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iRobot Develops Hamster-Guided Robotic Vacuum

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the cat-powered-would-be-too-smart dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 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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Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (4, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067669)

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?

"Rodent Guided Missiles" (1)

cdpage (1172729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067751)

Yes it is. I just might call my Rock Band name that!

Re:"Rodent Guided Missiles" (1)

von_rick (944421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067795)

Translate "Rodent Guided Missiles" into Norwegian and you would have a name for a death metal band as well.

Nah, just add an umlaut (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067883)

Preferably over the "R"

Re:"Rodent Guided Missiles" (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068141)

Google translate sez:

Gnager Guidet missiler

Color me "meh".

Re:"Rodent Guided Missiles" (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068751)

On the other hand, in German it's

Nagetier-Lenkflugkörper

though that's just "Rodent" and "Guided missile" concatenated. For a missile *guided by* a rodent, it would be:

Nagetier-Geführter Flugkörper

A little more forbidding-looking and you even have an umlaut there. But it doesn't roll off the tongue.

Re:"Rodent Guided Missiles" (1)

macxcool (1370409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068161)

Translate "Rodent Guided Missiles" into Norwegian and you would have a name for a death metal band as well.

I don't know. Google translate produces 'Gnager Guidet Missles' when you try that. Not a great band name by anyone's criteria.

Re:"Rodent Guided Missiles" (3, Funny)

macxcool (1370409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068191)

... on the other hand 'Helpless flock of sheep' gets you the very cool 'hjelpelÃs flokk med sauer'.

Much, much better.

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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?!

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (4, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067759)

They'll all be named "Boo" and be given extensive training in how to go for the eyes!!!

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (1)

orielbean (936271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27070375)

Robot not Miniature Giant Space Hampsters. I hope Bioware works Minsc and Boo into Dragon Age...

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (3, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068281)

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.

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068503)

The mix of robots and animals need not be so nefarious. The prime job of my roomba and my scooba is to clean up after my parrot. Instead of newspaper, there's a plastic mat beneath his cage and play area. Roomba cleans up all of the bits of food and torn matter that he drops, and then the scooba cleans up his dried messes.

Pretty undignified use of technology, of course. On the scale of "robots I'd like to be reincarnated as", they'd rank pretty near the bottom ;)

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068987)

The war wasn't over, it's just that the atom bomb development had come far enough along that they didn't need it. As you say though, it was quite effective.

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27069275)

I don't know why no one has praised your Simpsons reference before now, but accept my kudos, good man!

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069385)

From what I remember, they main reason they cancelled the project was when they had a "technical" mistake. They dropped the bats out in the desert as a test, but unfortunately, they were not far enough away and found their way back to the base...

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27070569)

Congratulations. If you google "gorillas freezing in the snow" with the quotes, yours is the only hit.

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (1)

adamaix (1412123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27071921)

Yes, in that movie Wanted [imdb.com] , they describe in detail of an interesting method of infiltrating a nearly impenetrable castle using rats. Collect rats outside a dumpster using peanut butter and arm them with miniature time bombs. Activate the timer just before you let the rats loose in front of the castle, the idea is, that rats are able to go through places small enough to storm the inside of the castle and detonate their payload.

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (1)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#27070333)

They used to be. They've been displaced. [smallcapinvestor.com]

Re:Somehow we have to get a cat involved in this. (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27070711)

Isn't iRobot the company that got the Big DoD Contract to make battlebots?

They do? I thought iRobot guys are the ones that make that Roomba vacuum cleaning thingy. Given that Roomba works "probabilistically", ensuring complete coverage of the room by travelling in a random path until it thinks it walked long enough that it had most likely covered all the floor, it would be very interesting to see if iRobot battlebots deal with guns and targets in the same manner. From a distant, well-armored bunker, that is.

that won't work (4, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:that won't work (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067747)

Look here, Captain Logicboy, don't go answering this submission like it's nothing other than a publicity ploy/stunt.

In other words, it's not funny, don't laugh, and more importantly, don't take it seriously. ;)

Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 1 minute since you last successfully posted a comment

Chances are, you're behind a firewall or proxy, or clicked the Back button to accidentally reuse a form. Please try again. If the problem persists, and all other options have been tried, contact the site administrator.=LAME.

Re:that won't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067917)

That is annoying.

Re:that won't work (3, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#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"?

Re:that won't work (1)

escay (923320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069015)

are you calling Mel Gibson a hamster?

Re:that won't work (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069103)

Paths? Do hamsters even follow paths with a ball?

My wife's hamster certainly seems to. Every time we put her in her ball, she ends up in a limited number of places.

Re:that won't work (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069421)

I guess the "rooms at the bottom of the stairs" are limited places...

Re:that won't work (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069779)

1200sqft on the ground floor, six rooms - and she invariably ends up in the same corner of the computer room.

Re:that won't work (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27071619)

Most rooms aren't perfectly square, nor have perfectly even floors, so there's no surprise here. Not saying it's impossible, but personally, I'd need more evidence than that before making any assumptions.

Re:that won't work (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27072047)

This is a new house - the rooms are very square and the floors very level. Getting from where we normally set her ball down to the computer room requires going through the living room, making a 180 turn through the kitchen into the foyer (stopping to see if the pantry door is open, if it she goes in there), turning ninety degrees in the foyer, traversing the length of the foyer, turning ninety again into the back hall, then making a 180 again (checking to see if we've left the bathroom open, if it is she goes in there) into the computer room.
 
She doesn't follow the same path every time and actively avoids obstacles.

Re:that won't work (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069305)

Has anyone proven that they don't just run to ESCAPE the ball, with no thought about what's outside the ball except "freedom"?

I don't know about "proven", but watch a hamster in a hamster ball some time. Sure at first they're probably just trying to get out of the ball and randomly bumping into things. But at some point it becomes pretty obvious that they're trying to get to specific places by running in the ball, which obviously takes a different kind of coordination to do than running on the floor, so they at least know that it's the ball that's getting them there. Sure, maybe they're thinking "If I can just get there maybe I can escape this thing", but as far as following a path with a sense of purpose, yes definitely. Sometimes with a hamster who is left in their ball most of the time, it almost seems like the ball becomes an extension of themselves much like our cars become an extension of ourselves when we drive.

Re:that won't work (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27071589)

Actually, I have watched a hamster in a ball many times, complete with my sister's commentary on where her hamster was going, and why. I remain unconvinced, given that the direction was always erratic, and that behavioral psychology dictates a critter will stop doing something (i.e., going somewhere) if there is no reward (i.e., it's still stuck in the same ball with the same plastic, so any place on the outside is much the same). Unless you're suggesting it's going places to admire the view? ;)

Re:that won't work (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27071869)

I remain unconvinced, given that the direction was always erratic, and that behavioral psychology dictates a critter will stop doing something (i.e., going somewhere) if there is no reward (i.e., it's still stuck in the same ball with the same plastic, so any place on the outside is much the same).

"Erratic" describes hamster movement outside of a ball, and if psychology dictates that the hamster will stop, then why does it start again?

Unless you're suggesting it's going places to admire the view? ;)

Are you suggesting rodents don't display curiosity?

When my friend takes his hamster out of its cage and puts it in the ball, and the hamster then roams around the room for a while looking into nooks and corners and then after a while makes a bee-line back for its cage which is the sign to its owner to take it out of the ball and put it back in the cage where the water is, that seems like purpose to me.

If you choose not to view it that way, of course nobody can prove what the hamster is thinking.

Re:that won't work (1)

xutopia (469129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068011)

Pretty sure that inside that ball the hamster doesn't know where the fuck he is and walks in random ways. That being said humans do the same as other mammals in regards to what's safe. We even step on exactly the same spot as the person in front of us when walking single file.

Re:that won't work (1)

KovaaK (1347019) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068665)

We even step on exactly the same spot as the person in front of us when walking single file.

Maybe you do, but when I'm walking single file, I don't tend to look down to know where someone is stepping. Then again, I'm 6'7", and I tend to kick people's heels all the time :P.

Re:that won't work (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068023)

You'll never get an even cleaning.

You're assuming that this is about driving a vacuum cleaner. There's other things iRobot does such as their communications [irobot.com] product.

Then there's just, you know, the hack. Neat things are done to honor the hack. Realizing that there might be a practical use for the hack comes later.

Re:that won't work (4, Funny)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:that won't work (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27070365)

*shrug*

What's the problem?

You've already got a taser-armed killer rodent on the premises . . .

hawk

Re:that won't work (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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....

Re:that won't work (1)

conejito_andarin (987530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27070083)

You're probably right about the paths, but I doubt if we have much data about the paths hamsters take when pursued by a roaring monster only inches from their butts. I mean, that's the situation as far as the hamster is concerned, right? It's a lose-lose situation for it. We give it control of a vehicle, but the vehicle itself terrifies them and pursues them wherever they go. Poor bastards. The smart ones will be paralyzed with fright and poop themselves.

Re:that won't work (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27070801)

Looking at the video, I'm guessing that it's not supposed to be particularly practical - more likely just having some fun. The hamster can't even see where it's going - they're basically using it as a not-really-random direction generator.

Sounds like the power source (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067713)

that keeps Richard Gere running

too bad... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067717)

too bad it can't be powered by a human running in a ball instead of a hamster.

Lord knows most people could use the exercise. :P

Lisa Simpson (1)

cdpage (1172729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067721)

Genius!

Watch out Bart, this little Hammy's going to have one serious case of static electricity

Hamsters are timid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067727)

Most hamsters I've seen tend to hide in a corner and stay there. you'd get mostly the same effect by leaving the vacuum on in corner.

works great until... (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067735)

...the hamster is sucked up by the vacuum.

PETA's gonna have a field day with this one.

Re:works great until... (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068033)

I think if PETA had ever gone after these guys [cnn.com] , they could just reuse their old notes.

Re:works great until... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068127)

But the hamster is guiding the vacuum. This could tear space-time and open a wormhole into another universe!

No, they won't (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068135)

Unless, you turn the whole thing into a bong...

Re:No, they won't (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068255)

Nope, you don't put hamsters into bongs.

You put cats into bongs.

No, I'm not making this up. [omaha.com]

Next week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067757)

I can't wait to see what implications this [imageshack.us] will have next week.

I'm going to miss my Toradora when it goes.

I sure hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067773)

Richard Gere doesn't hear about this.

Looks like a step backwards to me (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067817)

All they've done is replace their highly advanced "running in spirals" AI brain with a rather large trackball.....

unPlanned Utility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067855)

How does the iHambot get fed!! Everytime the like guy goes after a pellet of food the mechanized section will snarf it up, right in front of his little face!

This is TERRIBLE!!!

What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (2, Interesting)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067997)

Probably because a random walk is a local optimum, and all the other optima are a LONG way away.

I want one that picks up dropped coins and pens and other solid debris and separates it from the dust and fluff. Bonus if it can count my change.

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068303)

I know what you're saying, but I just don't see it. They've had years to work on finding their way home to their power supply and still don't reliably do it.

As for coins, you know, if the darn thing knew where it was, it could tell you it passed over a bump on a map of crap to pick up. I realize that that's manual, but it's would be nice to know that there's a new object under the couch when you're looking for your keys.

I know it's all about price. But wouldn't it make sense for a company that built its fortune on this sort of thing to have a higher-end that actually worked?

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27070717)

You know, a recession is a good time to develop stuff like that.

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068017)

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

But let me guess, you LOVE the ipod.

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068129)

No. They're overpriced. The older nanos did everything one would want, until you decide you want a radio or a mike or have it play ogg files.

Why make that assumption?

Floor cleaning robots don't work, unless you're a lucky person without furniture that confuses them. iPod's do work. They get you to buy new pieces of plastic. But the first needs improvement and the second doesn't.

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068113)

iRobot makes much, much more than Roombas [irobot.com] .

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068731)

Am I the only one who finds the idea of an "iRobot Negotiator" amusing?

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (2, Informative)

highfidelitychris (1448915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068709)

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?

They make a Scooba that "mops" your floor, a model that cleans your pool (2nd generation), a Looj model that cleans gutters, along with their stuff they make for military. I'd say they still have some smart people there.

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068715)

I've played around quite a bit with the Roomba vacuums, and IMHO, the 5th. generation is about the first model that really works well enough to justify using it as a primary vacuum for the house -- and even then, don't count on long-term reliability or "hassle free cleaning".

Until the current generation, they didn't really perfect the concept of the spinning bristle brush that sticks out from the Roomba's frame far enough to push debris out from edges of walls and into the path of its main brushes, so it could be sucked up. (They first tried it on generation 4, I believe, but that brush had a poor design that broke regularly.)

This spinning bristle brush is a pretty important feature because the Roomba is a disc-shaped device. (A disc-shaped unit will never be able to fit itself into corners.)

It still suffers from serious issues with its plastic gearbox though. (Carpet fibers and lint eventually work their way into the gearbox and generate enough friction to melt the teeth of the gears and damage it.)

iRobot's "latest" household creation seems to be the device that moves on treads (like a tank) and cleans leaves out of your gutters. Not a bad idea, but also not something I suspect a LOT of people will invest in. (Gutter guards solve the problem adequately for me.)

When I caught the brief interview with them on the "G4 channel" at the CES expo, it sounded to me like they were really putting 90% of their effort into military robots. The household products could even be viewed, at this point, as more of a "front" to keep the corporate image friendly and to increase acceptance of robotics across the board.

Re:What's happening at iRobot, anyway? Nothing? (1)

madsci1016 (1111233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068911)

The gutter cleaner is not the latest. It has been around for years and has already been seen on wholesale surplus selloff sites like woot.com

Re: gutter cleaner bot (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069171)

I realize it's been around a while, but their CEO still showed it at CES as the "latest product" of theirs. I think the real issue is, it wasn't marketed too well. I remember seeing it years ago in a Popular Science "What's New" feature, but never ran across a single one sold in a local store after that, and forgot all about it.

I don't know if they have a consumer product any newer than it to hawk. (Everything else is just another Roomba revision or Scooba floor cleaner revision, and both of those have been out longer than the gutter cleaner bot.)

I smell copyright infringement (3, Funny)

quantumghost (1052586) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067889)

Looks like a clear case of prior art:

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

Re:I smell copyright infringement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27070661)

This is 2 years old
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaOGcrtUrxU

Hilarious! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067925)

This is the dumbest idea I've heard all week. Vacuum cleaners are there to make cleaning easier, robotic vacuum cleaners are there to make it even easier than old fashioned ones. So why would anyone want a vacuum cleaner that you had to feed, water, and clean up its shit after?

Ideally, a robot should need absolutely no care at all.

Re:Hilarious! (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068107)

Maybe this is for people who already have hamsters as pets, now you can put them to work.

Re:Hilarious! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068763)

I can see wanting to build one. It might be fun to hack, too.

Is it really powered? (1)

sunking2 (521698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068041)

At least from the summary (can't get to utube from work) this seems like its probably powered just like a regular one, yet directed by the rodent.

What's going on here? (3, Insightful)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068061)

Is Idle cross-posting to Hardware?

Should've been powered, not guided (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068095)

Hm... nope, nope, they're going too deep with it. They should just make it hamster-powered, not guided. That is, use the ball to run a generator and use some sort of Roomba-like navigation system. That way, the noise from the vacuum will frighten the hamster, which will make it run, which will make the vacuum operate, which will...

Okay, granted, this would require a forty-pound hamster and a giant hamster ball, but other than THAT, it would be the perfect perpetual motion vacuum! It would WORK, people! :-)

Re:Should've been powered, not guided (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068757)

Sure it's perpetual.. until you forget to feed your vacum cleaner for a few weeks.

Poor Boo :'(

And for my next feat... (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068131)

I will construct a hamster combat machine! [tri-bit.com] I am Skynet!

Re:And for my next feat... (1)

Barryke (772876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069211)

Now thats true innovation.

3.2.1.Penguins! (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068149)

What about Baron Von Cavitus? He's a hamster-guided robot too!

In the what?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068189)

"Mom, the hamster is in the vacuum cleaner"

That was a very bad day!

Make it remote (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068199)

The next logical step is to remote the hamster ball interface, so the hamster in one room is driving the Roomba in the next room. A 360 camera on the Roomba and a full surround projection around the stationary ball would do nicely.

This could be a boon for stay-at-home hamsters. Instead of wandering the same living room day in and day out, their thoughtful owners could plop the hamster in their own personal CircleVision 360 with the remote Roomba wandering in any number of living rooms across the world.

Re:Make it remote (1)

dietdew7 (1171613) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068331)

We wouldn't even have to use expensive and lazy American hamsters. With the virtual interface we could use offshore hamsters from India or China.

Forgot something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068235)

Here's what they forgot to consider: hamsters are nocturnal and get most of their exercise in the middle of the night... which means, your hamster will be running your vacuum all night.

Make this for autos (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.....

A cat powered Roomba (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068385)

A cat powered Roomba would would vacuum energetically for about 15 minutes daily and spend the remaining time in the first warm sunny spot it ran across.

Opening a can of tuna might extend that to about 20 minutes.

Re:A cat powered Roomba (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068985)

A cat powered Roomba would would vacuum energetically for about 15 minutes daily and spend the remaining time in the first warm sunny spot it ran across

Far better just to upholster your entire apartment in fur and let the cat lick it clean.

Davros? (2, Funny)

OshMan (1246516) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068391)

Clearly this is the prototype for the first Dalek. I'll bet it can't vacuum stairs either.

useful if (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068419)

you attach a cable to the rodent and carefully lay a piece of cheese where you'd like the cable to turn up :)

Yabba-dabba-do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068421)

Next, a record player.

Not a Vacuum? (1)

scerruti (1233214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068425)

I don't actually think this is a vacuum. I think it is one of their Create robots.

I also think it is possible the hamster was actually a gerbil.

Sorry to rain on your parade.

One more step in Hamster World Domination (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068497)

Soon hamster-powered devices will spread throughout the world, and the masses will become dependent upon them.

All hail our Hamster Overlords!

Saw it Monday night (0, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068555)

They showed this on Attack of the Show [wikipedia.org] on Monday night. In truth, it looks more like hamster torture than anything fun (for either operator or hamster). The poor hamster is locked in a colored (surprisingly opaque) ball on top of what looks like a standard Roomba. The hamster looked less amused than terrified.

biz8atch (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27068787)

support GNAA, all =know we want.

Two Things: (1)

madsci1016 (1111233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27068855)

1. That's not a vacuum model. It's an irobot Create which is just a platform to build hobby robots off. It has no cleaning power at all.

2. This is an old video. I mean OLD; years old. It was done by a few geeks asked to demo what the irobot create could do, when they were first introduced to the market. That's all, no 'hamster cleaning' market in mind.

Bad slashdot, bad. Check your sources before publishing a story.

Verges on pet abuse (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069195)

The ball (shown in the video) is too small for that ham - see how much she has to arch her back? Also, you really don't want to leave a ham in her ball for more than ten minutes or so at a pop to avoid overheating and dehydration.
 
Lastly, that poor ham and all that noise! My wifes ham dives for cover anytime we start anything that makes a loud and/or high pitched noise. I'd never put Her Imperial Fuzziness through all that.

Hamster Blaster (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069539)

Who run Carpettown?

OH NO! (1)

ohnotherobots (1448571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27069823)

Betrayed by the hamsters? I knew this day would come! Quick, we must form an alliance with the cats if we are to fend off this new rodent-borg menace!

Sounds like teasing the hamster to me. (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27071503)

So the vacuum sucks up anything the hamster might want to eat. That's mean.

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