If you've recently seen a video of a robot elegantly doing something dumb, chances are it was the work of Simone Giertz. She has quickly become, as some put it, the queen of shitty robots. Maybe elegant isn't the right word to describe an alarm clock that slaps you in the face. Many of Simone's hilarious inventions are a mesmerising blend of Jetsons-like wonder with a twist of dark humour. They're automatic contraptions meant to streamline life — almost!
But only recently did I realise that all these robots I've seen spawning GIFs across the web — the internet arguing machine, the automatic lipstick machine — were the work of a sole inventor. (Of course, Simone's real goal with these crazy robots is to encourage people to learn about electronics.) Now Simone has joined the Tested team, and her first project, a collaboration with Adam Savage, is a head-mounted automatic popcorn dispenser.
As life improvement through technology is often our goal here, I reached out to the robotics inventor to learn a little about how she works.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden Current Gig: Running my Youtube channel and co-hosting Tested with Adam Savage and Norm Chan. One word that best describes how you work: Creative chaos. That's two words. F**k the system. Current mobile device: An iPhone 6S. Current computer: A late 2013 Macbook Pro with OS X El Capitan.
What apps, software or tools can't you live without?
The internet. It's like Narnia but instead of going into a wardrobe you just open your browser. I'm also really fond of having hands.
What's your workspace setup like?
I'm currently a parasite on my friend Håkan's office and workshop. We are three people here, building everything from drum machines to super hero gear.
What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack? Do you automate something that used to be a time sink? Do you relegate email to an hour a day?
Getting a manager was a pretty amazing life hack. Suddenly I have time to go off on brain tangents and practise my handstand between meetings. As for emails, I reply to the urgent (and fun) ones throughout the day and try to go through everything about twice a week. But still sometimes my inbox collapses on itself and becomes a black hole that just won't let me go.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
Wunderlist is the only one I've used really. I like it.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?
My bike. I bike pretty much everywhere. It's also great for talking to yourself.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
Humility. I beat everyone at humility.
What do you listen to while you work? Got a favourite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence?
I focus better when there's sound around me and I tend to listen to music when I work. But lately I've just had this AWESOME live broadcast of an eagle's nest on in the background. My mum and I have been obsessing over those birds the last couple of weeks and have a whole chat thread dedicated to it. Birds are the best.
What are you currently reading? A novel, comic book, website, magazine?
I read a lot of books, mainly fantasy. Currently reading The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell. Not loving it so far, but at least it makes me fall asleep.
How do you recharge?
I dance lindy hop, hang out with the type of friend whose fridge you can scour without asking and do anything I can to stay off my phone and computer. I basically put myself on an internet diet every weekend.
What's your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
I sleep around eight hours a night and become very very whiny and grumpy if I don't. My sister calls me "the orc" when I'm operating on too little sleep. Contrary to popular belief, I use a regular alarm clock and not the Wake-up Machine.
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _________ answer these same questions.
80 year old Simone. I bet she's pretty badarse.
What's the best advice you've ever received? Doesn't have to be work or productivity-related.
Not using nail polish remover to wash off eye make-up was a pretty sound one. Thanks mum.
We've asked heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.