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Feed me Seymour: The flesh-eating robotic clock

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July 1, 2009

The flypaper leads the trapped fly towards its doom (Image: Auger-Loizeau)

The flypaper leads the trapped fly towards its doom (Image: Auger-Loizeau)

Giving robots a taste for flesh might not seem like a great idea given that they’re probably going to rise up and enslave us in the next few decades. But that’s just what a couple of UK-based designers have done with their prototype flesh-eating robotic clock.

Thankfully the robot clock’s appetite is currently limited to flies and other insects that become trapped on flypaper stretched across a roller system. The roller system transports and scrapes the trapped flies into a vat of bacteria where they are “digested” by an internal microbial fuel cell. The fuel cell is able to produce a current by mimicking chemical interactions found in nature. This current is then used to drive the rollers and power the LCD clock display.

James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau designed the robotic clock as they believe that robots will need to pull their weight and blend with the furniture if they are going to be accepted into people’s homes. To that end they’ve also designed a coffee table that is designed to catch and digest mice, a robot that steals flies from a spider’s web, and a lampshade inspired by carnivorous pitcher plants.

Presently the prototypes rely on mains power, but the designers believe their designs have the potential to be self-sufficient. Might be time for an update of the Little Shop of Horrors with the robotic clock taking the role of Audrey II.

Source: NewScientist and Hack a Day via engadget

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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