We’ve all seen them before — the circular, automated vacuums that bounce around homes cleaning carpets and entertaining cats. Rumbas were seen as futuristic back in the 70s, but as time progressed, we slowly saw them being purchased by cool friends, and people who considered themselves ahead of their time. Yet they stopped there. People failed to see the potential of the automated vacuum.
What happens when a startup decides to implement the same technology on the streets of Lima, Peru? Enter StreetBa — the startup that managed to bypass patent copyright and create massive Rumbas. StreetBa’s goal is simple: build circular vacuums the size of cars and program them with the same technology that made Rumbas somewhat popular.
The StreetBa travels on wheels and works using sensors that detect when it bumps into an object the size of a person or larger. Once it hits said object, it spins around and moves in the opposite direction. Through its powerful suction technology, it can pick up all kinds of debris off the streets of Lima.
Yet, no groundbreaking technology comes without its own set of drawbacks. “Unfortunately, since we programmed the tech to detect objects it bumps into that are the size of people, we’ve received a significant amount of complaints regarding lost cats and dogs,” a spokesperson at StreetBa said.
The StreetBa vacuums have been tested in Lima during rush hour, in the early mornings, and shortly after midnight. “It’s safe to say we won’t be implementing the StreetBa at busy commuting hours,” said the spokesperson.
Other critics have pointed out that it threatens the jobs of locals who have been working in the waste management industry for many years. In contrast, it has also received praise from locals who are sick of teenagers crossing the streets while texting and not paying attention to their surroundings. Witnesses say that the texting teenagers are “slammed back to reality” after bumping into a StreetBa.
It’s too early to say whether or not the StreetBa will get full access to Lima’s streets. Though its innovative design has proven to pick up waste in the city, it still needs some improvement. One thing is certain — teenagers won’t be so eager to check their phones while walking if the tech goes live.
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