Your garbage, his treasure
Mickey Miller shows off his Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon while riding his Recyclobot
Vic Miller says he’s earned a reputation around his West End neighborhood as the guy who collects stuff nobody wants. That fifth grade Huffy buried in the garage? Miller’s passion is to tinker with it until it becomes a cool new contraption.
The amateur inventor of sorts spent the past three months of weekends holed up in the garage with his 16-year-old son Mickey creating Recyclobot, an 8 foot tall, pedal-powered robot. The pair showed off their creation to fanfare at Maker Faire Detroit (the annual convergence of “makers” of DIY projects around the area during the last weekend of July). They won the Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon. They will appear on the PBS science show NOVA in October explaining their months-long process of using household cast-offs like old bikes and a Soviet-era world globe to create Recyclobot.
Miller says he’s not an environmentalist, per se, but this type of resourceful creativity happens to be an eco-friendly outlet. “I’m certainly not any kind of activist but I’m a curious person and I like to create a lot,” Miller says. “Sustainability is pretty important to me. It’s almost the key to living. All these materials are available in some form for free.” It was also a chance to do some classic father-son bonding — “what a wonderful cliche to actually experience,” Miller says — documented on recyclobot.tumblr.com. And that ribbon? Framed beneath the glass from a recycled computer scanner, of course. —AO