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iRobot lawn-mowing Roomba prevents astronomers from studying the universe

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iRobot has been plotting to create a grass trimming version of its Roomba for around a decade, and it’s about time we get an update.  Apparently, one of the main obstacles keeping the company from progressing further is conflict of interests in the beacon frequencies that iRobot wants to use.

The beacon technology iRobot plans on deploying utilizes the 6240-6740 MHz range, which is the same frequency that the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) uses to scan the universe for traces of methanol (abundance in methanol correlates with star-forming regions).  iRobot contests that their beacons will be too far away from NRAO’s radio telescope for them to be disrupting each other’s signals.

Both the NRAO and iRobot are presenting their cases to the FCC, and whether or not a lawn mowing Roomba becomes a reality might just depend on what the outcome of this might be.

Source: FCC via Spectrum

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