Roomba tip for dark carpets

November 15, 2008

Earlier today I bought a new, thicker rug to replace a cheap thin one my Roomba would push across the floor unless I stacked furniture on top of it (in theory the Roomba is supposed to take the work out of vacuuming, but it doesn’t always work this way). Despite hearing about some problems with dark rugs, I decided to pick up a solid black one and see what happened.

It turned out to be as bad as I’ve heard. The Roomba completely avoided the rug, and wouldn’t work at all when placed on top of it. Worse, my initial idea of blocking off the edge sensors by sticking pieces of styrofoam inside didn’t work at all.

It turns out there’s actually an easier way to get it working though. Just put a piece of clear packing tape across each of the four edge sensors on the front of the Roomba. The tape diffuses the light enough to trick it into working. On mine, it worked perfectly. Of course, this will prevent the Roomba from avoiding actual drop-offs, so if you have stairs in your house you’ll want to come up with something else.

Marc Charbonneau is a mobile software engineer in Portland, OR. Want to reply to this article? Get in touch on Twitter @mbcharbonneau.