One-eyed 'Gimme' robot wants your money

A robot sculpture by artist Chris Eckert follows viewers around the room and shakes its little money can until it gets change.

Gimme
It's watching you! (Click to enlarge.) Chris Eckert

A persistent little one-eyed robot may be giving telemarketers and charity street solicitors a run for their money when it comes to collecting change.

Made of polychrome metal, the two-axis motorized sculpture follows viewers around the room with its shiny veined eyeball and shakes its money can to not so subtly demand donations. Called Gimme, it stands 10x5x9 inches, is controlled by an Arduino Pro Mini, and has a distinctly steampunk feel.

But whimsical as it appears at first glance, the robot designed and built by artist Chris Eckert started out as a serious statement.

Jogging along the Guadalupe River in San Jose, Calif., with his young son in a stroller, Eckert often encounters homeless people asking for change. "It inspires a wide variety of emotions: sympathy, fear, anger," the artist admits.

As a board member for the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Eckert recently was asked to solicit contributions for the institute's capital campaign. "I was on the other side of the cup and found that I inspired the same emotions in my friends and colleagues that I feel on these morning runs," he says.

So he decided to build an automated panhandler robot to help him out, which is how Gimme came to join such other Eckert creations as Armageddon Cap and Auto Masochist.

And in case you're in the market to raise some money of your own, Gimme the fund-raising helper will be sold at the San Jose Institute's annual fall auction on October 23.

(Via Bot Junkie)

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

 

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