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Robotics Hardware

Roomba Celebrates 10 Years of Cleaning Up After You 92

SkinnyGuy writes "Roomba, the world’s first multi-million unit-selling home-helper robot, turns 10 today. iRobot has cooked up a self-congratulatory infographic filled with a collection of interesting and occasionally bizarre facts to mark the occasion. Did you know that dogs, cats and babies have ridden iRobot's iconic home cleaning robot since it was introduced exactly a decade ago?"
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Roomba Celebrates 10 Years of Cleaning Up After You

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  • I want someone to clean up before me.

  • Don't forget about the ahimatronic chimp head []!
    • by devjoe ( 88696 )
      The babies that "have ridden the [Roomba] since it was introduced exactly a decade ago" are now on the verge of being teenagers, if they somehow survived that decade of dizziness.
  • by Guano_Jim ( 157555 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @02:00PM (#41365005)

    I bought a Roomba years ago to take care of some light-colored carpeting in the living room. I'm not buying another until they come with an under-the-couch dog poop sensor, standard.

    Poodle skidmarks, man. Poodle skidmarks.

    • Yep, an iPoop robot could sell well. Although I would think that it would still make a mess cleaning it up.

    • by Jeng ( 926980 )

      The simple solution is to get rid of the dog.

      • The simple solution is to get rid of the dog.

        Obviously you have never had one in your family.

        • by Jeng ( 926980 )

          Never an indoor one.

          If the dog poops inside don't keep it inside, or keep close supervision of it to make sure it doesn't poop inside.

          If the dog is pooping in your residence then it really is your fault and not the dogs, but the simple solution is to get rid of the dog rather than fix the owner.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Eewwwww. Those kind of situations help one understand the importance of "common sense". Machines are stupid savants.

  • I purchased a Roomba a few years ago, and it did little to clean the floors. Spent most of the time getting stuck in a corner, or going around in circles.
    • by yotto ( 590067 )

      Mine worked great so long as I otherwise kept an immaculate apartment. Immaculate included no chairs or cat toys.

      Speaking of cats, cat hair... Oh my god the cat hair.

      Mine's about 4 years old now, and I haven't used it in about 3 years. I spend less time vacuuming than I did cleaning the Roomba.

      • Roomba gave me a great reason to try and keep my place more or less tidy. It's the only way Roomba will work.

        But yes... cat hair. There are two sensible, easy, and not too expensive upgrades that would vastly improve the Roomba, but are still inexplicably missing even from the latest models:
        - Ball bearings for the brush drivers on the gearbox. This is where all the cat hairs get into the gear box and foul up the gears, to the point where they run so hit the egarbox actually melts a little. Apparentl
        • under bed cleaning? Hell if the damn thing managed to make it under my bed, it'd be lost forever - that's a blackhole down there or there's a monster that does a good job of keeping things clean. Even my cat refuses to chase anything under the bed

      • There's a guy (I think his name is Vic) at who can rebuild your fur-caked 400 series with new sealed bearings that aren't as vulnerable to cat hair. The 500-series 'pet' models come with sealed bearings out of the box.

  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @02:01PM (#41365029)

    My house (and business) use Neato's, but I'd hardly begrudge the Roomba for making people think "robot vacuum cleaners should be in my house now".

    • by SpzToid ( 869795 )

      That is interesting as I had not heard of those before. Here's a link to their site: [] although I see they only make a vacuum, and not a wet mopping thing like iRobot does. I wonder how effective the are wet mopping robots are.

      • by rgmoore ( 133276 )

        I've been less impressed by the Scooba (iRobot's mopping robot) than Roomba. It's slow, requires quite a bit of maintenance on every use, and can't cover a very large area on a single tank of water. I haven't found that it saves much time compared to scrubbing the floor by hand.

        • by SpzToid ( 869795 )

          You have made my day with that info. Here's why: About a year ago I gave some consideration to how much time and effort (and cost) was involved keeping the floor clean in my house. The house gets very dusty quickly because of where I live. I opted against a Scooba back then primarily because the price was way out of my priorities and budget.

          But I did buy an expensive mop and bucket from the local five and dime. I just stared at all the options long enough, so I wouldn't have to constantly get my hands wet w

  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @02:04PM (#41365087) Homepage

    I've owned a Roomba for ~3 years. After the second set of batteries went out 6 minths ago, I gave up. It cleaned OK (if emptied reguarly) & would park & recharge OK (kept a close eye), but not ready for prime-time.

    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @02:14PM (#41365203)

      The batteries are cheaper than a maid, and more thorough for those things it does.

      A pain to keep running (hair wraps on spinning bits), but still less work than sweeping it yourself - transforms a long boring daily task into a much shorter one with intermittent tech skills required: Google search "WTF does two beeps mean on a Roomba", ah: get screwdriver, remove edge sweeper, cut away hair wrapped on hex shaft, replace, good to go for another 50 uses.

  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @02:10PM (#41365159) Homepage
    Sure, it can't do the stairs, but my second/third/whatever hand Roomba (530, I think), £100 from eBay, is great — press the button, off it goes, and does a more than merely passable job of the downstairs. I would not pay full price for one, but, for the money I spent, I'm more than happy with the product.

    It didn't immediately decrease the time spent on vacuuming, though — I'd waste the time previously spent pushing a vacuum around just watching it do its thing. Now, at least, I can just let it run, but I do get a feeling of "wow, that's rather cool" each time I run it...

    And designed to be user-repaired, or at least parts replaced, which is always a bonus.

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      Borrow a Dyson and see how much crap the Roomba leaves behind -- if you have a carpet, that is. Perhaps it's usable on hard surface floors.

      • I'll bet the Roomba could pick stuff up after the Dyson, too. They probably use different methods for cleaning, and one will do a better job at cleaning up certain types of things than the other. I have two vacuums in my closet, one a Hoover and I forget who makes the other, Dirt Devil? And I can easily run one and then the other and get more junk up no matter which one I use first.
      • I could say the same for any vacuum cleaner: Take a Dyson and vacuum the floor with it. You'll be amazed at what the Dyson picks up that your other cleaner was leaving behind. --- Huge Dyson convert
      • Then borrow a good vacuum and see how much crap a Dyson leaves behind. Seriously I had a friend who insisted that the Dyson was the best vacuum ever. I got sick of hearing about it so I had him bring it over and we tested his Dyson, my wet/dry shop vac, and my second hand Kriby on the carpet in the back of my Jeep Cherokee (really fucking nasty). Both of my vacuums did a better job (single pass over a strip of carpet) than the Dyson and wet/dry shop vac doesn't have a beater brush.The Dyson may not lose suc
        • by tibit ( 1762298 )

          To suck a gold ball through a garden hose you're producing a lot of vacuum but very little air power. Most power is then wasted: with a huge pressure differential the turbine stalls. On a Dyson the turbine stalls much earlier than on your golfball sucker, but then turbine isn't all that different from a wing. Low stall speed means inefficient blade when operating at nominally high speed. What you want from a vacuum is high air power.

          Sure high vacuum is nice when you got a clog, but that's a tradeoff that IM

      • Borrow a Dyson and see how much crap the Roomba leaves behind

        Sad to say, we have a Dyson — we had it before the Roomba. The Roomba is great on the wooden/tiled floors downstairs, and only just passable on carpet upstairs. The Dyson is used for the stairs and the skirting boards and behind doors etc. where the Roomba cannot easily go. The Roomba is convenient, and, frankly, fun, but I would not be able to do without a more traditional vacuum cleaner yet.

        Running the Roomba every day is no effort, so it gets run a lot more often than I would bother to vacuum, a

      • If I can't see it I don't care. My roomba keeps my living room clean enough, and certainly far cleaner than I did vacuuming once every 2 weeks.
  • Roomba has a place in all of our hearts []

  • ... known by my cat as "The Occupation".

  • I grew up watching those little robots zipping around on the bridge of an Imperial star ship, so when I first powered up the thing I was a giddy. I felt like I was one step closer to the idealized future envisioned in my childhood.

    Interesting to read this considering we got a Roomba about two months ago. iRobot clearly put a lot of thought into it's design, at least from a mechanical standpoint. It's fun to watch for the first 15 minutes. However, that amusement then turns to intense frustration as the dam

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday September 17, 2012 @02:47PM (#41365569) Journal

      I grew up watching those little robots zipping around on the bridge of an Imperial star ship, so when I first powered up the thing I was a giddy. I felt like I was one step closer to the idealized future envisioned in my childhood.

      Unfortunately, we're a lot closer to that Imperial future in a lot of ways we'd rather not be.

    • The Neato shuts down the vacuum when it's returning to the base. It's generally been awesome for a scheduled 4 times a week cleanup. It's gotten stuck a few times due to the layout of my house, but I'd say it's 95% on top of it's game. Once I figured out what it tends to get stuck or confused on/with I haven't had it act up or get lost in a few months.

  • My only comment, Spent the money on the Roomba and the Scooba within 18 months both were completely dead.

    The Roomba lost its mind and no amount of fiddling could get it back.

    The Scooba was replaced 3 times due to a design flaw that iRobot refused to admit to, but is well documented on the web.

  • I'll be interested when they invent one that a) can do stairs, and b) can empty its own bin into a trash receptacle when full.
  • []

    Rockin' the house and keepin' it clean!

  • The Halloween Episode (season 4 episode 6) a roomba was active in a crime scene (and got stomped by Gibbs) and "collected" the brass.

  • I wanted to get one, but they are loud like vacuum cleaners. :(

    • yes they are loud. No they are not as loud as a normal vacuum cleaner. No it doesn't matter that they are loud (as you can let them run when you are not there).

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.