Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


WonderVacuum Reads Your Mind, Cleans Your House

DiscoblogBy Rachel CernanskyMarch 31, 2009 7:41 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

When you're feeling stressed, do you need everything clean now? Do you also find everything and everyone getting in your way? Then the emotion-sensing Roomba vacuum cleaner is for you—it can sense if you're feeling stressed or relaxed, and act accordingly. If your stress level reads high, the robot will start cleaning but keep its distance, while if your stress is low, Roomba will come closer to you, as a pet does its owner. A special headband captures biolectric signals from your forehead, and control software then translates your muscle tension readings into how much stress you're feeling. The more tense your muscles, the higher your stress level is interpreted to be. If your reading falls in between either extreme, the robot will continue in its current mode until the stress level reaches a threshold that tells it to change behavior. What differentiates the vacuum from other robots is that it's controlled by human emotion, and doesn't rely on express verbal commands—like the perfect (nonexistent) boyfriend or girlfriend, it can read your mind and do what you want, not what you say. Related Content: Discoblog: In Japan, a Robot Works the Catwalk Discoblog: “Sweating Robot” Built to Test High-Tech Athletic Gear

Image: Virginia Commonwealth University

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 50%


    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In