A group of engineers has come up with a means of making robotic furniture that not only captures prey but actually consumes it, using the meat to power its gears and electronic components. Clocks that catch flies and turn them into power to run the device are labeled as being both a practical “green” design of the future, but also a form of macabre entertainment by the device’s creators. Are we ready for a world that considers watching a robot kill and eat a fly entertainment? And if that’s not enough, the startling claims of what the meat powered coffee table does is not for the faint of heart. And it raises the obvious question: why would a coffee table even need power?
They’re called carnivorous domestic entertainment robots. And while it might sound like a disturbing twist for home entertainment, prototypes have been designed by James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau that take the organic remains of animals and insects killed by the bizarre and efficient machines and convert them into power. The disturbing robots have purposefully been designed and marketed as a form of entertainment more than a twisted answer to energy concerns. And so far very few who have heard of them think they’re an ideal way to spend the afternoon.
Take the mouse killing coffee table. The twisted design has an aperture shaped opening in the top of it. A mouse is led up a carefully designed tunnel up to the top of the table where it can wander around and eventually comes to the aperture where it falls in and “expires” (as the designers say, more on that later) where microbes digest it and convert its body to energy. The mouse is consumed and the LED light on the side of the table powers up indicating the coffee table is at full power. Power to do what? Nothing other than kill again. It’s based on a principle similar to the Venus flytrap.
So how does the mouse expire? None of the designs made by the company say exactly how it works, only that the creatures “expire.” Perhaps it is this mystery along with the efficiency of the machines or the philosophical overtones that has proven so disturbing to so many who become aware of these strange new robots that are designed to kill as a means of entertainment.
A clock has also been designed that apparently is powered by flies that collect inside it as they die after being stunned by the light itself. This has been labeled a far more practical, if not disturbing piece as it actually works to serve a function. The designers are not just looking for functionality, however it seems. They’re looking to make a statement.
So are we ready for a world where furniture comes to life and actively eats animals? Whether we are or not, it seems that’s just what we’re in for now. Still, the new devices have succeeded in capturing the attention of those interested in the provocative machines as a statement on humanity’s place in the world if not art. Next they need to invent someone who will want one in their living room.