Apr 10, 2013

This is What Happens When You Put LEDs on a Roomba

 

Introduced in 2002, Roomba is a series of autonomous robotic vacuum cleaners sold by iRobot. Under normal house conditions, the Roomba is able to autonomously vacuum the floor while navigating a living space and avoiding obstacles.

Roombas do not map out the rooms they are cleaning. Instead, they rely on a few simple algorithms such as spiral cleaning (spiraling), room crossing, wall-following and random walk angle-changing (after bumping into an object or wall). This design is based on MIT researcher and iRobot CTO Rodney Brooks’ philosophy that robots should ‘be like insects, equipped with simple control mechanisms tuned to their environments‘. The result is that although Roombas are effective at cleaning rooms, they take several times as long to do the job as a person would. Roombas may cover some areas many times, and other areas only once or twice. [Source]

Roombas also come equipped with color-changing LEDs that indicate things like remaining battery power and dirty spots. The LED lights combined with a seemingly random cleaning path has led some intrepid photographers to take long exposure photographs. The results, a kind of ‘light painting’ are mesmerizing.

Some artists have even taken the idea a step further, using multiple roombas in a single room or affixing various colored LEDs to the Roomba to garner a multitude of results. And with no two Roomba paths being the same, the possibilities are endless.

[via Roomba Art on Flickr]

 

1.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (1)

Photograph by IBRoomba on Flickr

 

A swarm of seven Roombas, each with a differently colored LED on top. The roombas are operating at the same time. This is part of a “Roomba Art” picture series produced by Tobias Baumgartner, Marcus Brandenburger, Tom Kamphans, Alexander Kroeller, and Christiane Schmidt of the IBR Algorithm Group and Braunschweig University of Technology.

 

2.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (12)

 

“45 minute exposure of my Roomba cleaning a room. This was my 4th attempt, I repeatedly had the f-stop too low and the resulting noise was too great. The silly bit is that since my floor was very clean after the previous 3 attempts I had to sprinkle dirt in spots to get the blue circles that come from the Roomba spot cleaning.” – Chris Bartle

 

3.

IMG_4864

 

 

4.

Take 2, much better

 

 

5.

Mmmm candycanes

Photograph by reconscious on Flickr

 

“I swapped the LEDs around so that the forward velocity reading was feeding the red LED, and was almost always on. The blue and white LEDs lit up whenever the Roomba slowed down or its motion jerked.” – reconscious on Flickr

 

6.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (3)

Photograph by Alexander Kachkaev

 

“Light trail left by iRobot Roomba during its first 30 minutes of cleaning. The wall on the right is illuminated by a LED on Roomba’s base, a place where the robot parks to charge its battery after finishing.” – Alexander Kachkaev

 

7.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (8)

Photograph by IBRoomba on Flickr

 

A swarm of seven Roombas, each with a differently colored LED on top. The roombas are operating at the same time. This is part of a “Roomba Art” picture series produced by Tobias Baumgartner, Marcus Brandenburger, Tom Kamphans, Alexander Kroeller, and Christiane Schmidt of the IBR Algorithm Group and Braunschweig University of Technology.

 

8.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (13)

Photograph by zim2411 on Flickr

 

“10 minutes of roomba-ing stacked in Photoshop” – zim2411 on Flickr

 

9.

_MG_9829_waves_and_the_spinning_Roomba

 

 

10.

Roomba Painting 2

Photograph by reconscious on Flickr

 

 

11.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (6)

Photograph by IBRoomba

 

A swarm of seven Roombas, each with a differently colored LED on top. The roombas are operating at the same time. This is part of a “Roomba Art” picture series produced by Tobias Baumgartner, Marcus Brandenburger, Tom Kamphans, Alexander Kroeller, and Christiane Schmidt of the IBR Algorithm Group and Braunschweig University of Technology.

 

12.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (4)

Photograph by Alexander Kochkaev

 

“Light trail left by iRobot Roomba during its first 30 minutes of cleaning. A blue circle in the centre of the room is a spot that Roomba found too dirty and did some extra cleaning there. It turns blue LED on when finds such areas and rides around. Red lighting is coming from microwave’s clock! The room was completely dark, however the clock sent enough photons in half an hour to illumine the wall and furniture on the photo. Violet glow in the top-right corner is just imperfection of camera’s sensor and lens.” – Alexander Koachkaev on Flickr

 

13.

IMG_2325.JPG

Photograph by reconscious

 

 

14.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (2)

Photograph by zim2411 on Flickr

 

“Camera was mounted to the ceiling using a tripod + duct tape. Each photo was a 30″ exposure at ISO 800, with an 18mm lens at f/4.5. It was about 40 minutes worth, and then I stacked the images in Photoshop. The spiral in the middle is where the roomba started. As the battery lost power, it fades to red.” – zim2411 on Flickr

 

15.

roomba floor path long exposure light painting (10)

Photograph by IBRoomba

 

A swarm of seven Roombas, each with a differently colored LED on top. The roombas are operating at the same time. This is part of a “Roomba Art” picture series produced by Tobias Baumgartner, Marcus Brandenburger, Tom Kamphans, Alexander Kroeller, and Christiane Schmidt of the IBR Algorithm Group and Braunschweig University of Technology.

 

 

 

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