Just for the record
O'Reilly Network: Introduction to X10 Home Automation Technology

Roomba Rocks

I've been a happy owner of the Roomba Robotic Vacuum for a few years now. (See an earlier post, for example.) But this evening I find myself appreciating it even more. Here I sit, dog in lap and tea nearby, while my little servant completely cleans the carpet in the downstairs living room, and the bare wooden floors in the kitchen and dining room. Life is good, indeed.

I was so happy with my first Roomba that I recently upgraded to the improved Roomba Discovery. While its biggest "gee-whiz" feature is its ability to park itself on the charging station when it has finished, that's not something that really makes a big difference for me. (You do, after all, have to empty the dirt-catcher when it is done so I don't see the big benefit of having it return home.) Instead, the new "max power" and "dirt finder" features earn my thumbs-up. The first lets the Roomba clean-and-clean-and-clean until the battery is completely sucked dry. The result is more coverage and less baby-sitting. With the previous model, it would turn itself off after a preset time period, even if it had more energy left. I much prefer the Energizer Bunny affect of the new model.

The Dirt Finder is as neat as the Roomba's hypnotic room-coverage algorithm, but not quite as magical. When the little fella detects that it is over a very dirty area (such as the spot where my dog likes to eat his treat biscuits) it hovers about, going back and forth, until the area is clean. A nifty blue LED lights up to indicate that its tiny brain is mulling over the relative debris content of the area, too.

So if you've ever wondered if the Roomba actually works; it does, and quite well! If you've questioned whether or not its worth the cash. Well, your formula for answering that question will be different from mine, but when was the last time you read a blog post that was written while the author was ostensibly vacuuming their house?

PS: On a somewhat related note, this article about iRobot's search engine strategy shows the importance of search in today's commerce, and the profit derived from remembering that not all customers can spell or type correctly.

I do not accept advertising, but the Amazon want you to know that some links may contain affiliate codes that dangle the promise of earning me a few pennies towards running this site should you happen to purchase a qualifying product. Humbly, Gordon Meyer



I just bought a Discovery tonight. I dismissed the Roomba as a novelty when it first came out, but some good reviews had me take a second look. ...and seeing it in action on QVC. Right now its wandering around my house. I'm really interested to see how it's going to handle my floorplan...it's fairly compartmentalized. On the plus side, it only took an hour and a half to charge. :)

Leonard Hambleton

I have a Roomba Discovery and it is GREAT! The best two reasons for the self-seek home base charging are; when I get home, I know where it is and it is fully charged. The second is where it is not! It is not under my king size bed. (I found it trapped there once with a dead battery when it pulled the plug on it's home base.)

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