News and Events

Talking Trash at the UW

An unidentified KIRO Television reporter attempts to interview the talking trash can.

Last week a group of "unidentified" EE students puzzled Red Square passers-by with what has to go down as one of the best April Fools stunts ever pulled off on campus. As explained by Andy Crick an anonymous source:

"A few weeks ago a group of EE students 'borrowed' a trash can from outside Mary Gates Hall and (after cleaning it!) converted it to a remote operated vehicle (ROV), or, if you like, a robotic trash can (RTC). In addition to motors and a remote control wireless link (RCWL), they equipped it with a squirt gun (SG) and a camera (to help aim the squirt gun), along with a speaker connected by wireless (SCBW) to a remote microphone (RM).

"Then, at noon on April first they placed it innocently in Red Square and retired to a set of third floor windows to drive it.

"Some of the antics included having the can follow people around, squirting them (but never right at them, just close to them) [Ed. note: Sure, Andy, whatever you say], and begging them for trash.

"The range of reactions to this was amazingly broad. Some people would laugh and talk back to the trash can; some would simply pretend that it didn't exist; others would walk nervously away looking back over their shoulders; and still others would gently veer away from it as they saw it approaching them."