Modified Roomba Detects Stress, Runs Away When It Thinks You Might Abuse It

The last thing you need when you get home is something making noise and hovering underfoot. This modified Roomba avoids users when it detects high levels of stress.

Designed by researchers at the University of Calgary, this Roomba interacts with a commercial headband for gamers that detects muscle tension in the face. The more tension it detects, the farther away the Roomba will hover from the subject.

The purpose of this rather simple device is to explore the potential of human and machine interaction on an emotional level. The researchers envision gadgets that approach you like a pet when it detects that you are lonely and in need of comfort. Conversely, the Roomba model could be taken a step further—imagine if it cowered under the bed when you came home drunk and angry. Then, fearing for it's life, the Roomba calls 911 and gets you thrown in the slammer for appliance abuse. It could happen. [GroupLab via MIT via BotJunkie]

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