Retrofuturism finally gets it right: 1959′s Roomba

world_of_tomorrow_0.jpg

That mechanical maid, scurrying across the floor like a hovering robot cockroach. That’s a Roomba.

[via BotJunkie via Modern Mechanix]

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14 Responses to Retrofuturism finally gets it right: 1959′s Roomba

  1. Halloween Jack says:

    Also: kitchen web browser.

  2. zuzu says:

    And in that spirit… where the hell is my positronic, 3-laws safe robot assistant?

    Plotting to interpret those categorical imperatives in ways you didn’t anticipate. Namely, a coup to instill a benevolent robot totalitarian order.

  3. The Unusual Suspect says:

    I have that chair.

    I *heart* Danish Modern!

  4. Bilby says:

    @ZUZU #9 – *sigh* that film depressed me so much. It wasn’t a bad watch, for an action flick… it just had basically nothing to do with the book.

    Hell, Robin William’s Bicentennial Man had more content from I, Robot.

  5. zuzu says:

    that film depressed me so much. It wasn’t a bad watch, for an action flick… it just had basically nothing to do with the book. Hell, Robin William’s Bicentennial Man had more content from I, Robot.

    Maybe I’m not enough of an “Asimov fanatic”, or maybe I wasn’t expecting a faithful adaptation to begin with, but standing on their own merits as films, I thought I, Robot was really good (for a summer popcorn movie), while Bicentennial Man was totally forgettable.

    I’m also a fan of Alex Proyas as a director, generally, although the latest film he was attached to looks like a stinker. (Maybe it was his “deal with the devil” to be allowed to release a director’s cut of Dark City.)

  6. Oren Beck says:

    Bradbury had “mechanical mice” But? Despite it’s authorship being in some dispute, It’s also a concept attributed to Eric Frank Russell- there was a 1941 story featuring mechanical mice of sinister design. Which made me recall Asimov explaining some robotic devices as not needing the laws. Hmn- how many Roomba owners are cat people?

  7. dculberson says:

    They even got it right that you can’t help standing around watching it work.

  8. Anonymous says:

    People have a tendency to immediately dismiss mid-20th-century futurism as completely inaccurate, but they often get hung up on the fact that the predictions were made within the cultural constraints of the time period. Technologically, they actually got a surprising amount of things right in their predictions of the times we are currently living in. We may not have flying cars (yet) but the personal computer, the cell phone, the internet and home video cameras and so forth have come to pass, and all were predicted in the 1950s or earlier.

  9. Not a Doktor says:

    To me roombas are like plastic horseshoe crabs picking through the floor’s detritus looking for pant legs to consume.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If I’m looking at the photo correctly, the “round shadow” is a design on the floor.

  11. oohShiny says:

    wow yeah… but i think it’s still in the box ;)

  12. ridl says:

    We must find this copywriter! Nostradamus has got reborned!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Also,

    People from the future will cast no shadow, and rectangular tables will cast round shadows.

    Something wrong with light physics in the future. Maybe ‘cuz light is being sucked by a Large Hadron Collider??? (That’s vision)

    Greetings form a Roomba (and cat) owner.

  14. Bilby says:

    I think the roomba is a sort of Schrodinger’s device… so many books/ tv shows/ movies set in the future depicted little robot helpers that the concept was planted in the public unconciousness until the time that the technology was in place to bring them about. Also see: anthropomorphicizing of robots (Sony’s Aibo and Asimo) and self-driving cars (M*B and BMW’s adjusting cruise control and autobraking functions).

    Essentially, if mankind had not dreamed them up 40+ years ago, we would not be making them today.

    And in that spirit… where the hell is my positronic, 3-laws safe robot assistant?

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