Need A Useless Robot? Simone Giertz Is The Queen : All Tech Considered A Swedish inventor has found a following with her quirky mechanical creations, even if they don't work as you'd imagine.
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Need A Useless Robot? Simone Giertz Is The Queen

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Need A Useless Robot? Simone Giertz Is The Queen

Need A Useless Robot? Simone Giertz Is The Queen

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/470874703/471077889" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Simone Giertz makes robots.

SIMONE GIERTZ: Can I say [expletive]?

BLOCK: Nope. You sure can't. So we're going to call them useless. Giertz lives on a houseboat in Sweden and has found fame through posting videos of her useless robots online.

GIERTZ: The first one that I did with a robot arm is called the Breakfast Machine. And it's basically a robot arm that I programmed to pour cereal and milk into a bowl and then feed it to me with a spoon. But all it does is, like, pour the cereal everywhere.

(SOUNDBITE OF "THE BREAKFAST MACHINE" YOUTUBE VIDEO)

GIERTZ: It throws the packet on the floor and it pours milk everywhere, including over me. And it doesn't actually manage to feed me anything. But it does hand me an empty spoon, so it succeeded in that part at least.

BLOCK: That "Breakfast Machine" video has been viewed over a million times since she posted it four months ago. Simone Giertz says she doesn't have an engineering background. She just has a lot of ideas for funny machines, so she taught herself how to build them.

GIERTZ: So I get a lot of questions, if I build the projects that I do and I actually intend them to do a good job or if I intentionally make them bad. And I must admit that they are somewhat intentionally bad. I mean, I - but they're really good at being bad, I would say. So, I mean, that's some sort of success maybe.

BLOCK: Success is right. Another video posted at the same time as "The Breakfast Machine" has also racked up over a million views. It's of a robot she calls tThe Wake-Up Machine.

GIERTZ: It's an alarm clock with a rubber arm attached to it. So whenever the alarm goes off...

(SOUNDBITE OF ALARM)

GIERTZ: ...The rubber arm starts slapping the person sleeping in the face. To me, the goal of building useless and ridiculous robots is more - I mean, in some way it's, like, a personal goal because I think it's really fun. And I think, like, having fun is super important to create things. But I think overall, like, I think it's a really good way of inspiring people to learn about hardware and about electronics because it can kind of reach people who wouldn't normally be interested in a robotics project.

BLOCK: And you bet, we've got videos of Simone Giertz's ridiculous robots on our website, npr.org.

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