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It's funny.  Laugh. Robotics

iRobot Develops Hamster-Guided Robotic Vacuum 108

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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  • that won't work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @03:03PM (#27067689)
    You'll never get an even cleaning. All small rodents like that are genetically programmed to use the same paths over and over to get from point A to point B once it's proven safe. That's why setting snare traps in the wild works to catch rabbits and mice and stuff. They always use the same path once they've been on it a few times and found no snake lairs or anything dangerous on it. Even domesticated ones do the same thing in your house most of the time so you'd probably get like 30% coverage tops.
  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @03:18PM (#27067877)

    Years ago, they came out with a device that was good for its time. It was a dust-buster doing a random walk.

    Now they're on their 5th generation model. And it's a slightly better dust-buster which does a random walk. But it talks.

    Were there some smart people there at first and they all left?

    Why have they produced so little in all this time?

  • Re:that won't work (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @03:26PM (#27067971)

    Paths? Do hamsters even follow paths with a ball? Has anyone proven that they don't just run to ESCAPE the ball, with no thought about what's outside the ball except "freedom"?

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