"Unquiet meals make ill digestions." --William Shakespeare, "The Comedy of Errors"
June 27, 2009 2:07 AM   Subscribe

 
Robots equipped to get their energy from digesting mammals - what could possibly go wrong with that?
posted by Phanx at 2:21 AM on June 27, 2009 [43 favorites]


I wonder when the first genius criminal will build a robot that can successfully rob a bank. Talk about a better mousetrap . . .
posted by @troy at 2:23 AM on June 27, 2009


Great! Insert the taste for flesh and blood into the system. Why build bombs when..."soylent green" can feed the machine followed by the birth of the Terminator prototype.
posted by Sir BoBoMonkey Pooflinger Esquire III at 2:24 AM on June 27, 2009


Yeah, I'd come here to make the exact same joke, but... well, it was pretty much de rigeur.

That's all kinds of fucked up... and yet, what are we but robots that are programmed to consume organic matter to continue to function?
</Kilgore Trout>
posted by hincandenza at 2:26 AM on June 27, 2009


Related: every robot does something that a human would rather not have to do, in that spirit, a machine that eats meals, and poops.
posted by idiopath at 2:27 AM on June 27, 2009


if robots are ever to be welcomed into people's homes, they'll need to fit in with the rest of the furniture

Robot table, robot chair, robot pillow.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:28 AM on June 27, 2009


The digested mouse generates the energy to power the trap door, sensor and an LED graphic display ...

And - hopefully - an air freshener?
posted by woodblock100 at 2:50 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought for a second:

"Wow! Someone finally invented one?"

posted by P.o.B. at 3:49 AM on June 27, 2009


This robot's design is intended to encourage spiders to build webs between the pegs on the backboard.

Any flies trapped in the web are tracked by a camera (right).

After no movement has been sensed for 10 minutes, the robotic arm (left) picks out the dead fly and drops it into the fuel cell, generating electricity to partially power the camera and robotic arm.


That poor spider! Imagine her frustration. "Ooo, what a great nap. And now, time to snack on that fly I wrapped up earlier ... god DAMN IT, not again!"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:04 AM on June 27, 2009 [8 favorites]


Those are just beautiful!
posted by I love You at 6:06 AM on June 27, 2009


A strongly worded letter from PETA in 3...2...
posted by zardoz at 6:17 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Humans will always have the upper hand in a robot uprising, until the day a robot is created that can reliably defeat our greatest weapon against them:

a blanket.

Think about it.

Throw it over them, and the robot has to go through so many functions to remove it, that you are either long gone or have smashed it to pieces. The process is so complex for the robot to figure out why it cant see and it's other sensors, like infrared ranging and audio aren't working properly, and figure out a way to remove it, you already have the upper hand.

Although, once they figure out how to defeat that, well, we are pretty much screwed.
posted by chambers at 6:38 AM on June 27, 2009 [16 favorites]


So, I'm not a PETA person (I ride horses and own Bengal cats and eat meat), but this appalls me. Dropping a living mouse through a trapdoor to be digested to death is pretty fucked up. Mice can be annoying, yes, but they experience pain and fear (both of which are highly likely in the bottom of a 'bacterial fuel cell'. Trap mice with a neck-breaker trap, buy a cat, whatever, but don't deliberately create machines or traps that cause prolonged pain or fear.
posted by Concolora at 6:50 AM on June 27, 2009 [10 favorites]


Having seen cats preprandially playing with mice, I definitely wouldn't put that on the list of ways to avoid prolonged pain and fear.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:11 AM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


The mouse-eating robot seems unnecessarily cruel, but the lampshade one makes sense to me. Every time I replace a blub in a globe, I find dead insects. If they're going to die anyway, it strikes me as a net good to use their deaths to reduce electricity consumption.
posted by notashroom at 7:26 AM on June 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


Now if they just combine it with that Japanese people-rescue robot, we have a winner.
posted by atchafalaya at 7:28 AM on June 27, 2009


"Gee! Your table smells terrific!"
posted by Drasher at 7:34 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The most terrifying robot of all? The magazine subscription lure, which creates a trail of interesting pictures, and the pounces on the unsuspecting prey with jaws gaping and operators standing by.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:22 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fuel cell turns the crank to snap the plank and boot the marble down the chute, now watch it roll into the pole, and knock the ball in the rub-a-dub tub, which flips the man into the pan…
posted by klangklangston at 8:41 AM on June 27, 2009


Oooh, I saw this the other day, bookmarked it so I could make an awesome FPP, and forgot about it completely.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:54 AM on June 27, 2009


a blanket. ... Throw it over them, and the robot has to go through so many functions to remove it, that you are either long gone or have smashed it to pieces.

This is why all of my robots are white hot and never stop break dancing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:58 AM on June 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'd buy one for my apartment, but first I need to live filthier for a couple of months so I get enough rats.
posted by qvantamon at 9:13 AM on June 27, 2009


Next up: a living room entertainment system powered by dead hookers.
posted by qvantamon at 9:14 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the little details they gloss over is that digestion produces waste. How easy is it going to be for the homeowner to remove digested or partially digested fly and mouse remains?

Then again, this IS New Scientist we're talking about here, so one can't expect too much.
posted by happyroach at 10:19 AM on June 27, 2009


UK-based designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau believe that, if robots are ever to be welcomed into people's homes, they'll need to fit in with the rest of the furniture,

WHAT? Are you saying that people would be more comfortable with a robot that eats animals then one that simply runs off main electricity like the high-power computers we all have in our homes now?
posted by delmoi at 10:41 AM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, I'm not a PETA person (I ride horses and own Bengal cats and eat meat), but this appalls me. Dropping a living mouse through a trapdoor to be digested to death is pretty fucked up. Mice can be annoying, yes, but they experience pain and fear (both of which are highly likely in the bottom of a 'bacterial fuel cell'. Trap mice with a neck-breaker trap, buy a cat, whatever, but don't deliberately create machines or traps that cause prolonged pain or fear.

So I take it you're also opposed to cats?
posted by delmoi at 10:42 AM on June 27, 2009


...Then one day, you come home to find that the house batteries are fully charged, all your electronics are unusually peppy and responsive, and you can't find Roger, your cat.
posted by darth_tedious at 12:11 PM on June 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure which is more disconcerting: Power generated by a digested mouse, or the use of that power to run a coffee table.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:42 PM on June 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cute.
posted by fcummins at 2:31 PM on June 27, 2009


I've had two of these robots for a while. Except mine are covered in hair and tend to meow loudly when they don't get fed.

and cleaning up their waste disposal units sucks.

and we don't have mice or flies, so they really don't serve any purpose.
posted by djduckie at 3:29 PM on June 27, 2009


It puts the mousie in the fuel cell, or it gets the Mr Sheen again ...
posted by 5MeoCMP at 3:43 PM on June 27, 2009



Throw it over them, and the robot has to go through so many functions to remove it, that you are either long gone or have smashed it to pieces. The process is so complex for the robot to figure out why it cant see and it's other sensors, like infrared ranging and audio aren't working properly, and figure out a way to remove it, you already have the upper hand.


chambers, I would like to buy your blanket.
posted by odinsdream at 5:09 PM on June 27, 2009


So how much energy can one get out of a fly? Enough to power an LED for any significant length of time?
posted by Jawn at 5:18 PM on June 27, 2009


Wait. How much power can a fuel cell extract from a mouse? How about a bag of grass clippings? Because I think I just solved N% of the energy crisis...
posted by DU at 5:31 PM on June 27, 2009


Beware of robots bearing ice cream, hundred dollar bills, and women of questionable morals.
posted by notyou at 6:41 PM on June 27, 2009


OK. OK. Nobody, nobody, shows the Roombas this.
posted by shadytrees at 7:00 PM on June 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


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