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iRobot Develops Hamster-Guided Robotic Vacuum 108

Posted by timothy
from the cat-powered-would-be-too-smart dept.
carusoj writes "The folks at iRobot apparently have plenty of time on their hands. They created a prototype wireless, robotic vacuum cleaner... powered by a hamster running inside a spinning ball. The rodent's movements with the ball are fed to and analyzed by a complex set of sensors, which then guide the actual vacuum device to mimic the animal's speed and direction. You can see where this is going: it's a clever ploy to then get you to buy a second robot that would automatically feed, water, and clean up after the hamster in the first robot."
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iRobot Develops Hamster-Guided Robotic Vacuum

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  • by wiredog (43288) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:01PM (#27067669) Journal

    Isn't iRobot the company that got the Big DoD Contract to make battlebots? Are we about to see the use of Militarized Hamsters in combat? Will our heroic soldiers be replaced by Rodent Guided Missiles?

    Is "Rodent Guided Missiles" a Great Name For A Rock Band, or what?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:04PM (#27067713)

    that keeps Richard Gere running

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:07PM (#27067753)
    All I know is that after I'm done sucking myself off with the vaccuum cleaner, I can insert the hamster in my ass. A twofer!

    Steve Jobs? Are you listening?!
  • They'll all be named "Boo" and be given extensive training in how to go for the eyes!!!

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:10PM (#27067789)

    Isn't iRobot the company that got the Big DoD Contract to make battlebots? Are we about to see the use of Militarized Hamsters in combat? Will our heroic soldiers be replaced by Rodent Guided Missiles?

    I was going to ask the same thing. In WWII the military had a pigeon-guided bomb where the bird was trained to peck at an image on a CRT and the bomb would center on that pecking. Seemed impossibly Rube Golburg but it was supposed to have worked. Never was deployed in combat. They had another one where tiny incendiary charges were attached to bats. The idea was that bombers would fly over Japan with these bat bombs at the ready. The bombs would be dropped over the target, descend by parachute and the sides would pop off so the bats could fly out. They would look for roof overhangs to nest under and their bombs would go off soon thereafter, setting fire to entire cities. The concept was proven sound when the bat people burned down half of their own research camp but the war was over before they could be put into action.

    I fear the only way to defeat these hamster-guided killer robots will be to put cats in robots of their own. But then someone will put dogs in the robots and to defeat the dogs someone will put Koreans in robots and it all ends with gorillas freezing in the snow.

  • by quantumghost (1052586) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:18PM (#27067889) Journal

    Looks like a clear case of prior art:

    http://www.xkcd.com/413/ [xkcd.com]

  • by macxcool (1370409) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:43PM (#27068191)
    ... on the other hand 'Helpless flock of sheep' gets you the very cool 'hjelpelÃs flokk med sauer'.

    Much, much better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:48PM (#27068273)

    Here's my idea: make automobiles powered like this. What if you had a human-sized ball that you "walked" in, which in turn moved and steered your car? Scale the speed, so that a normal walking speed moved the vehicle 30mph or so; a jog could be 60mph, etc, whatever scales to your timing. Turn a 30 minute drive into a 30 minute walk/jog. Get to work, and get your exercise, too!

    Heck, even find a way to convert the movement to electricity to power the car...hmmmmmm.....

  • Isn't iRobot the company that got the Big DoD Contract to make battlebots? Are we about to see the use of Militarized Hamsters in combat? Will our heroic soldiers be replaced by Rodent Guided Missiles?

    I was going to ask the same thing. In WWII the military had a pigeon-guided bomb where the bird was trained to peck at an image on a CRT and the bomb would center on that pecking. Seemed impossibly Rube Golburg but it was supposed to have worked. Never was deployed in combat. They had another one where tiny incendiary charges were attached to bats. The idea was that bombers would fly over Japan with these bat bombs at the ready.

    Back in the days of the opium wars, the chinese had a plan to catapult flaming monkeys onto british boats, in the hope that the panicking simians would run into the powder reserves and blow up the ship.

  • Davros? (Score:2, Funny)

    by OshMan (1246516) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:56PM (#27068391)
    Clearly this is the prototype for the first Dalek. I'll bet it can't vacuum stairs either.
  • by Kamokazi (1080091) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @03:13PM (#27068601)

    Just put a tazer in it to randomly shock the rodent, that way he doesnt think any path is safe. Problem solved :-)

    Well that one at least. You'll need some of iRobot's more serious military projects to handle the PETA onslaught after you add the taser.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @03:31PM (#27068817)

    Hey there, Count Buzz-Kill, enough of your "reasoning" and "making sense".

    The FACT of the matter is, the phrase Hamster-Guided Robotic Vacuum is, in of itself, incredibly cool.

    Who cares if it works well, I for one would buy a dozen of these things and put them in my back yard... with my cat. THAT outta keep them from staying on the same path for long....

A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exceptions of handguns and Tequilla. -- Mitch Ratcliffe

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