Roomba painting – The vacuum cleaner in art

Craft & Design Robotics
Roomba painting – The vacuum cleaner in art

Roombas are painting @ Gallery Aferro, Newark, N.J – April 21 – May 26, 2007

Dedicated to James Murray Spangler*, an amateur inventor/department store janitor whose chronic lung problems may have inspired him to design the modern portable vacuum cleaner, the exhibit was in turn inspired by the work of Columbian-born Maria Adelaida Lopez. Lopez’s “dust houses” are replicas of those of her former employers from her grad-student/housecleaner days, made from the dust of vacuum cleaners. The artist has stated that her work is for “all the other Marias.”

The recurring nature of dust and dirt as a metaphor for resurrection and transformation is an underlying theme for many of the artists below. Eliza Gagnon will be presenting a video edited from interviews she did with an astonishing range of Americans on various aspects of dust and cleaning, including 9/11 dust, cleaning and sex, cleaning and race, and favorite cleaning product smells. Like many of the artists, Merav Ezer’s work is informed by her experiences as an emigrant from her country of origin. Using a vacuum, she creates molds of personal objects such as cigarettes and high heels, preserving them.

Bobby Zokaites rebuilds Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners for the function of painting. The algorithm that the machines use to vacuum rooms then becomes visible. The Roombas will be painting at the opening, petting is allowed.

Gallery Aferro – Current – Thanks Violet! Link.


  • Maker Faire: Tod Kurt, roomba hacking – Link.
  • HOW TO – Make a Roomba Serial Interface – Link.
  • HOW TO – Roomba Bluetooth Interface – Link.
  • More Roomba projects @ MAKE – Link.

From the pages of MAKE:
Make 557
Roomba Tronic. MAKE 06 – page 188. Take a tour into the underground robotic relentlessness of Roomba hacks, robots in the streets of Austin, and robot cockfighting. Subscribers–read this article now in your digital edition or get MAKE 06 @ the Maker store.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

current: @adafruit - previous: MAKE, popular science, hackaday, engadget, fallon, braincraft ... howtoons, 2600...

View more articles by Phillip Torrone


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.