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iRobot’s Roomba Lawnmowers Are Really Pissing Off Astronomers


Roomba Lawnmowers from iRobot (IRBT) can cause serious disturbances with the satellite antennas. Does it sound abnormal? It might just sound abnormal to the normal household individuals as how can a robot lawn mower affect the large Radio Antennas.irobot-roomba-lawnmowers

Well, that is what the National Radio Astronomy Observatory thinks. NRAO has filed an official complaint with the FCC in regard to the use of the robotic lawn mowers. NRAO demands that the FCC should not the Roomba Lawnmowers to operate in the bandwidth that they are currently doing.

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The issue has begun in earlier this year, in February, when iRobot filed a waiver request with the Federal Communications Commission seeking approval to use a portion of the radio spectrum to help guide its robot Lawnmower.

Now, you might just think that what has the bandwidth to do with simple small Roomba Lawnmowers. Well, the issue that has arisen is primarily due to the bandwidth that is being used by the lawn mowers. According to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the star radiate methanol at a frequency of exactly 6.66852 GHz. The radio antennas use this frequency to track down the events related to the stars and measure the exact distance at which the occurrences are taking place. The problem is that the Roomba Lawnmowers are using a frequency range of 6.65 GHz to 6.6752 GHz. Thus, the NRAO demands that the robotic lawn mowers should not use the frequency band.

On the other hand, iRobot, the makers of the Roomba Lawnmowers have claimed that 10 out of the 13 radio antennas controlled by the NRAO are in extremely remote areas where there will be no need of the Lawnmowers. The remaining antennas are surrounded by densely populated foliage and livestock, which would indirectly absorb the radiations from the lawnmower. Thus, the makers do not see any reason why they should not be allowed to use the frequency band.

It will be interesting to see how the FCC handles the dispute and what turns out to be the fate of the Roomba Lawnmowers.

[ Source ] [ Via ] [ FCC filing ]


About Wayne Murphy

wmurphy@thenextdigit.com'
Writer and specialized in Mobile Phones (iOS, Android, BB etc), who was with the TND team since it's inception. Other than Blogging, he is also pursuing his graduation on Business Management at CA, California University. All posts by Wayne

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