Friday, December 19, 2014

Neato! (The Robot Vacuum Cleaner)

I recently purchased a robot vacuum cleaner after hearing my neighbor talk about hers and how much she loved it.  (I am not being recognized, rewarded, or paid in any manner with regard to this post.)  She had purchased a refurbished robot vacuum cleaner from the Neato! Company via  I researched the brand and found the item was back in stock on the website.  The price seemed reasonable (around $150) and it had the same warranty as a new one, so I ordered one.  It arrived about a week later, but it sat in the box for at least three weeks before I decided I had enough time and energy to mess with setting it up.  (Did I mention I was a procrastinator?)

The set up was much quicker and considerably less complicated than I had expected.  1) peel off plastic coverings; 2) attach battery; 3) set language and cleaning schedule; 4) set up and plug in the magnetic base with at least three feet of clearance on the front and sides so that it has room to maneuver (finding a good spot was difficult - I finally stuck it under the bed - perfect!); 5) place vacuum against the magnetic base to charge.

I set the vacuum to roam on Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays at 3:00 pm.  This was Tuesday, so I was excited to see the robot in action the next day.  (I am easily amused, obviously.)  At ten minutes til 3:00 on Wednesday,  I was ready.  Then I promptly forgot about it.  At 4:45, I realized the vacuum hadn't moved.  I pulled it out from under the bed and saw  it had somehow turned itself off.  I turned it on,  reset the scheduled cleaning to 5:00, and pushed it back to the base.  I was on the phone when I heard this weird whirring sound, almost like helicopters from a distance.  (I knew it wasn't helicopters because it was raining.)  I set off to discover the source of the sound.  (You have probably realized at this point that I am also easily distracted and somewhat forgetful!) 

It should be noted that I have single-sided deafness, so I don't hear sounds like other people do.  I was not wearing my BAHA (bone-anchored hearing device), so I could not pinpoint the location of the sound.  This resulted in me checking each room until I saw the little robot gliding out from under a bed.   I have to admit it was pretty fascinating watching it go back and forth bumping into things and correcting its path.  I was mesmerized for several minutes before I remembered the whole reason I got the robot was so I could be free to do other things. 

I went to the store and returned to find the robot hung up on the kitchen rug, which is old and faded and thin in spots, but was a housewarming gift from my late grandmother and I can't bear to throw it away.  I removed the rug and emptied the dust bin.  The robot promptly took itself back to the charger.  After an hour, it zipped back out and picked up where it left off (which I was not expecting and scared the beejesus out of me). 

I know technically the robot works through laser beams and measurements and other science-y stuff.  However, it appears to have a mind of its own.  Since it is learning the layout of the house, it doesn't go in what I would consider a logical grid-type pattern (like a crime scene scan).  It goes willy-nilly in and out of rooms repeatedly.  It backs up, scoots forward, and spins about apparently without rhyme or reason.  The only things it has done consistently so far are scare the dog to death and vacuum.   So long as it keeps doing the latter, I can live with the former.  The dog will get used to it, right?

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