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back to article Welcome your robot overlairds, robots

In 2002 we got our first domestic robot, a basic Roomba which is long dead now, but since then our household robots have kept the place tidy, and the children in line. Our first Roomba was a basic cleaner. iRobot's baby didn't even vacuum back then, it just shuffled across the floor pushing the dirt around. But Roomba proved the …

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As a result both cats had to be upgraded......

PMSL!

The mind boggles

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Scooba: on our third in less than a year

We just received our third Scooba in a year. As the author states, they do a decent job of mopping on laminated flooring, though iRobot state in their manual to never use the Scooba on this type of flooring due to the likelihood of resulting water damage. The first Scooba failed in just less than two months, and the second after a good seven-month run. Both failed with the Service light. After spending time on the phone with tech support and following their diagnostic flowchart, was advised to send in for repair. Fortunately we got it on sale for $250 from Hammacher Schlumer who provide a lifetime replacement warranty free of charge. From my experiences I am sure it will come in handy.

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what would be awesome

Would be if they could make it all into one Machine and make it wash the dishes and do the laundry too !!!!

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Coat

They have

It's called a wife.

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IT Angle

Wife

Sadly an unattainable pipedream for most techies.

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Terminator

Robbie the Roomba, Zombie.

My Roomba, died after a year, he would trundle out then after 4 mins, tell me that his brushes needed cleaning.

I dismantled him two weeks ago, took out a huge amount of long hair from his gear box, and around the motor spindle and now he's back to trying to hump the guitar stand. and hiding under the sofa with a discarded sock. Happy times.

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oblig video evidence...

cats finding a use for roomba besides watching from heights...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vf9wHkkNGUU

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A cat that needed a firmware upgrade

Now I've heard it all...

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Happy

Fur vacuuming?

That was an interesting article. I didn't know about the grass cutting robot. The one question I would really like to find out is how well your Roomba (or any Roomba) copes with cat (or dog) hair?

Can it get cat or dog hair off a carpet? ... is it that good?

If it can do that, then I may consider getting one. :)

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Pint

is it just me

that is strangely wanting to hear more stories of Mowbot?! Nice wee read!

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Bet the author's too lazy to write more.

I mean, carefully select under-sofa-height to get out of cleaning duty: epic laziness or what?

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Nice article but ....

... surely one of the robots could have done a better one. :-).

I gifted a roomba to my mum who loves it and my mother-in-law loves hers as well. I've been waiting in vain for the price to come down on the mowbots to get a first domestic 'bot of my own. iRobot do make one for cleaning rain-gutters, quite a chore 'round my place, but the wife has ignored the "Fathers-Day" hint two years straight now.

Anyone tried those and care to report on how well they do / don't work?

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Joke

yep, a joke.

"the filter is hinged so it can be emptied with two hands, rather than requiring three as with previous models."

Now what's Zaphod going do do?

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I've always wondered how well those things actually work

...and what it's really like to own one. Thanks!

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Dead beasties in the flap?

Sounds like you could use Flo control http://www.quantumpicture.com/Flo_Control/flo_control.htm

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JDX
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Your mower scares me

It can't be turned off and you have cats?

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You have kids?

I'll be a nickle it'd be cheaper TCO if you made the kids do the 'bots chores for pocket money, instead of plonking down good coin on toys. Worked for me, anyway.

Exception being the cat-flap, of course ... and ours works on a simple magnetic collar, no need to read their RFID chips for such a simple pass/fail system. Strangely, stray critters don't even attempt to enter the much larger doggie door between the mud-room & the dog's 10 acre run ;-)

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magnetic catflaps

Are fine until the cat manages to relieve itself of the collar...

...which happens surprisingly regularly.

I can see a good case for a RFID catflap, but until they can recognise the moggy is carrying mouse/bird/whatever I prefer the "monkey opens the door" version of access control.

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@ Alan Brown

Our so-called "house cats" all started out as ferals who found us ... If they can't get into the house, they sleep with their buddies in a barn or out building until we notice they need a new collar. Funny thing is that they have been known to "open the door" for each other, when the break-away collar does it's job ...

Gut-piles & rodent tails are part & parcel of country living. Kinda like shoveling (or stepping in!) shit. You more suburban types can say "ik" all you want, but that's where your grains, meat & veggies come from ;-)

This "monkey" allows, and even encourages, animals to follow their instinct ... but I do make certain that even the ferals get proper vet-care, and are spayed & neutered (except one old Tom, who has been flitting about for fifteen years that I'm aware of, and is probably the father of the rest of the cats about the place. I stopped trying to trap him over a decade ago).

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IT Angle

Missing collars

Used to have the same problem (with worried old ladies phoning when they find them --- but myself often in another country.

I've found that nylon tie-wraps around the end helps. So you tie down the sticking-out end bit with one or two nylon binding ties, then chopping their tails off. Of course you make sure there is the elastic safety-bit elsewhere. The current one has been on for over a year now, the first four lasted a month all together.

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10 *years* of commercially available robots

I know they are quite specialized and each do 1 job but this company has been accumulating 10 years of experience in their design (which seems like it could do with some improvement) and operations.

Does anyone get a sense that what is needed is some kind of "core" package (motors, sensors, battery, etc) with a replaceable section to handle *specific* tasks?

I note the wheels *might* be an issue here given the radically different surfaces they are operating over.

But still. An impressive example of how the "future" can sneak up on you.

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Try 25+ years ...

A friend of mine had a much-modified Heathkit HERO in the mid-1980s that could fetch beer and recycle[1] the emptys, get and post the mail, turn on and off the lights, draw a bath, etc. ... Granted he was a hardware guy who could program, but ...

[1] Yes, recycling 25 years ago ... This was in Palo Alto ;-)

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3 Laws safe!

see title

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Lucky

"Now the battery-powered flap only unlocks when our cats approach,"

I had a magnetic cat flap a few years back. A little magnet goes on the cat collar and hey presto . The only problem was that if my cat came hurtling through the cat flap another cat in chase was able to follow her through if he was quick enough.

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