Image via Oh Gizmo!
We have a strange fascination with carnivorous gadgets -- they're sort of eco-friendly, since they run on alternative energy, and they're a way to get rid of pests like mosquitos and flies without the use of chemicals. There's no doubt more insect-friendly ways to keep pests at bay, but that doesn't make the carnivorous designs any less intriguing. Designers and inventors James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau have explored the idea of autonomous robots, and come up with the Carnivorous Clock, which uses fly paper to trap, and eat, insects to keep the clock ticking. Check out a video of the design. We covered this clock briefly a couple years ago, along with a few other strange meat-eating gadget designs. But the concept has resurfaced in the blogosphere, even on NPR, and it's worth exploring in a little more depth.
Oddly enough, the designers call this robot an "entertainment robot." We would say it seems practical, even interesting, but entertaining? Not so much.
From their website: "For this project we have chosen the route of entertainment, not as a companion pet-like robot but a darker more complex mode of engagement. Their reliance on the flying insects and rodents to supply the microbial fuel cell means that the robots are carnivorous. It is in the hunting process that they conjure intrigue, anticipation and a fascination with life and death... We liken this to the keeping of exotic pets in the home where live prey is fed to a pet lizard or spider and the consequent feeding spectacle becomes a point of fascination often recorded on camera and posted on video sharing websites. It also reflects on the current fascination with reality television programs such as Wife Swap and Big Brother."
It makes sense, since there are those people who love feeding time when it comes to their pet snakes. Still, that takes it just a little too far. Catching mosquitoes and other common bugs on fly paper and feeding it to your clock is a bit more sterile.
Food source aside, the concept is definitely an interesting one. Who wouldn't mind powering a simple device like a clock off of the insects that make their way trough window screens, and would otherwise be a complete nuisance?
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