iRobot Roomba Review
When robotic vacuum cleaners were first imagined they were thought to be just a scientific fiction idea that would never happen. Then when they first came out they were something most households thought of as something for the rich or eccentric. However here we are today with households all over the world investing in them and this industry now has a value of over $434 million in just Western Europe. So in this article we take a look at what makes up an iRobot Roomba, the top sold models on the market, how it works and why this is such a popular choice in vacuum cleaner now.
A closer look at the iRobot Roomba
Basically a Roomba is a vacuum cleaner that is fully automated once programmed. It does the job of a regular vacuum cleaner but with no support or help from a human after that initial set up process. It does this using sensors it has on its body using extractors and brushes to suck up dust, debris, dirt and pet hair. It stores the debris in a storage bin in the machine and this will need to be emptied by the owner when it is full. It can move in any direction thanks to the two big wheels that each have their own motor for.
First thought of by Helen Greiner an inventor who was innovating ways to get robotic help to clean the house because when she and people she worked with introduced themselves as roboticists, people commonly wondered if she come up with something that would do their cleaning for them! The Roomba first became available on the market in 2002 and became a favorite for lovers of technology and gadgets as well as in households who wanted an efficient cleaner. The Roomba has been featured in various housekeeping magazines including Good Housekeeping, was on VH1’s Diva Awards and has even become something Oprah owns and admits to loving.
How iRobot’s Roomba works
Inside the Roomba are five motors one each for the wheels, the brush, the agitator and the vacuum. The owner enters a set of instructions when you first purchase it and then using its AWARE robotic intelligence system (which is trademarked) the Roomba collects data on its environment which is sent to the microprocessor as it carries out the program
If instead of entering in a program the user just pushes the clean button, the Roomba uses infrared signals to determine the size of the room, detect the walls and to move around objects and furniture. Under the machine are more sensors that stop it from dropping down steep steps or stairs. In terms of its cleaning progress there are actually several means to achieving this. Sometimes it may sweep across the whole room or sometimes it may perform spot cleaning where it repeatedly cleans the same place because it has found an area that needs deeper cleaning.
The Roomba can detect such areas due to its piezoelectric sensor that registers dirt as it hits the brush. When it receives a lot of signals from one area, ie a lot of dirt is hitting the brush, it ‘knows’ that this means there is more dirt here so it needs to retrace its steps and complete another round of cleaning here. To follow the direction of the walls the Roomba has a wall sensor and cleans here using its flailing brush mounted on the side. For the individual review of vacuum cleaners in the Roomba series, check out this Roomba reviews.
What makes it popular with owners
- The elderly can remain independent for longer living in their own homes using a Roomba to clean their house rather than struggling with a vacuum cleaner they no longer have the strength or energy to use. This also means families do not have to worry about their relatives tripping on the vacuum cord for example. In Denmark this has become a very popular option for those taking care of the elderly and the country itself include them as part of their ‘welfare modernization strategy’. 84 per cent of elderly care home managers in Denmark use or intend to use a robotic floor cleaner.
- Despite being technology in its latest advancement they are incredibly easy to use. The programming stage is clearly set out in the manual or if you want to skip that stage you can just press the clean button. It can work even when you are not home and it docks and recharges itself when its battery is low.
- Everyone in the household loves them, from the kids who think they are amazing to the adults – who do too! It won’t just follow a path and stick to it regardless of whether it’s clean or not. It has the ‘intelligence’ to know where somewhere has already been cleaned, how to avoid stairs and obstacles and where to give extra cleaning.
- Even regular upright vacuum cleaners cost a fair amount nowadays so money is no longer a factor to stop someone from owning one should they want to. If you want someone else to do the cleaning why pay for someone to do it every week, every year, when you can make a onetime investment into a Roomba and it will do it for free! When Greiner and her colleagues developed this machine making it affordable for all was a key element. You can get older models at very good prices but even the latest one is around $700 which is half the rumored cost of the new Dyson coming.
- With that time you have spare you can get other chores done or play with your kids or go out somewhere.
- Roombas are compact machines in the shape of a thick Frisbee. They take up very little room when not in use and their size means they can go under beds and furniture where you may have avoided cleaning before because it was such a hassle.