Having never lost that passion for artificial intelligence, he is creating some of his own through his company, Gear Box Robots.
The Oklahoma City-based business uses cast-aside items to form good-as-new, gleaming ’bots. Some serve a specific purpose, as incense burners, shelves or beverage holders, while others are designed purely for aesthetic pleasure.
“We are very much into recycling and reusing,” said Doneti. “Just because something is old and can no longer serve its original function, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used.”
While driving, he is known to pull over to the side of the road to gather thrown-away items he believes would make great body parts for a robot.
At his studio, a room stands packed with what others might call trash, but Doneti calls treasure. The items are separated by potential body part: heads, legs and necks.
Each ’bot has a name and a story.
There’s Stanly Steamer, a 1950s-style model with the body of an old hat steamer. One of the most elaborate of the bunch is Lady Leanna, whose body is constructed from a film canister and adorned with jewelry.
A full lineup can be seen at gearboxrobots.com.
Gear Box prices its robots based on the products used and the function served, and the team takes custom orders. Patrons can express a vision they have for a new robot or bring in a recycled item to use in its construction.
“Our team is very whimsical in the way that we construct our robots,” Doneti said. “They’ll make you smile.”