“Don’t mess with my guitar.” That’s the audible warning I issued to a new robotic vacuum I’ve been testing in my living room. “You go near that thing and I will rip out your battery and feed it to the robotic lawnmower in the garage.” I would, too. And not feel any regrets at all, even though robots are acting more and more like living things these days.
Fortunately, the iRobot Roomba S9+ Robot Vacuum is intelligent enough to avoid my precious musical instrument (and by the way -- a Christmas tree and the doggie bed) because it uses a mapping technology you can adjust with an app. I cordoned off the area of my living room I wanted the Roomba S9 to avoid. I breathed a sigh of relief. After multiple tests over several days, the botvac never touched my guitar.
It also required a lot less maintenance. I’ve tested quite a few robotic vacuums over the years, and other than the main irritation of not being able to control where they clean in the past, I also hate how they use such a small compartment for dirt and dust. As human overlords, we are being reduced to maintenance workers who have to empty the dust bin of robots. Not fun. Previous tests have involved frequent disposal duties.
With the Roomba S9+ you don’t have to worry about that. I installed the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal in a corner -- it looks like a tall and skinny trash bin. During a cleaning cycle, the little guy would skirt on over to the base and, with a fantastic and loud whirring sound that sounded like a full body cleanse, empty its contents. It’s amazing. You can schedule the bot to clean every morning and you never have to do anything. I’ve been told the base only requires emptying about once every six months.
These everyday home appliances have become much smarter over the years. The S9 uses a new design with cornered edges (the original Roomba was circular). It maneuvered around with ease, occasionally pondering where to go next but, over time, learned the contours of my living room and started cleaning the floor faster each time. I loved scheduling cleaning duties and remapping my living space. Oh, and get this: You can use Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant to command your robot vac. It almost feels like robots won’t take over the world after all. They’re smart, but we’re smarter.