The XX Factor

Little Furniture Shop of Horrors

James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau are worried about your appliances gently rusting to death in the event of a human apocalypse. So they’ve made household items that can sustain themselves by catching and eat pests . According to New Scientist ,

The pests are lured in and digested by an internal microbial fuel cell. This exploits the way microbes generate free electrons and hydrogen ions when oxidising chemicals for energy. Electronics can be powered by directing the electrons around an external circuit before reuniting them with the ions.

There’s a fly-paper covered alarm clock , a mouse-trapping coffee table , and even a Venus fly-trap-like lamp . My favorite, though, is the fly-stealing robot . Designed to lure spiders into building their webs between its pegs and then to steal their flies, it serves no purpose whatsoever except as strange wall-mounted performance art. (I leave it up to my colleage Nick to decide whether a fly-eating wall hanging is in good taste-or just tastes good.)

In an interview with New Scientist , Auger said, “If the system fails, the grid goes down and all humans die, these robots could go on living so long as the flies don’t go with us.” But the critical question is this: if furniture eats flesh but isn’t itself alive, does it count as a zombie? Because I want to see Sean of the Dead remade with ravenous coffee tables and bloodthirsty lamps.