We constantly hear, often with good reason, that robots are all set to gobble up our jobs. Apparently no one gave that message to Simone Giertz.
A popular YouTuber with with 264,000 subscribers, the 25-year-old Giertz has earned a well-deserved reputation as, in her own words, a builder of “shitty robots.” And in the process she’s built a not-so-crappy career.
Her latest creation? A sandwich-making robot — or, more appropriately, a robot that tries and fails to make sandwiches. “I set out to make a sandwich using a robot arm,” Giertz told Digital Trends. “I put a knife at the end of it and tried to make it spread peanut butter over bread. It didn’t work so great.”
A self-proclaimed hardware geek who just happens to have limited patience for prototyping, Giertz told us that her robots grew out of the kind of things she liked to build for fun. “Somewhere along the way I realized that I enjoyed making useless things a lot more than well-finished products,” she said.
There are no regrets about her status as a great YouTube comedian but (with respect) perhaps less expert roboticist, though.
“I love the niche that I’ve created for myself,” she continued. “I started building shitty robots a year ago. I made a toothbrush helmet, which was a skateboard helmet with a robot arm holding a toothbrush. The idea was that it would brush your teeth for you. I published it on YouTube and put it on Reddit, without thinking too much about it. It got thousands of views in half a day. Since then, it’s just grown to something bigger than I ever, ever anticipated.”
As to how she explains the appeal of her robots, Giertz said: “I think people just like seeing failure. Robots happen to fail in spectacular ways. It humanizes them in some ways. They’re these inanimate objects, and suddenly you see them struggling with something that you do every day and find very easy. It’s entertaining to see these highly engineered machines failing to do something. At the same time, it creates this weird sympathy for the machines.”
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