The Community wants to know: Is Darth Vader suitable as a figurehead on a robot vacuum cleaner ? We’ve got the answer!
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The Community wants to know: Is Darth Vader suitable as a figurehead on a robot vacuum cleaner ? We’ve got the answer!

Dominik Bärlocher
Zurich, on 15.12.2016
Some of the questions asked in the Galaxus Community can be a bit on the weird side. Occasionally they’re so strange that the editor is tempted to reply to the question very pragmatically. Such being the case with the following question: Is Darth Vader suitable as a figurehead on a robot vacuum cleaner?

My mailbox generally contains things like newsletters, conversations with colleagues and the odd post from the Community such as the question from user deadstar about the 50cm tall figure of Star Wars villain Darth Vader.

How heavy is the figure and is it suitable as a robot vacuum cleaner figurehead?

Galaxus Community Representative Sasa Smiljkovic has the answer:

The figure weighs around 690 grams.

Over and out.

Or maybe not quite.

  • I happen to know that a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner has a payload of around 4000g, which roughly corresponds to the weight of a fully grown cat
  • I happen to have a Roomba in my office
  • Product Manager Domenico Melina happens to have the Vader figure on his desk

How could I resist?

Building the Roomba Vader

Right, let’s build this thing. There aren’t many pieces to assemble so it shouldn’t take too long.

While constructing this vehicle, I noticed that Darth Vader is extremely sturdy. When the Roomba starts and vacuums in a straight line, Vader has absolutely no problem standing tall and proud. However, it starts getting a little tricky when the robot vacuum cleaner takes a sharp turn – smooth manoeuvres are definitely not a forte of this vacuum cleaner.

Therefore

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Tesa Eco&Clear self-adhesive tape

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Vader is mobile!

Although the construction is not the most stable of all times, it definitely suffices as a proof of concept. If you’re aiming for a more permanent construction, I would recommend using better tape. Or Tesa poster strips. Or even a pole construction that gives Vader a little more support around the hips if you want to provide the man who used to go by the name of Anakin Skywalker with some stability on the robot vacuum cleaner.

Best vacuum cleaner ever

The result: The Roomba sucks and the figurehead stands – even going round sharp corners and during sudden turns. As the video below demonstrates, the vacuum cleaner’s exhaust shaft adds a beautiful flowing effect to the Sith lord’s cape.

Caution: The arm’s the limit

During your construction work, it is essential to keep in mind that Roombas are not designed to transport 50cm figureheads. All sensors are built in to the vacuum cleaner’s case and do not react to anything above the top ledge.

As Vader is only truly cool when he’s zipping around with an outstretched arm, you need to make sure that the arm does not exceed the limit of the Roomba. If this is ignored and the arm exceeds the outer line of the circle defined by Roomba, the device will not react. It will just keep on going until one of the contact sensors on the device is activated. The figurehead is simply pushed off and risks being dragged down by the vacuum cleaner itself.

And now: The video

Now it’s your turn: Build your very own Roomba Vader if you feel like it. I can very much recommend it. Vader on a vacuum does not cease to be amusing – even after countless test drives.

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Dominik Bärlocher
Dominik Bärlocher
Senior Editor, Zurich
Journalist. Author. Hacker. A storyteller searching for boundaries, secrets and taboos – putting the world to paper. Not because I can but because I can’t not.

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