Building on a longstanding collaboration between Auger and Loizeau, this cross-disciplinary group has developed a radical design aesthetic for the much-anticipated “near-future” symbiosis of humans with our domestic robots. The Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots project currently exists as a series of five semi-operational prototypes: Mousetrap coffee table robot, Lampshade robot, Cobweb robot, UV fly killer parasite robot, and Flypaper robotic clock . The robots take the form of beautiful and fashionable furniture and household accessories, which perform functions that range from lighting a room to low-key (and admittedly dark) entertainment. But more primarily, the very process that allows the robots to run by supplying them with power also has the function of ridding the household of pests. Each robot has a microbial fuel cell that converts organic matter, ensnared by the robot, into electrical energy: a mechanized iris built into the top of a table traps mice, a lampshade has holes that allow insects in but not out, a small robotic armature picks flies from cobwebs that spiders build into it. The key design metaphor in use here is at once that of a novel energetic recyling machine, and a somewhat cruel spectacle of entrapment that mimics the sophistication of predatorial plants and insects. Although there is a strong element of irony in the project, it nonetheless seems only fitting that our relationships with domestic robots should incorporate some of the darker features that characterize relationships in nature.
About the authors
Auger-Loizeau have been collaborating on projects since the Audio Tooth Implant concept was conceived whilst at the Royal College of Art in 2001. Post R.C.A. they worked at Media Lab Europe in Dublin as research associates. They are currently based in London and lecture at the Royal College of Art and Goldsmiths University. Current research includes collaboration with Bath University on the Material Beliefs project, and a Philips Design funded project researching the sense of smell. Their work has been published and exhibited internationally including MoMA, New York, 21_21, Tokyo and Ars Electronica, Linz. They combine a range of disciplines including engineering, fine art and industrial design to develop products and services that contradict and question current design ideology, where development is mostly aimed towards a super-efficient, multi-functional utopia.
James Auger born in 1970. Tutor/Research Fellow Design Interactions Royal College of Art. MA(RCA) Design Products Royal College of Art, UK 2001 . BA(Hons) Product Design Glasgow School of Art, UK 1995 .
Jimmy Loizeau born in 1968. Tutor/Research Fellow Goldsmiths University, London. MA(RCA) Design Products Royal College of Art, UK 2001 . MA Fine Art Birmingham College of Art, UK 1991. BA(Hons) Fine Art Maidstone College of Art, UK 1989.
Alex Zivanovic has a background in robotic and mechatronic engineering. He is interested in the more creative aspects of robotics and has written several published papers on the work of the cybernetic sculptor, Edward Ihnatowicz. He is a visiting scholar at the Lansdown Centre for Electronic Art at Middlesex University, a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art on both the Design Products and Design Interactions courses and runs numerous courses for Tinker.it, teaching artists and designers how to use the Arduino, an open-source microcontroller system. PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, 1996-2000. MSc. by research in Electronic Engineering, University of Kent, 1994.
BSc. (Hons) in Computer Systems Engineering (Informatics), University of Kent, 1992.
Trevor Harvey has been working internationally as a motion graphics designer for the past 13 years. Following a BA in exhibition design at Brighton University he has worked on a wide range of design / animation projects for television, film, interactive and exhibition in Australia, Tokyo and London. His clients include BBC, ABC, Viasat, Virgin, Sony, Sanyo, Sharp, Issey Miyake, Mamori Oshii, Hensons film company, Foxtel, Deepend London, ESPN and others. He combines film, 2D and 3D animated graphics to create a unique and dynamic style.