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Boys and their toys

Okay, so I work with two robots on a regular basis, and often deal with more than that in the course of my day there. I recently upped the number of home robots from one to two. I'm amused.

Courtesy of Woot.com, I acquired a iRobot Roomba. It arrived Saturday, but I only had time to set it up yesterday. After I consolidated some of the junk in the office, and cleaned up a few odds and ends in the bedroom, I set it to charge, then turned it on and watched it work.

I let it operate for the first time while I was here so I could see how it behaved. I was worried that it wouldn't be able to figure out that it should cover all of the carpeted areas, and I was also worried that it would choke when it got to some of the uncarpeted (and effectively unfinished) areas of the basement. I was right - it needs to have its "virtual wall" set up to avoid things like the bathroom, so that it doesn't choke on the bath mat, and the laundry room, so it doesn't choke on the various trash there. It did both of those, and filled its waste bin on laundry lint (surprise, surprise). I put it back where it could find its home base and sent it home. I'll have to find some D cells to set up the virtual wall on one side of the basement to keep it where it should be working, and leave the door to the closet/bathroom area shut so that it avoids that area as well.

So, how did it do? Well, it's clearly not as powerful as a regular vacuum - there were times it ran over something and left it behind, or picked up a dust bunny in one area and dropped it off somewhere else. It did, however, cover many areas several times, and that meant it picked up lots of stuff. It spent a lot of time under furniture that a regular vacuum can't get under - the bed, the dresser, the nightstand, etc. It really did in fact clear the majority of dust bunnies and other visible dust (as well as, I assume, dust not visible to the eye) out of areas that I could see it wander over. It spent a lot of time cornering around furniture legs (tightly, I might add), and explored several wall corners. It didn't get everything, but I blame that on the fact that it only worked for an hour or so before it got full. If I'd sent it out again, it would probably have hit the areas it hadn't thoroughly covered on the first go-round.

My hope is that running it regularly means that our allergies stay at a manageable level, and that the constant cleaning that is needed to allow the Roomba to explore will help to keep the carpeted areas of the basement regularly straight. This week's not the best week to run it most days...I don't think I'll have time to get it going tomorrow, what with having to staff at 9am, for example. I'm at a conference on Wednesday. Thursday would be good. Really, any time I have time to set it up and walk away, that'll be pretty nifty. I look forward to it. But then again, I'm not a normal guy, right? Looking forward to cleaning? *snicker*


Oct. 24th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
Some friends of mine not only have the Roomba vac, but they have a roomba-style robot lawn mower. I have officially christened them the Laziest People Ever.
Oct. 24th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)
Maybe, maybe not.
I pay others to do that stuff. We have a cleaning service, and the kid next door mows the lawn (all 10 square yards of it.)

My automated devices are made of meat, does that make me lazy?
Oct. 24th, 2006 10:19 am (UTC)
Re: Maybe, maybe not.
Cary, see my response to Gingy below. You're in the same boat as me; the difference is, I've admitted that I can't keep up. I don't think you have. I seem to recall that y'all have a Litter Maid, too.
Oct. 24th, 2006 10:17 am (UTC)
I felt the same way about it before I bought the Litter Maid for the cats. I really wasn't doing a stellar job on the cat litter; doing so ensured a better situation for them. With Julian and work and life the way it was, I've mowed the lawn only 3 or 4 times this year. Lazy? Maybe. But it was better to have the lawn overgrown and Julian be safe than it was to try to mow while watching him. I feel lazy, but the truth is that there really is a lot to take care of, and I'm not ashamed of having automation to do it for me in some ways. We tend to have people over for Friday night dinner, and it sometimes takes us until Wednesday to catch up on the dishes - and that's with a dishwasher. I'm going to wear my Scarlet R with pride. :)
Oct. 24th, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC)

I'll come by to drop them off this morning since I have to be downtown-ish anyway. Call me on my cell if that's a problem. 410-322-9720
Oct. 24th, 2006 12:41 pm (UTC)
time for google
Holy crap; they make those??

How industrial are they??