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Roomba: The New Way to Torture Dogs

March 08, 2006

Who would have thought torturing your dog and cleaning your floors with a vacuum could get any more fun? It can and that fun my friends is called, Roomba.

We have a Roomba Discovery 4210 which is a robotic vacuum developed by a company called, iRobot. At the click of a button, Roomba will wander a floor of your house and vacuum the entire floor! It does this using a self-discovery algorithm. It not only figures out the floor of your house, but it will spend extra time cleaning areas which need extra help. In my case that would be the entire house.

Once we unpacked it and figured out the instructions (it wasn't hard), it was time to turn on Roomba and let it have fun. This is when we discovered it's coolest feature. It scares the crap out of the dog. Now I am not looking for ways to torture a dog, generally they present them to me without having to do anything. It turns out that Roomba cannot sense a dog, but the dog seems to be programmed to jump in front of the vacuum as it goes along it's merry way. To the dog it looks like Roomba is chasing it. To us, it looks like hours of enjoyment.

Of course, the dog has learned that Roomba will chase it for up to two hours, so now it wisely stays on the couch attempting to avoid Roomba's wrath. The cat on the other hand has taken to stalking the Roomba and following it's progress.

So how does a robotic vacuum stack up against something like a Dyson? It doesn't. Nothing stacks up to a Dyson. That is an unfair comparison. But if you had both the Dyson and the Roomba, you would not only have a serious dent in your wallet, but you would have the best of both worlds. The Roomba easily fits under couches, chairs, beds, coffee tables, butcher blocks. If the object is higher than the height of the Roomba, it will clean every square foot it can reach with a cleaning power a little better than a carpet sweeper. It will get hair, dust bunnies, leaves, things like that, but it's not going to get out ground in dirt because it lacks the suction power. It does do a very good job and it allows you to assign a task like vacuuming to another entity which is really neat.

It's really fun just to watch how Roomba cleans up various rooms. It's still in it's programming infancy, but it is supposed to go to places that need more work and when you turn it on, sometimes it quickly leaves it's main room and goes off to explore and clean other sections of the house.

I wrote a review over at that you can check out for more information.

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