IBM Physicist Demonstrates Why a Roomba Can’t Clean His House

When a robot vacuum sees black stripes on a rug as ‘cliffs’ your floors will remain dusty.

iRobot may have impressed us recently with its latest robot vacuum capable of detecting and avoiding dog poop around the home. However, there’s a much more common object found on floors that presents a big challenge for the tiny robots.

Dmitry Krotov is a physicist working on neural networks and machine learning at IBM. It makes sense that someone with that day job would choose to rely on an intelligent vacuum to clean his house while he’s at work, but the problem is, his Roomba won’t carry out the task.