My iRobot Roomba Vacuum
easy and reliable

The iRobot Roomba Vacuum will really help you free some time for more important tasks. Among robotic vacuum cleaners , it is one of the most popular and there are good reasons for that: its price, user friendliness and reliability.

I myself have a Roomba robot vacuum, and I am really happy with it, just like my several friends who have it too. It can take care of my friend's 80 square meter apartment by itself: he didn't touch a usual vacuum cleaner ever since (and neither did his wife).

1) How to use your Roomba?

The iRobot Roomba Vacuum

As a researcher and computer scientist in robotics, when I first got my iRobot Roomba vacuum robot, I thought I would leave it in a corner until I have more time for it. Usually, when I work on a new robot, it takes several hours, or days before I can finally make it work!

So when I had a few hours to waste, I decided to open the box, and get to work... It took me 2 minutes to have it start vacuuming! But then it stopped and I had to wait a few hours to let it charge enough to make a whole room.

My first reactions on the iRobot Roomba vacuum robot:

  • it is really stupid (got stuck in a corner)
  • it makes less noise than my previous vacuum
  • it goes everywhere and vacuums well even in the corner
  • it gets the job done: maybe even better than me (I'm lazy)

More detailed Roomba reviews here.

My top tips to buy your Roomba lowest price.

The iRobot Roomba Vacuum stuck in a corner

The Roomba can easily get stuck on corners like this.

So yes, it needs a little adaptation, but less than a computer, iPod and many other ubiquitous technologies. Actually, you just have to tidy a little the room and block some place where it might get stuck. You would tidy the room anyway when you vacuum yourself (and its good to have a tidy room), and it takes 5-10 minutes to reorganize the room once. It took me 5 hours to save my 200 CDs to my computer. It takes around 30 minutes to set up a new computer. Take 15 minutes and get a Roomba certified house.

The most common complain about the Roomba vacuum robot is its battery life. So read the 6 tips to avoid buying a Roomba replacement battery.

2) How do roomba vacuums work?

For the vacuuming part, the iRobot Roomba vacuum works just like the old normal ones: it has a rotating brush under its belly that moves the dust and it is sucked by the vacuuming. It also has this helicopter brush on one side: thanks to this other brush, it will be able to do a good job near the walls and in the corners.

Anatomy of a Roomba
The iRobot Roomba vacuum and its parts

What about the robotic parts? It has several sensors that allow the robot to navigate around the room without hurting you, itself or the furniture. It has infrared sensors to calculate distances to walls or the direction of its charging station. It also has bumpers that sense when the robot is touching something. Since the iRobot Rommba vacuum robot goes rather slowly, it can even bump your toes without hurting you.

The little vacuuming robot will combine random turns and wall following to wander around your room and cover all (or most) of your room. Since it goes randomly through your room, it may miss a spot, but most likely it will pass several time everywhere. This redundant way to work makes the floor cleaner than other robots and the best vacuum for pet hairs.

Click here to discover how you Roomba vacuum robot work.

3) Home robot or hobby robot?

Unlike Windows with Kinect, iRobot has welcomed fans who wanted hacking Roomba for creative purpose. They liked it so much that they released an open library to control it as well as cables and hardware to improve it.

They even released the iCreate: it's like the iRobot Roomba vacuum, but it doesn't clean anything. It is a lot cheaper and easier to use as a hobby robot and has been derived into several packs by some other companies. For example, Willow Garage is selling the TurtleBot, which combines the Microsoft Kinect for vision with an iCreate for moving. Who knows what people will do with that?

Actually, if you are a little geek and would like to have a robot to program and play with, then a Roomba robot vacuum would make a very good choice:

  • it is well documented on the net,
  • it has official support from the company,
  • there are several tutorials and cool ideas to try yourself on the net,
  • it is rather cheap (iCreate < Lego Mindstorms < Roomba < Bioloid < Nao)
  • it is useful out of the box, especially when you don't program it (unless you choose the iCreate).

Nao likes his new friend at home.

4) A Roomba for everyone

In the end, if you are a housewife, a tech geek, or a hobby roboticist, there is always a good reason to get an iRobot Roomba vacuum. You can find extensive documentation scattered around the net but I will add everything you need to know right here, to make it simple for you. Want to know more about Roomba, the autonomous robotic vacuum?

Click here to go from the iRobot Roomba vacuum to other home robots.

Click here to go back to the personal robot home page.

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