A robot that begs for money has stepped off the grounds of an inventor’s fair and into the streets. His realistic hobo disguise can fool some of the brightest pedestrians. Only after he does a little musical act do people slowly start to realize that this isn’t a real person they are talking to. The robot’s human master has fun fooling people while controlling his creation, just out of sight of the crowd.
Dirk the Homeless Robot is a creation of Electric Circus founder Fred Abels. The robot is just one of his many creations. You’ll have to brush up on your Dutch before you visit the website of the Netherlands-based inventor so you can see all of his creations. He takes various electronic and robotic devices with him on tour and performs shows.
This particular streetside performance is taking place at the Maker Faire in Nantes, France.
— Baptiste (@Experimentboy) July 19, 2016
Abels is playing mind tricks with people. He told Make how people usually react upon meeting Dirk. “So everybody thinks he’s real. Slowly they find out, through quite a long process, that it might be a robot. It’s very confusing for people. They really get totally confused. Mostly amused. Sometimes a bit angry.
They don’t know how to behave.” If one of the folks roaming around downtown in your neighborhood actually turned out to be a robot, that would indeed be a shocking find. I heard a story once about a man who did encounter something even more scary, a real life human rebuilt with robot parts and internals, a cyborg of sorts. But I can’t confirm that as I didn’t see it myself, and hope I never do.
Abels isn’t the only inventor that attends these fairs. The Maker Faire travels across the world and brings out the top inventors.
Make magazine and the Maker Faire were founded by Dale Dougherty. He held the first ever Maker Faire in San Francisco in 2006.
Since then, Dougherty’s work has been a rallying cry for inventors and DIYers of all sorts to come together under one umbrella, and term themselves “makers.”
Maker Media also has a social network for inventors called MakerSpace, which has also inspired numerous real life work spaces where inventors can get together and work on their inventions. Inventors like Fred Abels and his partner Mirjam Langemeijer thrive in such environments, and use them as inspiration and models for their various pursuits.
There were 150 Maker Faires around the world last year, and Dougherty returned to head Maker Media as CEO earlier this year, after some time away. He talked about his inspiration for the work he does and why he returned.
“I’ve had more than a few people say that I am lucky to have the best job in the world. I get to meet enthusiastic makers, young and old.
“I get to talk with passionate educators who want to introduce more children to the practices of making, as well as parents who recognize that making can be fun for the whole family. I try to stay in touch with maker professionals who are creating products and starting businesses.
“I also get to see for myself how a wide range of communities are creating makerspaces and organizing Maker Faires. Indeed, I am lucky to experience the wonder, creativity, and inventiveness shared by makers around the world.”
— Philippe Destré (@Webelis) July 10, 2016
Out of the numerous mini and regular sized Maker Faires, a few remain the main gatherings for inventors. These include the ones in New York, San Francisco, Rome, as well as a new one in Washington, D.C.
Unless people stop inventing new things, the movements seems as if it can only continue to grow.