Sašo Sedlaček's Beggar Robot is a low-tech friendly device constructed of old computer hardware and spare parts. Beggar, a robot for the materially deprived, can act on behalf of the socially endangered while ensuring their anonymity and preserving their basic human dignity.
The Beggar project is above all the messenger of the news that too many of the world's inhabitants are getting poorer not richer and that’s unfortunately bad news for us all. Too much of still functional technological garbage is being produced in the world today because people in the countries of the first world want to live in abundance of technological devices. Many of these were primarily developed by the military for the protection of the rich and their interests from the impoverished. This is why new strategies must be developed. And Beggar, a robot for the materially deprived is one of them. It is made of old electronics and computer spare parts. It is a free software and free hardware project so anyone can freely copy the robot.
The original 1.0 version of the robot was made for European shopping malls where it is forbidden to beg, but no such rule was made for robots. Thus Beggar can act on behalf of the socially endangered while ensuring their anonymity and preserving their basic human dignity. The experiment showed that the richer segment of society shows more sympathy towards marginalized groups if they communicate from a safe distance and via a technological interface. The upgrade 2.0 version of Beggar robot was made in Japan at IAMAS Institute and tested on Tokyo streets where begging isn’t really a frequent phenomena and where interface communication is ubiquitous. The new version runs on Linux and has some extra sensors installed so it can say thanks when receiving the money. It is a more advanced version of the first one which was really a simple, basic and easy to copy robot. New version will also soon be available for anyone for free download.
technical realization: Pavle & Sašo Sedlaček
speech: speaker 1.1, Synthesizer of Slovene speech, Jure Leskovec, Inštitut Jožef Štefan, Ljubljana
special thanks: Sipronika d.o.o. , Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana - Culture Department