Every time I see my mom struggling to keep her home clean, I think there should be more technology that can come to our help to do daily mundane chores. But then the technology is already there, it is just that we prefer traditional ways and somehow seem convinced that old is better in many situations. iRobot has been selling its robotic vacuum cleaners for a while now and the products have been available even in India. In fact, there are now quite a few companies trying to produce similar products, some with features like wet mopping created for the Indian homes — or should I say psyche.
The iRobot Roomba 966 is the latest in the companies series of vacuum cleaning robots. But this one comes with more brains than the earlier versions that to its ability to connect to the Wi-Fi and thus to your smartphone. The iRobot app lets you control how the Roomba 966 goes about its daily routine of sucking up dust and other household debris from around your house. It also shows the battery status and lets you change the cleaning mode from a fully automatic to a single pass or double pass of the house.
Setting up the Roomba 966 is quite easy. You need to keep the charging dock in a place where the robot can rest and charge easily. There is a button top to let you start cleaning without using the app. On the app, one the device is charged, you just need to hit clean to start the process. Also, you can schedule it to clean at a specific time every day of the week.
The iRobot Roomba 966 does a good job of cleaning the house. But frankly, our tiny urban dwellings with its excess of furniture, truly unnecessary personal paraphernalia and peppering of toys is not the ideal scenario of a robot, however smart it might be. But the iRobot Roomba 966 does its job with dogged perseverance, sucking in or spinning of the hurdles in its path. Yes, it does get stuck where there is a congregation of footwear in the living room or when it goes under the sofa or bed unaware of the horrors stashed away underneath. But it does a neat job in the end. Along with its powerful suction — good enough to internalise a full lego set in a few minutes — and set of brushes, the iRobot Roomba 966 can ensure your house is dust free for at least a few hours every day.If yours is a house with multiple floors, the Roomba has enough sensors to detect that it’s at a top of a flight of stairs and will retreat. It also has sensors to pick up the dirt human eye can’t see. I also liked the functionality to give some extra attention to spots which have more dirt than the others.
One thing I didn’t love though was the fact that iRobot Roomba 966 is quite noisy while going about its cleaning. It gets noisier if something gets stuck under its rubber brushes, like a piece of paper. So it is better to let it run where there is no one in the house. Left alone it will run for 75 minutes on a single charge and come back to the dock, provided it does not get entangles in the strings of your carelessly abandoned pyjamas. Also, when you end a cleaning job in the middle of its daily routine the iRobot Roomba 966 does not find its way back home and ends up resting where it ended its cleaning.
Priced at Rs 54,900, the iRobot Roomba 966 is a good option for those who like their house to be spotlessly clean even in a location like Delhi. But at this price, the robot is not for everyone. Also, it is not for every home. You need to give it the space to move about and clean, so don’t by if you live in a crammed apartment like me. The iRobot Roomba 966 is convenient and practical, though I think it still can’t clean enough to substitute human.