available for rent for your ceremony.

Oscar comes decked out in a tux, and behind the smiling face on his metal box head is a micro-controller "brain" that contains programs uploaded from Schmig's laptop. The robot's movements are controlled by Schmig's smartphone via a Bluetooth connection, Mashable notes. (He's also available for receptions for duties including dancing and "child charming," and yes, Oscar has his own Facebook page.)

Schmig funded the project with $700 he raised on Kickstarter, noting there that there's got to be a market for this thing. "I'm sure there are nerds in love out there who will jump at the chance. I want to help make their dream come true," he wrote.

Is this the dawn of robot weddings? It's not a trend yet, the New York Times reported last month, but the devices are lending a "Jetsonesque air to a few ceremonies."

Among them: In 2012 in Annapolis, Maryland, Laura Cressman, a mechanical engineer with the defense technology developer, used a small, unmanned military robot designed for urban combat as a ring bearer (with the tune "Mr. Roboto" playing in the background), her dad wrote in a blog post.

And at a California wedding in 2011, a robot named Father Emiglio asked the bride and groom if they vowed to "coordinate your functions in cooperation in sickness and in health?” It told them to “Please vocalize your agreement."

Is there really a market for circuit-driven ceremonies? At weddings, even Brian Coltin, a researcher at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, tells the Times, “There’s something about being there in person that technology can’t achieve.”

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