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Robot Vacuum Cleaners Or How R2-D2 Became iRobot Roomba


by Saad Malik


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Time-starved gadget crazed home bodies have taken a new step towards the “Jetstones” cartoon version of house cleaning with a whole new generation of robot vacuums. Insert a couple of AA or D batteries. Select “go”. The little round disc R2D2 like robot never complains. Instead, while you return to the sofa to continue watching a film or game, your vacuum “rolls up its microprocessor sleeves” and settles into the task of cleaning your rooms.

Where Robot Vacuums Come From – Star Wars Technology Origins. Robot vacuum cleaners like iRobot roomba didn’t just walk onto the consumer market gadget stage without some lead-up technologies. No hard core gadgeteer will be surprised to learn that the modern era’s first vacuum cleaners are modifications on a core technology of “artificially intelligent” mobile work machines utilized by NASA in extra-terrestrial exploration. Industrial production robots, fully programmable, handle welding, fitting, joinery and a wide range of process functions. Think also about pool vacuums, now becoming suburbia”s latest convenience craze. So, it”s no surprise that micro-processors should be re-directed from the PC world and manufacturing world into the home.

“A Small Step For Robots… A Giant Leap For Ultra-Civilized Mankind”. From sampling and collecting stones on Mars, robots morphed into programmable house cleaning tools that rival conventional vacuum cleaners for performance… less the time savings of eliminating the human factor. “One small step for robots… a great leap for mankind” might be the trade logo for the new generation of ultimate home-convenience devices.

How Effective Is Your Robot Vacuum? Robot vacuum technologists utilize their full programming kit bag of tricks to create a feature-rich cleaning tool. Getting started with a device like the Roomba? Easy stuff. For preparation, most vacuums only require that you remove loose large stuff from the floor or carpets… like papers, cloth, cords or anything that might get sucked up and cause your vacuum “indigestion”… just like an ordinary vacuum. Kitchen tile, hardwood floor, carpet, even concrete surfaces.

Hair, dirt, pet fur and dander, food… any of the ordinary stuff that makes its way onto your floors can be handled by your vacuum.

Remote Sensors And Bump-Grind. Your vacuum literally bumps its way through your rooms… sensing objects… lightly tapping each object like the leg of a chair, then keeps spinning and moving.

With some robot vacuum cleaners, you can pre-set a “virtual” wall… programming a stop-point into your robot so that he literally stops-on-a-dime. Simplicity is the key to using robot vacuum cleaners. Guesstimate your room’s size… then select small, medium or large on the control panel. Place your iRobot in the middle of the room and then walk away. The rest, as they say, is history.

Batteries And Re-Charging. Simplicity rules with robot cleaners like the roomba robot vacuum or other models. When your robot is not cleaning for you, he can rest his tiny 6-pound frame on a counter or elsewhere and receive a 11 to 15 hour meal of electrons from any household electrical outlet to re-charge to full room-cleaning capability.

Fully charged, a typical robot vacuum cleaner will last 1 hour or more.

Getting Un-Stuck. Like his human inventors, the best vacuums occasionally find themselves literally “stuck”… an odd combination of object-space relationships where the bump-withdrawal fails to extract your robot… or perhaps gorging on a large towel or a set of smelly socks forgotten under the chair… Solution? Most vacuum models initially send off a “I’m stuck” higher pitched tone. If you don’t hear his cry-for-help, your robot carries an on-board automatic shut-off feature. Situation handled without fuss or drama.

Handling Stairs. Vacuuming stairs in the best of conditions is a hassle! Onboard sensors communicate to your robot vacuum “stairs… watch out… stop… do not proceed further! Result? The situation is “recognized”. No damage occurs. But, you still have to sort out another way to do your stairs.

Convenience Tool For The Less Able. People injured or limited in any significant manner will reap huge benefits from the new age of vacuum cleaners. Light, smart, easy to program, the robots pose little physical risk and permit less able persons to keep their home clean, and ahead on their daily task responsibilities without needing others.

Source by Robin J. Derry

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