Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not quite sweeping me off my feet

I like a clean house. But I’m lazy. So we bought a Roomba. It sole task is sweeping, but that’s one less task we have to do. It's a pretty basic model, and it’s not perfect.
  • Sometimes it’ll miss a spot; the programming is algorithmic rather than adaptive.
  • It can’t get into corners (it’s the round robot in a square hole problem).
  • There’s some prep work required: throw rugs, wires & cables, and the chairs we have in the dining room have to be picked up to prevent the Roomba from getting stuck.
  • It doesn’t always sweep up what’s right in front of it, but that’s a problem of perception, it eventually gets the job done.
  • It’s noisy, and a little intrusive so we usually start it as we’re leaving the house.

As long as we’re willing to live with those limitations, we’re happy with the Roomba and the results. It’s a matter of accepting that “good enough,” as opposed to perfection, is what you’ll get. We could have spent a lot more money for another model or brand, but the cost wasn’t worth the possible improvements (hey, the econ class I took as a freshman DID teach me something!).

When I was growing up, the future promised a plethora of labor- and time-saving devices. For the most part we’re still waiting. We thought we’d get Rosie the Robot, instead we got Roomba. But Roomba’s a pretty good start.

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