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Internet heroes: 

YouTube inventor Simone Giertz brings STEM to the masses


Simone Giertz’s Breakfast Machine makes an impressive mess. Not such a good breakfast.

You might not yet know the name Simone Giertz, but you might have seen her latest video. The Wake-up Machine (see below) has amassed around 80 million views since it was uploaded two weeks ago, split between her own YouTube channel and reposts on Facebook’s content recycling networks.

It’s not the only robot built by the Swedish vlogger – in fact, it’s sort of her thing. As well as the chaotic wake-up machine, there’s also the breakfast machine and the toothbrush machine – both equally unsuccessful but equally entertaining additions to anyone’s morning routine.

But then, to judge Giertz’s creations on how well they do their job is sort of missing the point. The young robot enthusiast is really just interested in building things, and – more importantly – having some fun along the way. That enthusiasm is infectious, and she hopes that her YouTube channel can inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

We caught up with Giertz to find out more about her recent creations. Remind yourself of the wake up machine and then read our conversation below.

How did you get started building robots?

I ran a startup around three years ago and was really frustrated that I couldn’t build my own website. So I started teaching myself programming. Very soon I started getting a bunch of ideas that involved hardware so then I had to teach myself about electronics too.

To me, ideas are like terribly annoying sales people. They just keep calling you on the phone, stop you in the streets and spam your inbox. And the only way to make them go away is to build them.

Your Wake-up machine looks effective, but also painful. How painful was it?

I’ve trained a bunch of MMA so I was like “BRING IT ON, ARM. JUST BRING IT ON.”

We also really liked your breakfast machine – do you still use it it ever?

I like building useless things. Not a huge fan of using them on a regular basis.

Your robots have mostly tackled morning routines so far. Are you a morning person?

Some days! But some days is not most days.

Do you own a lot of gadgets generally? Which are most useful?

I’m starting to get a pretty good artillery of hardware. But no, I’m not a gadget person in the sense that I like expensive, high-end gear. I mostly like stuff I can pick apart. Most useful is definitely my laptop. That one is hard to compete with.

You’ve got a lot of subscribers recently. What have been the best and weirdest comments?

Best reactions are people who are like “I never thought I’d watch a 6 minute video about transistors and amps, but I just did. And I enjoyed it”. The weird ones haven’t been that weird to be honest. Mostly things you’d expect, like “SHOW ME YOUR BOOBS” and “this is why women shouldn’t be in STEM”. C’mon. If you’re going to troll, at least try to be original.

What advice would you give somebody who wants to make their own robots?

Just have fun. I think many people kill their own enthusiasm by being too concerned whether the projects they build are actually useful.

Who are your internet heroes? 

There’s this 103 year old woman here in Sweden that blogs and is online-dating. She’s the coolest.

Any more projects / robots in the pipeline?

Subscribe to my Youtube channel and you’ll find out! SHAMELESS PLUG.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Random fact: I hate getting flowers when I speak at events. Give me something I can eat instead of plants I’m supposed to enjoy watching die.

You can keep up with Simone Giertz’s latest creations by subscribing on YouTube, or following her on Twitter.

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