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The Psychedelic ROOMBA Experience


There is something about a ROOMBA, the robotic floor cleaning device, that inspires us to put things atop of them for a ride for our entertainment, including babies, cats in shark costumes, and my favorite, prairie dogs!

Gavin Heffernan, who specializes in timelapse photography of the night sky experimented with adding colored lights to his ROOMBA, filming it as it roamed around a house and overlapped images to create a one of a kind visual experience. The audio, which are some scientific quotes, adds an interesting element as well.

From his Sunchaser Pictures Vimeo page:

"I recently purchased an awesome IRobot "ROOMBA" vaccum [sic] cleaner (as part of my neverending quest to make household chores tolerable). After watching the cute little circular robot zoom across our floors with endless gusto, I decided to try and attach different lights to the top and shoot some timelapses. I then "stacked" the images the same way I would create star trails, using STARSTAX. The result was a psychedelic look that I had a lot of fun with! To amplify the patterns, I used a variation of mirroring effects to create symmetrical designs. For lights, I used a camping headlamp and a flashing rescue beacon. Blue pool ball shots were created using glow in the dark golf balls provided by friend/producer Michael Darrow. Arcade screens were composited in after to avoid stacking."

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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