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Gimme Robot begs for change
November 3rd, 2010

Most robots are designed to be highly useful and help improve mankind in one way or another, but then that’s not everyone’s idea of how our mechanical friends should work. Chris Eckert’s “Gimme Robot” is a small one-eyed bot which silently rattles its tin-can and collects change. That’s right – our robots have started begging now.

The Gimme Robot is controlled by an Arduino Pro Mini, and uses sensors that locate people nearby. It’s mechanical eyeball follows the person’s motions should they decide to give it some change, and gently rattles its tin can prompting them for coins. It is also painted to look old and rusty, presumably to emphasize its helpless nature and make it more sympathetic. It can also move through the room on its two stepper motors while searching for donors.

The creator has said he wanted to recreate the feeling of sympathy, fear and anger one often feels when encountering beggars, but still make the robot adorable enough for people to give it money. The bot seems to have a Wall-E like resemblance going for it, and many people will feel drawn to its quiet yet pitiful appearance. It also may be interesting to give it a few coins just to see what it’s reaction will be, though don’t expect a song and a dance.

The video is almost comically simplistic in its nature, but shows how the transactions are expected to work. One wonders what would happen if someone just reaches in and takes all the money the Gimme Robot has collected, but then again who would be so cruel? It’d be like stealing candy from a mechanical one-eyed baby. Of course, this will all be helped if the bot is collecting money for a good cause, and not just to buy itself…whatever a robot would buy I guess.


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