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.

Collective Hub - - TECH - WORDS CHLOE WALKER

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.

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