Roomba, the worlds first vacuuming robot from iRobot, turns 15 years old this year.
The robot vacuum cleaner is a disc about a foot in diameter, and a few inches in height, allowing it to move easily underneath furniture. Once activated, it travels about the floor vacuuming up fine particles wherever it goes. More than 20 million of the popular home robots have been sold, with 1000 patents worldwide.
Roomba saves 110 hours of cleaning time per year, cleaning over 12.5 billion square feet of floor space. Its busiest working day is Friday, and it is most commonly scheduled to clean at 9am. Users in Japan, the US and Australia seem to prefer cleaning with Roomba in the morning, while evening cleaning is preferred in Taiwan, Great Britain and the Netherlands.
On an average day, 43 Roomba robots start their cleaning mission every minute. The default language for error messages from Roomba is English, but the cleaning robot can communicate in 15 languages in total, including Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.
Developer iRobot has released its latest model, the 980, retailing for around $1500. It has a full suite of sensors to map and adapt to real world clutter and furniture, and can create visual landmarks in its map so it doesn’t lose track of where it is or where it has been. It also has the ability to increase the performance of its motor automatically for carpets and rugs.
Roomba will run continuously for up to two hours, then automatically recharges and resumes cleaning to complete the entire job.
Most people give their robot a name. Among the commonest are Dusty, DJ Roomba, Wall-E, Alice, Ruby, Robbie and Alfred.
“Over the next 15 years, robots will be the centrepiece of the smart home, helping people to accomplish even more in their daily lives,” says Colin Angle, CEO and founder of iRobot.