Don’t Litter, Spank Machine

Before coming into the Design and Technology program at Parsons, all students had to participate in a three week Bootcamp course. During Bootcamp, one of our exercises was to create a speculative design prototype. For me, that prototype was the Don’t Litter, Spank Machine. I am troubled by how little people care about the environment, even on a small scale. Littering is a huge problem that we are facing in our society today, and it seems as though no matter how much we try to prevent and stop the issue, people could not care less. There is a trash can on practically every block in NYC, yet the streets are littered with garbage.


Don’t Litter, Spank Machine is a speculative design piece. It lives in a world plagued by an uncontrollable waste and littering problem leaving the government with no alternative solutions than to assign each of its residents with said machine. If the machine detects its owner littering, it will punish its owner by spanking their butt. To combat this problem, the city will assign a Don’t Litter, Spank Machine to each of its residents starting from the age they are able to produce waste. The reason that the machine spanks is that spanking is a universal form of punishment for all children. It does not matter what country the individual is from, spanking will always be recognized as punishment for bad behavior. By subjecting perpetrator to an embarrassing form of punishment in public, the government is hopeful that they will stop littering.

The spank machine is operated on an ultrasonic sensor, when the machine detects litter in front of it at a certain distance, the servo will be activated, therefore spanking the litterer. The body is an eleven inch by eleven inch cube on five inch diameter wheels. Ideally, the wheels would allow motion giving it the ability to follow its owner. Located in the front of the spank machine is an opening giving the ultrasonic sensor a view of its path ahead.

The spank machine is purposefully made to be big and clunky. It is as much speculative design as it is critical design. As technology advances, people are relying more on it, we need technology for each and every action we partake in in our daily lives, we have chips and sensors everywhere; watches that we can text from, and phones that are also computers. There is no plausible situation in which the spank machine would ever come to exist, because it is too big and trivial to be practical, and it only has one function, to spank. Because it seems like there is no more incentives left to get people to not litter, perhaps this is the only solution left, spank for cleaner streets.