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Carnivorous Clock Eats Bugs 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the little-office-of-horrors dept.
Designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau have created a clock that is powered by "eating" bugs. The clock traps insects on flypaper stretched across a roller system and then drops them into a vat of bacteria. The insects are then "digested" and the ensuing chemical reaction is transformed into power that keeps the rollers moving and the LCD clock working. The two offer another version that is powered by mice and an even cooler machine that picks insect fuel from spiderwebs with the help of a robotic arm and a video camera.

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Carnivorous Clock Eats Bugs

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  • Bugs? (Score:4, Funny)

    by bluesatin (1350681) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:39AM (#28530297)
    I won't be buying a first generation one of these, it's bound to have a tonne of bugs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I won't be buying a first generation one of these, it's bound to have a tonne of bugs.

      Hopefully later generations will have more. My question is, how many bugs will it take to run that thing? I don't know how much power you'd get per bug, but I wouldn't be surprised if it really needed a ton of bugs to keep that thing up for a while.

      • by Retric (704075)

        The LCD clock could probably run for a few months per housefly. It's mostly a question of digestion effecency, and other losses.

      • by sgbett (739519)

        I had one, there was a problem with sound, it kept going Tic-Tock.

    • I know it's a joke, but isn't there really an actual glitch? How consistently can you "drop" something off of flypaper? Isn't the point of flypaper to trap the insects so that they DON'T easily come off?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Brandee07 (964634)
        It has a scraper to scrape the bugs off of the paper and into the bug-digesting compartment. I guess that would be the stomach?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Attack DAWWG (997171)
        The bugs are removed with a scraper. Here [newscientist.com] is a pic.
      • by Mursk (928595)
        You can probably remove the bugs pretty easily if you're willing to part with the legs. Probably not much power to be drawn from those, anyway...
    • Re:Bugs? (Score:5, Funny)

      by hargrand (1301911) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:56PM (#28531943)

      Not only that, if this catches on, it'll just be a matter of time before we start running out of bugs in the US and have to start relying on foriegn sources of bugs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:39AM (#28530329)

    Could i please have house alarm from same company please?

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:42AM (#28530389)

    Until people start hacking these and needs more power. Then starts going for human flesh.

  • by nasor (690345) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:45AM (#28530457)
    ...to your laser-blasted skeleton.
  • by mordors9 (665662) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:46AM (#28530485)
    Any chance of Microsoft getting a version that would eat the bugs in VIsta? okay someone was going to say it...
  • Does this have any practical applications, or is it just neat?

  • Oh sure... (Score:5, Funny)

    by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:50AM (#28530569)
    Oh sure, everyone's in favor of bug powered clocks, but as soon as you put a pedestrian catcher on the front of your electric SUV to make city driving more efficient then OHHhhh, suddenly you've gone too far!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 2obvious4u (871996)

      I so wanted to spend a mod point on this, since I have them to give away....

      However, you joke of pedestrians, what about a more "realistic" road kill or still funny but more likely to be "true" cat and dog catcher?

      • by SEWilco (27983)
        Cow catchers have been accepted by our civilization for a long time, so just put a cow catcher on the front of your electric SUV.
    • by jamstar7 (694492)

      Oh sure, everyone's in favor of bug powered clocks, but as soon as you put a pedestrian catcher on the front of your electric SUV to make city driving more efficient then OHHhhh, suddenly you've gone too far!

      Yeah, the people making Soylent Green were bitching that pedestrian catchers cut into their resources.

  • Hmmm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:52AM (#28530625)
    I'd love to take one of these to Alaska in the spring into the early summertime. With the number of mosquitoes living there, I'll bet enough current could be generated to do something more than just power a clock. Mosquitoes in Alaska have been known to be so voracious as to kill a moose that happens upon a swarm. Imagine what millions of these pests could do with this system - bake a chicken or turkey or even provide enough electricity to power a small cabin.
    • You're not looking at the big picture. True efficiency should aim to keep entropy to a minimum and thus delay the heat death of the universe. We would be better served if the mosquitoes weren't hatched in the first place.

      Couple your idea with the satellite microwave power ray and we're onto something.

      -b

  • by ChienAndalu (1293930) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:55AM (#28530695)

    Nice to see that PETA [petacatalog.org] is already all over this.

    These bloodthirsty, gut-wrenching robots, designed by UK-based designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau thrive on killing and liquidizing flies and mice, whilst serving the purpose of⦠well, not much at all really.

    They even have their own vision [petacatalog.org] of insect disposal.

    I wonder if they target antibacterial soap and penicillin next...

    • Damn it first link should be this one [engadget.com].

    • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:07PM (#28530995) Journal

      The universe is hostile, so impersonal; devour to survive, so it is, so it's always been.

      The more PETA irritates me, the more I want to hang dead animals by their necks outside their headquarters at night. And I'm starting to feel encouraged to hang not-quite-dead things that are still wriggling... I used to really like animals....

      • Unfortunately, the Ronald McDonald House is like just down the street. The PETA people have a tendancy to take it out on the kids. Really classy of them, I might add.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Alrescha (50745)

        "The universe is hostile, so impersonal; devour to survive, so it is, so it's always been."

        There is a moral difference between "devour to survive" and "killing living things to power your clock".

        disclaimer: I have no connection, nor do I wish to have any connection, with PETA or any of its members.

        A.
        (who chases flies out the window, where they can meet their demise in some spider's web)

        • by zoips (576749)
          So, what, bacteria don't deserve to survive? We should just let the bacteria in the clock's fuel cell die because someone doesn't like the idea of it surviving?
          • by Alrescha (50745)

            "So, what, bacteria don't deserve to survive?"

            You are referring to the bacteria that we put into the clock?

            Two wrongs don't make a right.

            A.

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          There is a moral difference between "devour to survive" and "killing living things to power your clock".

          How else am I going to know when it's dinner time?

    • by oldspewey (1303305) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:12PM (#28531115)
      I'm of the general opinion that if you manage to piss off PETA, you know you're doing something right.
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Bacteria? They're not even eukaryotes!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by koreaman (835838)

      I personally think Maddox's ideas for stopping Peta are the way forward. http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=sponsor [thebestpag...iverse.net]

    • I wish some super-villain would infect every member of PETA with a bunch of chiggers and ticks that can only be removed from human skin by burning.. just for the irony.

      See how many of them opt to lose a limb rather than treat an insect "unethically"

      • by koreaman (835838)

        Actually, I'm betting the ones at the top who have drunk the most kool-aid would almost certainly choose to lose a limb.

        Too lazy to find a link, but the president of PETA has stated that she would be opposed even to research that was guaranteed with 100% certainty to cure AIDS or cancer (I forget which) if even one animal was used for the research.

        • by ari_j (90255)
          You forget the nature of powerful hypocrites: The second that she is diagnosed with AIDS or cancer, whichever one it is, she'll stop worrying about ethical treatment of animals and worry a lot more about ethical treatment of herself. It's simple human nature. We are the only species that is capable of having a message, and therefore the only species capable of being hypocritical whenever our message runs counter to our own selfish needs.
  • Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

    by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:58AM (#28530757) Homepage
    Talk about a nested series of links. I had to go through 3 separate sites- Slashdot, Endgadget, and Hack-a-Day, one linked to the other, until I got to the original New Scientist gallery photos which had many more interesting robot pictures. Oh, and the end link wasn't to page 1 of the photo gallery and the links weren't obvious each time either. For those who don't want to go the long way around, here is the original link. [newscientist.com]
    • by jmorris42 (1458) *

      Know what is even funnier? I saw this one Friday afternoon. On a political humor blog [www.imao.us] no less; and the punch line is Frank J. pointed the link at newscientist directly. Here on News for Nerds we get the blog pointing to blog version days later.

    • video [newscientist.com].
  • by weave (48069) * on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @11:59AM (#28530813) Journal

    Instead of linking to a blog that talks about another blog that refers to and links to the original story, why not just link to the original source to save us from 5 click throughs and give the original authors credit as well?

    Original story: Domestic robots with a taste for flesh [newscientist.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Instead of linking to a blog that talks about another blog that refers to and links to the original story, why not just link to the original source to save us from 5 click throughs and give the original authors credit as well?

      Because slashdot is a website that is powered by these clicks. Each time you click on a hyperlink your mouse generates 1 joule of energy that gets faxed to the slashdot server farm using the technology patented by Dilbert.

    • Instead of linking to a blog that talks about another blog that refers to and links to the original story, why not just link to the original source to save us from 5 click throughs and give the original authors credit as well?

      Maybe because the submitter needs more hits on his blog? Just a thought....

    • by 7 digits (986730)

      Thx for the link. Too bad the video is powered by "The video you are trying to watch is currently unavailable" brightcove.com flash player of doom... Never had that piece of shit display a single video on firefox, nor give any adequate error message...

  • Druuge ships, Star Control II.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Druuge ships, Star Control II.

      You know, I always thought it was pretty weird how your crew would be mad at you if you sold a bunch of them to the Druuge, but they never seemed to care when dozens of them would die because I was too drunk to avoid smacking the ship into a planet.

  • it occurs to me that there is a minor flaw in powering a robot clock on household pests- namely that the goal of a pest-eating device is to rid you of said pests. Once it eats all the flies, the clock stops working... so you have to encourage more flies. Or mice in the case of the mouse-eater. That sounds like it might have a down side.
  • more direct link (Score:2, Informative)

    by hohokus (253713)
    More direct link, more details, related contraptions (eats mice!): http://www.newscientist.com/gallery/dn17367-carnivorous-domestic-entertainment-robots/1 [newscientist.com]
  • always a catch (Score:5, Informative)

    by iroll (717924) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:21PM (#28531313) Homepage

    I figured it was too good to be true:

    Although, for now, the robots rely on mains power [newscientist.com], Auger believes they could become truly self-sufficient.

    I like technology-as-art projects, but it'd be much cooler if these things actually *were* powered by bug juice--that is, more like bug powered 75% of the time, with a battery backup or a solar panel (or both) for those days when all the flies have already been eaten--rather than just being combination clock-and-bug-zappers. I'd be interested to see their average power production vs. power consumption.

  • Needs mobility (Score:4, Informative)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:25PM (#28531373) Homepage Journal
    This is nothing new, in fact there was an even better robot 5 or 6 years ago in Popular Mechanics that did the same biological digestion-to-electricity conversion, but that one was MOBILE. So theoretically it could walk around catching and eating insects and deriving its power needs from that. Don't know what became of it though, I suppose there were no commercial applications.

    Now if the digestion can be made efficient enough, and if it can catch enough food to store enough surplus energy, maybe it could be made to breed!
  • by SnarfQuest (469614) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:44PM (#28531749)

    Democrat school playground. Fewer moronic bad-science laws.

  • Obviously we don't need to worry about carcasses, but if we can turn offal into power via bacteria that eats it... Think about it. Full-circle power AND recycling.

  • This seems a little over kill (pun intended) to me.

  • ... to it's twitter feed. Hahaha.. I wonder if I can mod this to a bug zapper that powers itself?
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:09PM (#28532179) Homepage Journal

    And for the alarm, the clock says

    "help me! help me! help me!"

  • In summary (Score:5, Funny)

    by xcut (1533357) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:35PM (#28532631)
    "It recharges on the fly"
  • Everything that eats is bound to take a crap as well. Probably regular as clockwork too.

  • Ewww!
  • My iPhone needs more flies to finishing playing this video.

    My eight core, dual GPU PC runs on a large bucket of cockroaches every day.

  • "The pair offers an alternative design fueled by mice."

    That's so cool and so wrong at the same time. Because if you can feed it mice, then why not cats and dogs, or maybe a couple of humans...? The last thing I want is people to figure out that other people are useful as fuel. Too many humans on the Earth, looming energy crisis... could be more brutal than a George Romero movie.

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