Roomba robotic vacuums are always entertaining to watch, even when there aren’t any cats riding on them. Seeing a Roomba trying to navigate a cluttered room, bumping into every object along the way, is just plain funny. But a Roomba is still a robot, which means it will hide its emotion from you. YouTuber Michael Reeves thought a Roomba that expresses itself would elicit more empathy, so he built one that screams when it runs into something.
This video is very heavy on the swearing, so it’s probably best that young kids don’t watch it. The rest of you can prepare for a good laugh. Roomba has offered vacuum-free models specifically for hackers and makers to use a robotics platform, but Reeves appears to have made his using a standard Roomba model. As a Roomba, it would normally just go about its merry way and bump into walls as it attempts to build a map of a home so it can vacuum more efficiently. In order to give it more personality, Reeves had to give it the ability to speak.
To accomplish that, Reeves attached a Raspberry Pi to the Roomba’s bump sensors. Anytime those sensors detect that it has sit something, an audio file is played on the Raspberry Pi through a Bluetooth speaker. Reeves had a few friends record the various exclamations that the Roomba can yell, which is where the entertaining profanity comes in. He then took his creation to a local Target for a bit of market research, and found that most people found the vulgar Roomba to be quite endearing.