Kewl Design Alert: The Beauty and Math of Roomba Art

What happens when you combine Roombas + lights + long-exposure? Pure mathematical gorgeousness.

We have a Roomba and love it though we do, sometimes we treat it like a stupid machine. Roomba sets off the house alarm, so we can only run it when the alarm is off. And sometimes it doesn't pick everything up, so we wonder about the algorithm and its ability to really, truly figure out where it is and where it has been.

But then it does something smart like figure out where the stairs are, or spend a little extra time where there is more dirt. And Roomba is totally redeemed. But it's a little black box to us, we wonder how it works, how it figures out where to go, and how it does all the magic it does to keep the floors clean. If you want to know how Roomba works, you should check out this article on How Stuff Works.

There is an entire community of people who have actually taken advantage of Roomba's algorithmic tendencies to generate art with lights and crayons (spirograph!):

Like this haunting view of the spot clean cycle, by maltorrance:

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Or this spirograph view (produced at a Maker Faire, no less!), by todbot:

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Or how about this Tron-like pattern by 3rdeyepro:

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And finally this pattern that looks like some sort of funky patterned carpet under a black light, by IBRoomba:

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Aren't these incredible? Makes me wonder what we would see. Maybe I should talk to hubby about setting up some lights and putting his camera on a tripod... ;)

You can view more in the Roomba pool on Flickr.

(Source: Gawker)