Robots That Suck

People (and cats) love Roombas, but they were always better at entertaining us than cleaning our floors. Two new competitors, the Neato (for carpets) and the Evolution Mint (for bare floors) clean in a way far different from the Roomba's random movements.
Eventually it cleans every part of the room—but the anti-Roomba crowd claims that it does so unevenly, going over some parts of a room many times while cleaning other spots just once. A more systematic approach could yield greater efficiency: If a robot cleaned each part of the floor just once, it would have a lot more battery power to clean more forcefully and could clean more quickly, to boot.

That's the theory behind both the Neato and the Mint. "We clean your floor the way a Zamboni would, or the way you would," says Max Safai, the CEO of Neato Robotics. The Neato uses several different sensors to create an internal map of a room. Based on this map, it will first clean the room's perimeter before going back and forth within the perimeter in a systematic way.

See videos of both the Neato and the Mint in action at Slate. Link

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It can't compete with a regular human-guided vacuum in terms of getting up all the dust and such, so I'd really love it if the company would stop and focus on what the Roomba does best.

I have a Roomba, and the one thing it does better than a vacuum is suck up pet hair. Cat hair, dog hair, snake hair, doesn't matter. This is the Roomba's big talent, but the company seems to want to focus on everything but that.
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