Monday, December 14, 2009

Robot Realities

OK, so we've established the fact that housework and I are not the best of friends. When I planned my floor project earlier this year, I factored in some help with cleaning. The great big vacuum cleaner I had was not really suitable for hard surfaces. After a fair bit of research and soul searching I ended up with a roomba, vacuum cleaning robot. As I say, I did my homework, so I knew there were limitations. The biggest limitation being that, though it does a great job of cleaning hard surfaces, the robot will not tidy and clear the room prior to cleaning. That's my job.

Yesterday was my day for cleaning up the living room. This is where a lot of my spinning, knitting and weaving happens, so there's lots of stuff. I spent several hours sorting and putting away stuff before pressing the "clean" button on the robot. I was especially careful about fibre, since the little machine can get itself badly tangled. It does have a sensor for things like carpet fringes, but it's not up to dealing with a whole ball of wool. Here's the proof:I had some knitting on the armchair. I thought it was out of reach of the robot. I was wrong. While I was in the sewing room, the roomba grabbed, not one, but two balls of wool and the attached knitting needle and proceeded to criss-cross the room in its programmed cleaning pattern. Eventually the brushes were so tangled that it stopped. Then came the alert signal which brought me to investigate. The blue wool you can see disappearing at the lower right of the picture was cleverly festooned around two legs of my dining table. The robot voice said, "Please clean roomba's brushes". I thought that was a reasonable request. I rescued my knitting needle and unwound several metres of wool--which by then was well mixed with dust and dog hair. That went in the bin. Then I put the roomba back on the floor and pressed "clean" again. Off it went as if nothing had happened. I'm glad to say the rest of the task was uneventful. After cleaning the rest of the room, my little robot docked itself for recharging and made its little happy chiming noise to let me know the job was done. OK, so housework and I are still not the best of friends; and I'm more aware than I was of the limitations of my little robot cleaner, but the living room is looking better than it has in a long time.


Vireya said...

That is a terrible sight! Knitting being swallowed by a robot!

Knitspingirl said...

How cute is your vacuum! Sorry to see it consuming nice yarn, but at least we now know it has good taste! (giggle)