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I, for one, welcome our new hamster robot overlords.
February 7, 2011 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Princess the Hamster gets a robot walking suit. (SLYT)
posted by loquacious (90 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Meh.

The true test is when they gain a higher intelligence and are placed in front of Fox news with a remote control.

Will they change the channel?! WILL THEY?! Once they've made the decision, we'll know our fate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:42 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Theo Jansen should modify his designs for hamster power.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:43 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Princess looks like a gerbil to me.
posted by aught at 7:44 AM on February 7, 2011


Was expecting a 30 foot high hamster powered mech, busting through walls.

Disappointed and relieved.
posted by memebake at 7:45 AM on February 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


I never suspected our overlords would be so adorable.
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Forward and backward, but no side to side and no rotation?

World domination FAIL.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:47 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was worried that we would soon be welcoming the Hamster Overlords our Engineering Hubris had unleashed, but then I noticed how unimpressed the cat was. Hamsters are pretty lazy and even chainsaws wouldn't make them all that threatening. Disaster: averted!

Thanks, cat! I will sleep better tonight.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:48 AM on February 7, 2011


For more about Theo Jansen and his Walker mechanism.
posted by aught at 7:49 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was worried that we would soon be welcoming the Hamster Overlords our Engineering Hubris had unleashed, but then I noticed how unimpressed the cat was.

You know why the cat was unimpressed? Did you see that these folks have a Roomba? The cat has already met our robot overlords, and he knows that resistance is futile.
posted by phunniemee at 7:50 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I saw one of these in Avatar.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:51 AM on February 7, 2011


Are you pondering what i'm pondering, Princess?
posted by palbo at 7:51 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


aught, Princess is definitely a hamster.

The reaction of the cat at about 1:00, looking at the camera, is absolutely priceless.
posted by joyceanmachine at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2011


This needs a few more hamsters, for additional power and load balancing, and also some grippers or scoops and access to food pellets.

PRINCESS: We are approaching a food cache but our trajectory is off. MUFFINTOP, hard to port!

MUFFINTOP: Aye aye! *runs frantically in a plastic sphere*

PRINCESS: Deploy the scoop, SPARKLES!

SPARLKES: *runs frantically in a plastic sphere, then stops* Scoop extended!

PRINCESS: Stop slacking, SLEEPY, we need full thrust if we want to dig the scoop in!

SLEEPY: *lumbers slowly in a ball* Yeah, whatever.

PRINCESS: SPARKLES, lift the scoop.

SPARLKES: *runs frantically in a plastic sphere, in the other direction*

*MUFFINTOP begins to dance in the shower of food pellets cascading through the open slot*

PRINCESS: Damn it feels good to be a hamster.

Also, after PRINCESS taunts the humans and says she can do just fine on her own, they are confronted by a massive complex of hamster tubes and spheres, shaped like a cube, which attempts to abduct members of PRINCESS's crew to force the hapless abductees to run in their hamster spheres and wear tight black unitards.
posted by adipocere at 7:57 AM on February 7, 2011 [11 favorites]


Survival Research, as always, overdelivered on the promise of rodent (Guinea Pig) powered exo-danger.
posted by klapaucius at 8:00 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interesting first-generation gerbil-powered mechanical walking unit, but I agree with blue_beetle that, by most metrics, it's much worse than just a gerbil ball, which can move in any direction. The mechanical walker can looks like it really only moves in a slight arc to the left (ie, the poor guy can only walk in one big circle).
posted by muddgirl at 8:03 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


aught, Princess is definitely a hamster.

Wait, a "Roborovski" hampster? That's pretty eponysterical for a robo-rover for hampsters thread.
posted by aught at 8:09 AM on February 7, 2011


(Why am I spelling hamster with a "p"? Sorry.)
posted by aught at 8:10 AM on February 7, 2011


Hamster-powered! Hamster!
posted by muddgirl at 8:14 AM on February 7, 2011


Poor Princess has to run awfully fast to move that thing. 1st gen though so I can't help thinking this is a huge step forward for hamsters.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:14 AM on February 7, 2011


Hamster Powered Gakken Strandbeest!

"Gakken Strandbeest" is the name of my next pet. I love German.
posted by Salmonberry at 8:17 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, an engineer specializing in rodent-power raises a clenched fist towards the heavens.

"They laughed when I told them I could make walking mecha fueled by the relentless will of a hamster, the fools! Now I'll make them rue mocking my genius with a new small-housepet-powered robot, one that will pirouette and spin on ceramic knifeblades! Let them tremble in terror at... the Hampster Dance!"
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:19 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Poor Princess has to run awfully fast to move that thing. 1st gen though so I can't help thinking this is a huge step forward for hamsters.

Actually, my favorite part of the video is when they put the hamster back in the cage and the first thing it does is jump back in the wheel.
posted by loquacious at 8:21 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Poor Princess has to run awfully fast to move that thing.

Then can increase the speed by using a smaller gear for the walking mechanism, but I imagine that at higher speeds there are going to be stability issues.
posted by muddgirl at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2011


Caged animal manipulated for entertainment.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:27 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

Somehow I don't think the hamster cares as long as it can run in the ball.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Poor Princess has to run awfully fast to move that thing. 1st gen though so I can't help thinking this is a huge step forward for hamsters.

Based on the footage, it's actually a large number of very small steps.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:29 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

It is learning to use the tools which will help it to overthrow it's oppressors. We are seeing the first slow steps in the hamster revolution. You were there people.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:30 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

It beats "uncaged animal attacked by nearby cat..."
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:31 AM on February 7, 2011


Less than meets the eye.
posted by cashman at 8:31 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aww. Cute, but I was expecting something like Ultra Peepi from Invader Zim.
posted by xedrik at 8:34 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why bother with a robot suit when you can eat the entire world like a small apple?
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 8:41 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I drove a 3-cylinder Metro for a while, and I would swear the inside of the engine looked similar to this.
posted by hippybear at 8:48 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


A little backstory about the mini bot creatorI-Wei Huang: Crabfu Artworks, Steamworks, steam powered robots, at the craftsmanship museum.
posted by nickyskye at 8:50 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was surprised by how uninterested the cat seemed to be.
posted by delmoi at 8:55 AM on February 7, 2011


Look what technology has done for Princess! She only has to run one mile to travel 10 feet in her super machine!
posted by orme at 8:58 AM on February 7, 2011


Hamsters have already won the battle. We clean their cages, tempt them with a wild array of seeds and treats from all over the world, lie patiently awake when they gnaw on things in the middle of the night, and damage our brains trying to assemble all those little plastic snap-together environment toys for them. In return we are only granted a condescending beady-eyed sort of tolerance.

Is this where we show off our hamsters? Cos mine is awesome. (He came like that, all cyclopean and piratical. I collect damaged animals.)
posted by cmyk at 8:59 AM on February 7, 2011 [7 favorites]


Somehow I don't think the hamster cares

Assumptions.

What if it was a dog, or heaven forbid, a [thoroughbred] horse kept in a box and made to run a treadmill all day to the delight of passerby? Someone would go to jail, right?
posted by jsavimbi at 9:03 AM on February 7, 2011


Princess looks like a gerbil to me.

Princess is young (hence her energy level), and hasn't put on the usual extra weight of adult hamsters, so this is a reasonable mistake; the giveaway is the tail.

Caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

Caged animal has unlimited food, water, comfortable shelter, attention, freedom from predators and (clearly appreciated) exercise. Caged animal has it better than 100% of its uncaged kin.

What really matters isn't whether our actions are "natural" - we're a part of nature, ourselves - but rather whether they're destructive. In this case, everybody is winning. Why invent unnecessary and illogical reasons to feel miserable?
posted by Ryvar at 9:09 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, this thread is making me miss my hamster Ziggy something fierce. My sister went through four different iterations of "Snowbell" the white princess hamster (who, by the way, was always a bitey-asshole of a hamster). I only ever had Ziggy. Old Zigs lived for six years. Six years! I used to put him in my dinosaur plays, he would always get eaten by a dinosaur. He was a master escape artist - his cage was level after level of complex fortifications. Eventually, at the age of six, he escaped one last time and was never seen again. Didn't show up dead in the pantry or the crawlspace or anything. I like to think he just hit the road and moved someplace coastal like Acapulco or maybe Tampa.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:12 AM on February 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


What if it was a dog, or heaven forbid, a [thoroughbred] horse kept in a box and made to run a treadmill all day to the delight of passerby? Someone would go to jail, right?

That's a great straw man, but has nothing to do with the matter at hand. It's NOT a dog or a horse, it's not kept in an especially confining space as judged by its species (hamsters and gerbils are claustrophiles), it's clearly not finished exercising by the time they finish testing, and it demonstrates it would be engaging in the same activity if it were left to its own devices.

Why do you want to invent reasons to be angry?
posted by Ryvar at 9:13 AM on February 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


wild hamsters are badass we are going to be in trouble when they get ahold of this technology.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:15 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Survival Research, as always, overdelivered on the promise of rodent (Guinea Pig) powered exo-danger.

I was just going to link that myself. I remember RE/Search: Pranks! had some great pics of it in action, but I can't find any online, sadly.
posted by rifflesby at 9:19 AM on February 7, 2011


What if it was a dog, or heaven forbid, a [thoroughbred] horse kept in a box...

and don't get me started on ant farms, those brutal gulags of torment and fear seriouslyahorseinaboxonatreadmill
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:20 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Why do you want to invent reasons to be angry?

It would seem that less sincere motivations were involved in posting his question about animal cruelty.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:21 AM on February 7, 2011


jsavimbi: " What if it was a dog, or heaven forbid, a [thoroughbred] horse kept in a box and made to run a treadmill all day to the delight of passerby? Someone would go to jail, right?"

Have you ever had hamsters? They run. They exercise. They run miles every night. It's a big part of their inherent Hamsterness.

When I was a teenager, I had three. Used to take their wheels out of their tank, place them on the ground nearby and they would go to the wheels and run in them. These were open wheels. They could enter and exit as they liked, and they chose to use them. They also used their Hamsterballs.

If you're going to keep an animal that roams and runs for miles at a time every 24 hours in some sort of enclosed space, it is a kindness, not a cruelty, to give them the ability to work off that excess energy.
posted by zarq at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's a hamster. Hamsters run. The equivalent would be forcing a horse to cavort merrily in a big pretty field all day, or leaving a dog to lick its own genitals with only the promise of delicious snacks and relaxing naps to break the monotony.

That is, if you could somehow power a small walking robot out of butt-licking dogs and frolicking ponies.
posted by cmyk at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


It would seem that less sincere motivations were involved in posting his question about animal cruelty.

I was thinking that was facetious. At least the hamster won't be summarily shot if it can't run in the wheel anymore.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:24 AM on February 7, 2011


And he succeeded!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:27 AM on February 7, 2011


That is, if you could somehow power a small walking robot out of butt-licking dogs and frolicking ponies.

Science and Engineering need to get on this right away!
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:29 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


What if it was a dog, or heaven forbid, a [thoroughbred] horse kept in a box and made to run a treadmill all day to the delight of passerby? Someone would go to jail, right?

Not unless someone at the dinner party alerted the authorities.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:32 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

I know, I'm sick of reality tv too.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:35 AM on February 7, 2011


Serious derail but check this out. A case where people did indeed go to jail after they had been killing horses for 20 years.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:37 AM on February 7, 2011


Why?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:39 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This thread has gone in a spectacularly strange direction.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:44 AM on February 7, 2011


> This thread has gone in a spectacularly strange direction.

That's what happens when you make a hamsterball robot that doesn't have differential steering.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:47 AM on February 7, 2011 [8 favorites]


Caged animal manipulated for entertainment. No matter how you rationalize your feelings towards the keeping of wildlife or rail against my party-pooper comments, it will always be a caged animal manipulated for entertainment.
posted by jsavimbi at 10:11 AM on February 7, 2011


Blah blah blah
posted by Burhanistan at 10:11 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


jsavimbi, I sure hope you're a vegan.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:17 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


it will always be a caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

This describes all pets. ALL of them. You must be a blast at dinner parties.
posted by muddgirl at 10:19 AM on February 7, 2011


Breatharians are such moral downers while they're alive.
posted by benzenedream at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Put down that feather-on-a-string! You're just manipulating that poor cat for entertainment! Don't take your dog to a dog park and enjoy the site of him frolicking inside a fenced area with other dogs! You're just manipulating it for entertainment!
posted by muddgirl at 10:21 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Delicious billy goats.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:25 AM on February 7, 2011


In some threads, I feel like an animal manipulated for someone's entertainment... Sadly, striving to be less entertaining really isn't an option.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:26 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

So are you. Dance for me, monkey boy, dance!
posted by loquacious at 10:26 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


muddgirl: "This describes all pets. ALL of them. You must be a blast at dinner parties."

Obligatory.
posted by zarq at 10:28 AM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Put down that camera! You're just manipulating that baby for our entertainment!

Delicious billy goats.

If you have some concrete accusation to make against jsavimbi, then make it. Why do you think he is not commenting in good faith?
posted by muddgirl at 10:29 AM on February 7, 2011


I'm never eating hamster again.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:30 AM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


it is interesting to see how the energy of the hamster exercise is used to propel it forward at that moment - is there a way with the walker mechanism to store this energy to be used for later or other purposes?
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 10:31 AM on February 7, 2011


It is learning to use the tools which will help it to overthrow it's oppressors.

The master's tools will never dismantle the master's cage.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:31 AM on February 7, 2011


Ad hominem: "I'm never eating hamster again."

AMEN!
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on February 7, 2011


is there a way with the walker mechanism to store this energy to be used for later or other purposes?

Sure - it's called a generator. The hamster acts as a power source to move a conductor through a magnetic field, generating current. That current could be consumed immediately (like if you want this hamster to power a lightbulb), or you could store it in a system of batteries - storing it is a little trickier.
posted by muddgirl at 10:37 AM on February 7, 2011


is there a way with the walker mechanism to store this energy to be used for later or other purposes?

It would be doable. If I ever own small rodents again, I'm going to set up a generator on their wheel to charge a little LED light for their cage, and maybe a speedometer or odometer just for metrics. It'd be interesting to see how far a domestic hamster actually runs in a day.

If I was really ambitious I'd invent a way for a hamster to power their own self-cleaning cage. They could store energy from the wheel all week between robotic cage cleaning.

You could also store rotational energy in a rubber band motor like the ones found in toy airplanes, or a clock spring, which would easily drive a contraption like that walker.
posted by loquacious at 10:41 AM on February 7, 2011


Could you use a flywheel to keep the legs moving while Princess rests up?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:42 AM on February 7, 2011


Hamster powered nightlight!
posted by nzero at 10:44 AM on February 7, 2011


They also used their Hamsterballs.

Most, given the opportunity, would as well. Only they're so small!

(FWIW, I have seen adult humans pay good money to run in similar devices.)
posted by chavenet at 10:48 AM on February 7, 2011


I was surprised by how uninterested the cat seemed to be.

I wasn't. When my late lamented tuxedo cat and I were living with my then-girlfriend, she had a hamster who we'd let out to run in his little ball. One day, the...hatch? stopper?...popped out of the ball, and we suddenly had a free-range hamster, right in front of the cat.

I was worried for a second, but they sniffed very carefully at each other, getting closer and closer and closer until their noses bumped together--at which point the cat flinched back with a "HOLY CHRIST ON A POGO STICK IT TOUCHED ME EW EW EW" expression on his face, and the entire sniffing cycle started all over again.

Damn, I miss that cat.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:50 AM on February 7, 2011 [9 favorites]


It'd be interesting to see how far a domestic hamster actually runs in a day.

One of my Campbell Dwarf hamsters had an odometer on his wheel, he averaged just under 8 miles a night his first year and ~6 miles/night his second year. Even in his dotage, when he was palsied and had lost most of his hair (2.75 years is ancient for a dwarf hamster), he was clocking a mile a night.
posted by jamaro at 10:56 AM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hamster powered nightlight!

Great link! I intentionally glossed over why it is difficult to charge a battery with a simple hamster-powered generator, and was hoping no one would ask. But the Otherpower.com people write good science.
posted by muddgirl at 11:00 AM on February 7, 2011


This looks very much like one of the Buddhist hells.

In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen this in a Tibetan thangka painting, with huge wrathful demons standing about & laughing, as the soul of the departed is made to spin pointlessly for their amusement. Only now do I realise that it was just a stylised hamster robot wheel, that Padmasambhava must have seen in a mystical journey into the future.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:40 PM on February 7, 2011


which attempts to abduct members of PRINCESS's crew to force the hapless abductees to run in their hamster spheres and wear tight black unitards.

A bit like working in an office then.
posted by Sourisnoire at 12:45 PM on February 7, 2011


We are not amused.
posted by chance at 12:55 PM on February 7, 2011


"Gakken Strandbeest" is the name of my next pet. I love German.
Yes? Gakken is a Japanese company, and strandbeest is Dutch (I love Italian)
posted by Namlit at 12:57 PM on February 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was worried for a second, but they sniffed very carefully at each other, getting closer and closer and closer until their noses bumped together--at which point the cat flinched back with a "HOLY CHRIST ON A POGO STICK IT TOUCHED ME EW EW EW" expression on his face, and the entire sniffing cycle started all over again.

Three years ago I had ferrets (still have them, don't worry) and found a stray cat. This same basic thing happened when I first introduced them, and I had the same worries, except that the ferrets also ended up ferreting out at this new thing in the house and I ended up having to rescue the cat instead of the ferrets. Eventually she started sleeping in the ferrets' area, and they would even sleep and groom together.
posted by Evilspork at 2:59 PM on February 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is geared all wrong. It should move faster than the normal ball would. Like a hamster bike.
posted by monkeymadness at 3:46 PM on February 7, 2011


This is geared all wrong. It should move faster than the normal ball would. Like a hamster bike.

Somewhere there's a beautiful little EE hacking project there that involves a hamster in a ball, a jumbo version of a trackball base for it to run in, and the chassis of a remote control car.

Hamster runs, ball turns, trackball sensor spins, car rockets forward at an equivalent to 5:1 gearing.
posted by Ryvar at 4:27 PM on February 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


weirdly, I dreamt that I had pet hamsters last night. I wrote an email to my boyfriend about it when I got up

"I woke up today from a long tedious dream about work. and hamsters. lots of hamsters"

his reply:

"That's odd, I woke up to a long tedious day of work.
At least you got hamsters..."
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 4:53 PM on February 7, 2011


Caged animal manipulated for entertainment. No matter how you rationalize your feelings towards the keeping of wildlife or rail against my party-pooper comments, it will always be a caged animal manipulated for entertainment.

It's funny that all of this is coming from someone who condones bullfighting.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:06 PM on February 7, 2011


In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen this in a Tibetan thangka painting, with huge wrathful demons standing about & laughing, as the soul of the departed is made to spin pointlessly for their amusement.

The best part is the necklace of severed human heads around the Hamster God's neck.
posted by elizardbits at 8:28 PM on February 7, 2011


Does anyone else think the legs look suspiciously like they were made in World of Goo?
posted by Green Winnebago at 2:24 AM on February 8, 2011


I enjoyed the one girl's little cheer, it was so sweet... I imagine it's something that she'll be embarrassed of when she watches this home movie in the future, but she's adorable and in the moment. "Super cool, super hot, it's the hamster we like a lot, it's super Super Princess!!!"
posted by to recite so charmingly at 7:27 PM on February 8, 2011


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