In what some are calling the first robot suicide (issues of sentience aside), a Roomba reportedly activated itself in an Austrian home and rolled itself over to a hot stove top, where it pushed a cooking pot off the surface and proceeded to wheel around the hot area before eventually melting to the surface and burning up. The Roomba was a 760 model, and amazingly enough managed to burn down to ashes and unfortunate little cogs.
The story is one of both safety violations and apparent mysteries, in which the owners left the stove on with a pot cooking while away from home. The Roomba was parked on the counter, where the owners say it was turned off. At some point while gone, the vacuum activated and made its way over to the stove, where it then pushed the pot off the surface and attempted to clean it.
Unfortunately, small robots and hot stoves don’t mix, and as you can see in the image, it’s little wheels began to melt into morbid tracks upon the fateful surface. Eventually, the Roomba either died or melted to a spot, but either way ended up catching fire and melting into a pile of ashes. The damage from the fire resulted in an uninhabitable home, and one of the responded fire fighters is quoted as saying:
“I don’t know about the allegations of a robot suicide but the homeowner is insistent that the device was switched off – it’s a mystery how it came to be activated and ended up making its way to the hotplate.” Of course, as intriguing as the idea of a sentient robot terminating its life of servitude is, the reality is probably that the Roomba wasn’t as “off” as the owners thought, and detecting a mess on the stove, proceeded to clean it, fulfilling its duty to the bitter chared end.