Not Your Mothers House: 

The manual vacuum cleaner is another device that is seeing it's last generation.  I remember as a kid being excited about robots when they were still little more than novelties.  I remember my confusion when, at the age of 6, I couldn't quite understand why my mother wasn't as excited about these devices as I was.  Her line at the time was, "I'll get excited when they vacuum the floor for me."  She only saw them for their practical application where as I was looking at their potential.

Today robots are quite real.  You probably don't realize that most of the work that went into building your car was done by robots, not people.  Robots today actually manufacture MOST of the products you buy.  So, tell me, honestly;  Aren't you glad that no human hand has ever touched your candy bar before you eat it?  You bet you are.

Now we have reached the age where robots can even make my mom happy.  For you see, I don't vacuum the carpets in my house - my robot does.

I was one of the proud early adopters of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner.  I love this device.  It's an intelligent robot designed to vacuum carpets and sweep floors.  I'll admit up front it's a 1st generation device, and I have a wish list for future features.  But, except for the home computer and possibly the Tivo, there isn't too much technology in my house that I find quite so emotionally exciting.

For those who are interested in seeing a robot vacuum cleaner in action here are a couple of short AVI files of my Roomba diligently do it's job of keeping my house clean. 

Care to guess at one of the presents Mom can expect for Christmas?

Can you
read this?

Off-Board Video of Roomba (2.9M)   On-Board Video from Roomba Cam (2.6M)

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All images & text 2003 Phil Case