Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Meet the Roomba that swears when it bumps into stuff

Illustration for article titled Meet the Roomba that swears when it bumps into stuff
Photo: James Leynse (Getty Images)

As incredible an invention as the Roomba may be, it doesn’t have nearly enough personality. This is the year 2019: our automated vacuum robots need to have a memorable brand to go with their ability to perform chores like something out of post-war science fiction.


Enter “The Roomba That Screams When It Bumps Into Stuff,” an invention that handily solves this problem by allowing us to pretend every cleaning machine in service today is in nearly constant agony.

The poor Roomba in question was created by Michael Reeves, a YouTuber whose channel is filled with incredible engineering feats like a machine that forces its wearer to dab by electrocuting their muscles. The premise of his latest invention is simple: It’s a Roomba that curses in torment when it bumps into things.

“All that you really need to know is that when a collision gets detected by the sensors,” Reeves explains at the beginning, “Sound gets played from [a] Raspberry Pi to [a] Bluetooth speaker.”

After showing off some computer voices, Reeves says that “the point of the screaming is so that it doesn’t feel like a robot” but instead “a living creature ... that’s in pain.” He calls up some other YouTubers and uses their foul mouths to craft more organic samples. The end result is a machine that yells in agony, roaring “Why was I created this way?” or “God-fucking-damn it!” when it bumps into chairs or counters.

To cap off his demonstration, Reeves brings the Roomba to a nearby Target so average shoppers can witness the beautiful machine, too. While there are good reviews, he concludes that “it appears as though our invention is simply too far ahead of its time.”

Now that there’s a swearing, miserable Roomba, the sky’s the limit with what we kind of features we can expect to see brought to the machines that fill our homes. Perhaps a car that explains the effects of climate change every time it senses a newly-filled gas tank or a smart thermostat that calls you a wimp for being too cold or hot.


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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.