Monday, January 22, 2007

Robot Review: iRobot Roomba Scheduler

Well, Alison and I finally broke down and bought a Roomba. The Roomba, for those of you living in a cave for the last 4 years, is a small-disk-shaped robotic vacuum cleaner brought to you by the same people who make the military PackBot. The Roomba moves around in a somewhat random fashion and eventually covers the entire floor. The robot has sensors that tell it when it has hit a wall, is going over a drop-off (such as a stair), or has run into one of the infrared "walls" used to keep it away from anyplace you don't want it going. The circular planform means that the Roomba can turn around in its own length to get itself out of trouble, and the low height means it has no trouble scurrying under couches and such. Ours, specifically, is the Roomba Scheduler, which allows you to set up---you guessed it---a cleaning schedule; the robot will automatically set out from its home base at the appointed time, clean until it gets "tired," then follow the IR signal back to its base and recharge. All you have to do is empty the dustbin, and the latest version even tells you when to do that. Neato!

The actual vacuuming is pretty good, though not spectacular. I'm sure the Dyson does a much better job, but you still have to push the Dyson around. If you find that the Roomba isn't cleaning as thoroughly as you'd like, just add another cleaning cycle to its weekly schedule. Done!

Overall, I give it 8.5 out of 10.

Now I just need to get a Create to futz around with.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love one of those - they'd be great for lazy students like me.