Need to trap a Roomba? You don’t need anything more sophisticated than a rug

Need to trap a Roomba? You don’t need anything more sophisticated than a rug


iRobot recently launched a new robot vacuum cleaner that uses AI to avoid dog poop, but the company’s Roombas have long struggled with a more basic problem: confusing dark patterns on carpets and rugs for perilous drops.

A video recently shared on Twitter by IBM researcher Dmitry Krotov shows exactly the problem: a Roomba rolling around inside a rectangular box pattern on a rug, refusing to drive over the lines as if were physical walls. Usually, iRobot’s software flags this sort of problem as a dangerous “cliff,” and a quick search on Twitter for “roomba rug cliff” shows it’s a pretty common error. As one user complains: “I swear that Robby the Roomba is a right drama queen!! This is NOT a cliff Robby. It’s a rug!”

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