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Domestic robot invasion

CHOICE says Australians are under threat from a domestic robot invasion

1 September 2013

A CHOICE review of domestic robot vacuum cleaners and mops has found the dream of time-poor Australians to be able to sit down and relax while an artificially intelligent device cleans the house is still a galaxy far, far away.   

“From paranoid androids to Fembots, robots have entered our homes through our television screens for years but now they are landing in our living rooms with claims they’ll free us from unpleasant domestic chores,” says Head of Media at CHOICE, Tom Godfrey.

“Unfortunately, despite sophisticated technology – navigation software, stair detection, cameras to detect dirt, and the ability to find their own way back to their charging station – robot vacuum cleaners are still comparatively poor at the most common job of a vacuum cleaner: removing dirt from carpet.”

“Sadly the suction generated by a robot vacuum cleaner is not out of this world and they simply can’t generate the performance of a standard vacuum cleaner.”

“When it comes to robotic mops, we tested one product that claims to be a mop but it might to time to call in RoboCop as this robot can’t actually deal with wet surfaces.”

“It can pick up a fair amount of very small dirt particles and fluff such as pet hair without too much fuss on hard floor surfaces such as laminate, tiles, marble and linoleum, it’s a far cry from the utopic and ever-resourceful droid such as R2D2.”

“The good news is this robot sweeper can run for two hours before a recharge and unlike its often irritatingly loud cousin the robot vacuum cleaner, it was fairly quiet.”

“There’s more good news if you have pets. This robot is effective in picking up pet hair. However, anything coarser than fine dirt, such as toast crumbs still requires assistance from a non-alien life-form.” 

“The robotic sweeper we tested worked in a random pattern, comfortably dealing with several sharp corners and turns. At only 7cm high, it can clean under most furniture, along walls and close to corner edges.”

“While it’s not expensive, its inability to pick up anything larger than the finest dirt particles makes the robot sweeper little more than a mildly entertaining toy for your pet or toddler.

“To escape the threat of domestic robots your best bet might be to elevate yourself to a multi-story dwelling as these droids are yet to completely master stairs.”

“May the force be with you because you’ll need it to finish cleaning your house.”

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