Vacuuming has always been a chore that caused much sweat, suffering and sound. But in this day and age, we are lucky enough to have robots that can do the job for us. These robots clean many types of flooring and don’t require much supervision or produce much noise. However, do they do as good of a job as a human with a vacuum?
From personal experiences with a iRobot Roomba at home, I am able to testify that robot vacuum cleaners are pretty efficient and able to sweep up much dust and debris from the floor. They do a more thorough job in a shorter amount of time that my family is capable of achieving. These bots are most ideal for hardwood floors and carpeted floors but can also be used on tile and rugs. The robots are able to recognize what flooring they are on and adjust the speed and suction strength accordingly. Human factors designers have created this so that user don’t need to continuously set the robot to different “modes” to match the floor. This versatility makes them useful around the entire house.
Autonomy is incredibly important in robot vacuum cleaners and human factors design. These bots are expected to be pretty nimble and able to navigate around furniture on their own. This is achieved by using different sensors. Touch sensors are pretty sensitive and will change directions if they feel a light tap from hitting the wall or objects such as couches and the trashcan. Laser Distance Sensors (LDS) attempt to sense these objects before the robot even touches them in order to protect the furniture from scratches or marks. Both of these sensors are pretty sensitive and help the robot avoid knocking anything down or getting stuck in one spot. This is also a safety feature to protect small children or pets. This feature also allows the robot to clean autonomously because users do no have to continuously guide the robot. Another important sensor is one that tells the robot when it is at a ledge and at risk of dropping. This keeps the robot vacuum cleaner from falling down stairs which could lead to injury or damage.
There are still some drawbacks of robot vacuum cleaners. Due to their round shape that is common of robot vacuums, it’s difficult for these bots to clean up certain areas of the room that are hard to get to, including corners of the room and legs of tables. However, most have brushes that extend from under the robot to sweep up dust from those areas into the suction passage. In addition, because of the emphasis on keeping the noise level low, many of the robots do not have noise signifiers for low battery or after they have completed a room. These are important because it’s autonomous purpose has allowed owners to turn the robot vacuums on and forget about them. But because most of these robots are unable to self charge or open doors, they need human guidance in these specific situations. However, visual indicators may not be enough especially if the users are not in the room and therefore, louder noise indicators should be included to produce a more effective notification and faster action.
Other features of robot vacuum cleaners that users find useful is connected to the user control. Depending on the bot, owners can connect and control the robots through smartphone apps, remote controls and even Amazon’s Alexa. These simplify the vacuuming process and allows users to just press a button or use vocal commands to start the robot and then step back. Users can also set a schedule for the robots to run at certain times every day. These vacuums have also proved to be a lot quieter than traditional vacuum cleaners and are very easy to clean. These robots are also wireless and avoid safety hazards that come with wires, especially long ones that stretch across rooms and hallways that are typical of traditional vacuums. Now, even the littlest of kids can watch these vacuums do their job in safety and joy.
The Best Robot Vacuums. (n.d.). Retrieved April 05, 2018, from https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-robot-vacuum/
The Eufy RoboVac 11 and 11c are our Favorite Robot Vacuums. (2017, September 12). Retrieved April 05, 2018, from https://theslanted.com/2017/09/27702/eufy-robovac-11-review-best-robot-vacuum-2017/