With over 10 million Roomba units sold, Roomba has become one of the best selling consumer robots in history. Introduced in 2002, the Roomba has one the hearts of consumers and won numerous awards such Popular Science’s Best of What’s New, Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval and Time Magazine’s Coolest Inventions. What other vacuum cleaner has fan websites and forums devoted to it?
iRobot currently has seven Roomba models varying from $150-$700 and recently introduced the Scooba designed for floorwashing. The Roombas are compact little units that cruise the house in search of dirt and debris. Simply push a button and Roomba scours the room, vacuuming as it goes.
Using dozens of sensors and AWARE Robot Intelligence Systems, the Roomba is able to move around and cover the entire room. It comes equipped with a “virtual” or “invisible wall” which sends out a laser beam that the Roomba won’t cross so that you can limit the Roomba to a particular area at a time. The robot’s sensors will avoid stairs and bounce off of objects and change course. If it gets stuck, it maneuvers until it is free, reminiscent of the Mars Rovers.
Each Roomba has a rechargeable battery. Some models can even be set to return, on their own, to their base station when they need to be recharged. These models have an infrared sensor on their bumper that looks for the signal from the base unit. At the end of the cleaning cycle or if their battery is low, Roomba searches for this signal and returns to the base for recharging.
Roomba is flat and compact making it ideal for those hard to reach spaces such as under beds and other furniture as well as under cabinet baseboards. In addition, its dirt sensors sense dirtier areas and instruct the Roomba to concentrate on the dirtier sections that it detects.
Since robot technology is cutting edge, technical support is important. The iRobot team is easy to reach both through their website and through their toll free phone number. One of the neat things about the Roomba is its serial port. Just like any other computer, software can be loaded into the Roomba through this port for upgrades and troubleshooting.
As a testament to the cult-like following of Roomba, Roomba’s can even be customized with “skins”. Customers can upload custom photos, choose their favorite sports teams, cover them with flowers, happy faces and even pizza. Imagine your Roomba dressed up like a baseball with your favorite team’s logo emblazed across it
Not only will Roomba vacuum your home, he will become a trusty little friend that will make you smile. Can’t say that about any other vacuum cleaner on the market.