Tag Archives: automation

Robot vacuum (the future is here)

22 Jun

I’ve been talking a lot about my robot vacuum cleaner during #blogeverydayinjune so I thought I should get a post up just for it.

According to Wikipedia:
“The Roomba is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner made and sold by iRobot. Under normal operating conditions, it is able to navigate a living space and its obstacles while vacuuming the floor. The Roomba was introduced in 2002; as of January 2008, over 2.5 million units have been sold. Several updates and new models have since been released that allow the Roomba to better negotiate obstacles and optimize cleaning”.

I haven’t named mine yet, however I love it as much as a pet, and think it’s one of the best things I ever bought.

Unfortunately I can’t upload you a movie of it vacuuming cause I am too scummy to pay for my blog site to have videos.  However there’s a video on the Wikipedia link and you can imagine it running over your floor. It has a range of sounds for starting, getting flat and “uh-oh I think this is too bumpy”. It’s fantastic.


  • Noise?
    It’s no noisier than your current vacuum
  • How much dirt can something that small hold?
    Yes it only has a small area to store collected dirt so you have to empty it more frequently. However you don’t mind (as you haven’t been doing any vacuuming). It can still do 2 rooms pretty thoroughly.
  • How is it powered?
    It has a small recharging station and it senses where that is and directs itself back there when getting flat (I kid you not!!!)
  • Does it vacuum in straight lines?
    No – apparently that’s bad for the carpet. It scans the room then goes off on angles. If you leave it for long enough it will do the whole floor. However if you just want to target a section eg just knocked over something in one spot, there is a button that does a circle of a specific area only. There is also a remote control so you can drive it … but I haven’t used that yet. It can vacuum along sidewalls and corners too. Does a cute little sideways dancing movement (yes I have personalised it!)
  • Does it knock things over when it gets near them?
    Not with me. It has sensors in it and will slow down as it approaches any blockage. It still nudges them, but will turn around if they don’t move. [I have watched it move a pari of slippers across the room].
  • Can it cope with stairs, shoes, other detritus?
    It senses steps and stops on the edge, makes a considering noise (I am serious) then turns around and comes back. Copes with large objects like shoes and big clothes piles by going around them, but will suck up individual items such as socks and get caught, and then stop.
    So it can be left unsupervised. There’s also a scheduler tool you can buy to set it on a calendar.
  • How does it cope with pets?
    There is a standard model like mine, and a sturdier model that can tackle pert hair (advanced brushes apparently). Most animals & small children, don’t seem to like it though. No so much the noise but the sheer unnerving way it moves without pattern I think.
  • Can I test one?
    If you live in Melbourne you can borrow mine. I borrowed a friend’s to ‘test drive’ before I bought mine. Mine has already visited 5 other houses.
    If you live somewhere else … not that I know of.
  • Where do I buy them?
    The brand is iRobot, the name is Roomba, and you can order online. Reccommended purchaser from my friends to me in Australia was Peters of Kensington. They delivered quickly and provided warranty. Of course you may find alternatives … I’m just not endorsing them.

And if anyone buys any of their other products let me know! There’s apparently also Scooba (floor washer), Dirt Dog (garage sweeper), Verro (pool cleaner) nad Looj (gutter cleaner).

I haven’t thought of a library use for it yet, but there must be a way to put a book holder on the top and train it to fetch and carry [and clean when no one needs it].