In Brief

Korean housewife 'attacked' by robot vacuum cleaner

Paramedics called to rescue woman whose hair was eaten by household gadget as she slept

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A South Korean woman who was attacked by her robot vacuum cleaner while she slept had to be rescued by emergency services.

The woman was taking a nap on the floor of her house in the city of Changwon when the machine turned on her. The automatic vacuum cleaner, which she had programmed to clean the room around her, apparently mistook her hair for dust and sucked it up, the Korea Bizwire website reports.

Unable to escape, she was forced to call the local fire department with what South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun described as a "desperate rescue plea", according to the The Guardian.

The 52-year old woman, whose name has not been made public, was eventually extracated from the machine and suffered only minor injuries. 

But while she escaped relatively lightly, the incident could provide "a peek into a dystopian future in which supposedly benign robots turn against their human masters", suggests the Guardian.

There is a growing market for consumer robots, with the Roomba remote control vacuum cleaner by iRobot selling more than ten million units since it debuted in 2002. 

Korea Biz Wire points out that people in Korean and Japan, where its common to sit, sleep and eat on the floor, should "exercise caution" around their household robots.

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