Thursday, December 18, 2008

Household Robots

YouTube video
(Click link to view): Roomba Driver

Study indicates people become attached to their household robots -- some even give them a nickname. These new owners should not suffer nickname guesses ...
"To us, the Roomba [vacuum cleaning robot] is like our pet ... ", says the young bride and newlywed groom that live in a City Centre fourth floor upscale flat.
Apparently, a typical household robot floor vacuum cleaner is powered by rechargeable batteries and uses several sensors to determine its surroundings. (Insert nickname here) scoots from place to place on the various flooring surfaces, maneuvers around or under obstacles, collects the debris that it encounters, and stores it inside it's small self until a human can take it to the waste bin ... ah. It has also been heard, from several completely enthusiastic users, that the robotic performance of a number of these functions could be ... well, improved.
"... If we can design things that are somewhat emotionally engaging, it doesn't have to be as reliable."

"Some Roombas break a lot — they still have functional problems. But people are willing to make that effort because they love their robot enough."
Read more: Study: Roomba Owners Get Deeply Attached to Robots
"The fifth generation of the Roomba also has sturdier moving parts and improved durability ..."

"The Burlington, Mass.-based company [ iRobot Corporation ] ... said ... its Roomba 500 series is designed to scoot around for an hour a day for three to five years. The more fragile early models sometimes met with failed motors or bad bearings after 150 hours of cleaning."

"'If you really bought into the idea that this thing is here to clean every day, people ended up killing their robots,' said Colin Angle, iRobot's chief executive and a company co-founder."

"Despite the dinner plate-sized Roomba's ability to transition smoothly from hard floors or low carpet to rugs, the cleaning brushes on earlier models can get stuck on tassels and cords."

"The new models have more sophisticated robot brains that instruct the brushes to briefly spin in reverse and spit out the cord or tassel."

"The three 500 series models cost from $250 to $399 ... [and] basic models ... as little as $120."

"The Roomba is the top-selling robotic vacuum with nearly 2 million sold."

Read more: IRobot Rolls Out New Generation of Roomba Vacuum Cleaners

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year !!
Next post: Thursday, January 8, 2009