May 11, 2015 2 min read

The idea of robots in our homes is not as far-fetched as it seems. Missing the traditional human-like features of body parts, automatic vacuums are now buzzing across floors all over the world sucking up dirt while the home owners watch on.

Automatic vacuums are generally flat disc shaped devices that guide itself around a specified area, picking up dirk and hair like a traditional vacuum without the human attached via hoses and handles. Most come with flailing brush that scoop up dirt and push it under itself to be sucked up into the collection area. The “robot” has large tractor like wheels driven independently by an electric motor. This technology allows the vacuum to move and turn easily reaching small tight spaces and zooming into those far flung corners.

On board sensors are the “eyes” of the vacuums. These sensors allow the machine to not only sense dirt but avoid obstacles such as chair legs, cords and curtains. The power comes from a rechargeable battery that runs the motor and sensors. When the job is complete the vacuums return to the mother ship, aka the docking station to recharge themselves.

The mechanics behind the automatic vacuums involve something called random bounce which a completely random pattern of movement designed to cover all type of terrain. There is no “logical” movement pattern to the vacuums. The patterns vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but all are designed with the same end function of cleaning in mind.

The automatic vacuums do a great job considering the technology. The flailing brush reaches under counters and scoops out bits and pieces and it scoots under tables and chairs. On the downside it won’t slip under a couch so if you are a furniture moving fanatic, automatic vacuums will leave you disappointed.

There are a few other downsides that are improving with time. The battery life of the units is not extensive and the random bounce makes for longer cleaning times than traditional vacuuming would. As with rechargeable batteries these batteries seem to lose life after time. The units become sluggish and run for shorter times. Naturally the dirt collection holding devices are much smaller than a traditional vacuum thus need regular changing.

Overall automatic vacuums are a time saving invention especially if you find vacuuming an odious chore. There are many models on the market that do different things. Some will do carpets while others won’t. The automatic vacuums are great for those who have pets and typically uncluttered floors. 

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