Feral Robotic Dogs
Vestal designers purchased cheap robotic toy dogs, reverse engineered their CPU’s, and reprogrammed them to “hunt” toxic waste. Building upon this experience, later models (pictured above) were built from scratch to meet the all-terrain needs of the urban environment.
Robotics for the Masses
Exploiting the markets of scale of the toy industry, specifically in the realm of entertainment robotics, the Feral Robotic Dog project provides a readymade, inexpensive and highly distributed robotic hardware platform. The “toy” robotic dogs currently on the international market provide the most inexpensive source of compatible motors, actuation, and sensing mechanisms available ($15-$200 for the dog adaptation).
Isn’t it ironic that EPA reports are often illegible to those who live in the areas they address? If kids are playing in a playground built on a possible toxic waste site, they’re much more likely to understand a dog searching for toxins than a man in a white suit. Mediagenic technologies promote transparency and information legibility in an age when the problem isn’t getting enough information, it’s understanding it all.
Link to Natalie Jeremijenko’s Feral Robotics website