Drone Eats Drone consists of two reaper drones terminally crashing into each other. They are riding around on a hacked and reprogrammed Roomba vacuum cleaner.

A bucolic country house on the hacked robot base, with mini-humans and cows. This rebuilt and hacked portends the coming age of autonomous drones flying into our domestic airspaces worldwide.

Closeup of house on Drone eats Drone: American Scream by Ken Rinaldo at LA COMPAGNIE, Marseilles France, 2013 invited by Isabelle Arvers. Photo Myriam Boyer

As many who study technology and the issues of borders know, drones, in particular, have become the weapon of choice for nations and states to cross borders and carry out undeclared war. These drones and their technology are playing an increasing role in world politics, particularly in the military-industrial complexes in the United States and worldwide. Drone Eat Drone: American Scream 2013 was commissioned by Isabelle Arvers, and Cedric Parizot at www.antiatlas.net/en/ for an exhibition focused on refugees and borders.

The work questions and challenges the act of continuous war and the effect on civilian populations, especially in regions targeted, such as Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, where the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (www.thebureauinvestigates.com/) out of the United Kingdom estimates that over nine years, out of 372 flights 400 civilians were confirmed dead, 94 of them children.

Drone eats Drone: American Scream by Ken Rinaldo 2013 at La Companie commissioned by Isabel Arvers. Photo Myriam Boyer

As lobbyists work to fund more military robots, we are on the cusp of autonomous drones, which can algorithmically decide if a person is an “enemy combatant” or not.

This work critiques and conceptually crashes the business of IRobot, known for its domestic vacuum cleaner the Roomba, to point out that these companies are also massive producers of military robots for our military-industrial complex.

Drone eats Drone: American Scream by Ken Rinaldo 2013 at La Companie commissioned by Isabel Arvers. Photo Myriam Boyer

This work questions the notion of borders, where a few countries or businesses who are able o lobby governments can purchase and use these technologies and, in the process, fundamentally challenge the notion of national autonomy and borders.

Closeup of Reaper drones crashing into each other riding Drone eats Drone: American Scream by Ken Rinaldo 2013. Photo Myriam Boyer

The work is itself an autonomous robot, as it uses the intelligence programmed by the artist, who has highjacked the digital programming and logic of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, which shares some algorithmic similarities to military robots.

It conflates other countries’ land with the terrain of your living room (home). It seeks to join and help others understand the relationships between domestic consumer goods (vacuuming your rug with Roomba), the rug and home as territory, and the military-industrial complexes, which increasingly manipulate, control, and create foreign policy through military robotics and autonomous killing machines.


Photos and Video Myriam Boyer


LA COMPAGNIE, Marseilles France, 2013-2014 commissioned by Isabelle Arvers and Cedric Parizot at www.antiatlas.net/en/


Design, 3D modeling, Electronics hacking, programming: Ken Rinaldo


The brains and microcontroller within the Roomba were hacked, and I added another microcontroller on top of theirs to intercept and reprogram the base to respond through sensor input, which looks for human movement.

Human movement triggers the work to function with passive infrared sensors mounted on the robot. When work sees no action, it returns to its recharge station.

Lessons on building and programming interactive robots.


An 8 x 8 feet ring composed of common materials like wood, stones, and brick can also function on a raised wooden platform 4 x 4 feet in dimensions. The robot finds an auto-charging station and docks itself as part of the “returning to base” procedure.
Power: AC 115-220 volts 50-60Hz.

The plug needs to be near the ring, and the wall cannot be a barrier with this robot.


3D modeling, interactive, robots, border art, nonviolence, autonomy


Wired Magazine, Ken Rinaldo: Drone Eat Drone, American Scream BY BRUCE STERLING   02.06.14
Zibeline No 71 du 12/02/2014 pg 62 coverage of the Drone Eats Drone: Ameican Scream work in AntiAtlas of Borders Exhibition
The Army of Drones by Annick Revoure, http://creative.arte.tv/fr/magazine/armee-des-drones, Drone Eats Drone
DigitalArti Digital Art & Innovation, review AntiAtlas show, and my work,
Deuxième épisode de l’antiAtlas des frontières à Marseille | digitalarti.com, 12/11/13
Furtherfield.org, Bypassing Cartography- part 1 review AntiAtlas show and my work by Marc Garrett – 16/10/2013