Building MACHINES that fail might sound like a terrible way to make a living, but it’s WORKING OUT just fine for SIMONE GIERTZ, AKA Queen of the Sh*tty Robots.
This is, like, the weirdest thing I’ve done. Today.” Simone Giertz is attempting to put jeans and a basketball jersey on a mannequin so white and glossy it outshines the toilet bowl it’s on top of. Unfortunately, the mannequin’s legs won’t stay in place as Simone struggles with the clothing. Hilarity predictably ensues.
The mannequin is to be the guinea pig in a demonstration of Simone’s latest invention – a butt-wiping machine. The butt-wiping machine is a thing of pure terror – a cordless drill modified to accommodate a roll of toilet paper, attached to the inside of the toilet seat lid. Mannequin-wrangling complete, Simone steps aside and hits the big red button that starts the machine.
The drill swings haphazardly towards the mannequin’s exposed cheeks and spins the toilet paper into a frothy, bouffant mess. After several attempts with similar results, the drill eventually whizzes so powerfully that the toilet rides out backwards from under the mannequin, which crashes to the floor.
The machine is a resounding success – as a sh*tty robot, that is.
Welcome to ‘Sh*tty Robot Nation,’ where Simone reigns over this YouTube empire as the ‘Queen of the Sh*tty Robots’. Her subjects are her supporters following via online platform Patreon.
Simone’s first video, in 2015, was only seven seconds long and featured a helmet with a robot arm that very poorly brushed her teeth. Since then she has created a robot that fails to make you breakfast, another that smears lipstick all over your face, and one that does a really bad job of chopping vegetables (along with a terrifying giant version with two-and-a-half-metre knives). There’s also the drone-powered machine that cuts your hair, a robot that puts your sunglasses on for you, and another that helps you argue on the internet by repeatedly smashing a foam head into the keyboard.
It’s safe to say these robots are not out to steal our jobs.
“There’s definitely a thought [in my work] of how much do we want to automate, and what parts of our lives do we not want to automate,” says Simone, Skyping from San Francisco while fiddling with a nail-polishing robot she’s about to film. “But if a robot could get me out of bed in the morning, and wash me and make me look decent, I’d have no problem with that. There are so many parts of my life I’m totally okay with outsourcing to technology.”
Originally from Stockholm, Simone first studied physics at college before dropping out to enrol at digital innovation school Hyper Island. This, she says, was the first step towards prioritising her passions over practicalities.
“Going to Hyper Island was one of the first fun things I let myself do,” she says. “I was always very duty driven and pushing myself really hard. I realised that this didn’t really make sense, because I’m a lot better at things that I enjoy than at things I find excruciatingly painful.”
After picking up some basic coding skills at Hyper Island, Simone turned her attention to Arduino electronics kits and joined the growing maker movement. Fast forward to today, and her videos and GIFs are all over social media, her YouTube channel has more than half a million subscribers, and her videos have had around 25 million views. >
There are so many PARTS of my LIFE that I’m totally OKAY with OUTSOURCING to TECHNOLOGY.