New ways of Being with Technology: Beggar Robots

Increasingly, the marginalized and materially deprived are not allowed to ask for money in public spaces, and the well-off are remiss to give money to the homeless. However, what if the beggar is a robot?

The Beggar Robot project designed by Pavle & Sašo Sedlacek tests the hypothesis that the “haves” of society will show more sympathy to the “have-nots” if they communicate from a safe distance via a technological interface. Socially excluded people can rent the Beggar Robot for a day and exploit the possibilities of technology to beg for $$$ in the name of the poor.

The Beggar Robot 1.0 was first tested in 2006 in the biggest shopping center in Ljubljana, Slovenia (where they do not allow humans to beg, but excitedly and curiously welcomed the Beggar Robot). Beggar Robot 2.0 is now bringing robotic charity to public spaces in other countries, adapting to the local context and language using open source software. Built using scrap parts recycled from junkyards and second hand stores, the Beggar Robot bears a consciousness for a world dominated by the ideology of endless development. Will we start to see Beggar Robots of the Next Generation on every street corner in the future? What happens when the novelty wears off?

Ingredients for “Žicar/Beggar”
2 – 4 old computer boxes
Accumulator or Computer power supply (both can be included)
1 or 2 CD-rom units for hands
Small TV
Sensor of motion
DVD or WHS player
1.5 A voltage regulator 12/5 V=
Inverter 12V=/220V Hz 100W
Relay 220V Hz
Pulser 0-20 sec. and Relay 12V=
Amplifier for speakers (optional)

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