Tragic Robot Suicide Stuns Small Town

A Roomba in the Austrian village of Hinterstoder has, according to its owner, woken up from being powered down and hurled itself upon a working stovetop, incinerating the device and leaving naught but a pile of ashes behind.

Helmut Kniewasser, one of the firefighters attending the blaze, has the story (courtesy of the Daily Mail).

The home-owner had put the small robot on the work surface to clean up some spilled cereal. Once the robot had done its job it was switched off but left on the kitchen sideboard.

The 44-year-old house owner, together with his wife and son, then left the house and were not home when the robot set off.

Somehow it seems to have reactivated itself and made its way along the work surface where it pushed a cooking pot out of the way and basically that was the end of it.

It pretty quickly started to melt underneath and then stuck to the kitchen hotplate. It then caught fire. By the time we arrived, it was just a pile of ash.

It's kind of funny, but then, also kind of horrifying when you look at the treadmarks on the stovetop. It must have been spinning around for a while on fire, which is making me think of the poor little guy doing frantic circles, screaming in shrill robotic agony before dying, and that's really bumming me out.

Way to end a funny robot story on a downer, guy.

Paranoid android: Cleaning gadget 'switches itself on' and moves onto kitchen hotplate in 'suicide bid' [Daily Mail, via Geekologie]